If your child is in the junior part of primary school, they will be making good progress with school subjects, so learning the piano can be part of something away from the school day, where they can build up a relationship with someone other than their class teacher, and develop skills that perhaps others haven’t taken up. If they are beginners, I find this is a great age for them to start, and with lots of adult encouragement, they often fly! Their brains are like sponges and they learn so fast- often at double the speed of a young or older child.
Again we will usually start by using Dogs & Birds method but I am also a fan of Piano Safari, a method I originally had to import from USA but in the last few months can now be ordered in the UK. Piano Safari utilises learning pieces by rote, which means we can develop technique without having to be able to read notation at the same level- which helps students learn faster. We might very quickly introduce Poco Piano and the associated fun theory books and the children will be old enough to work towards grade 1 or higher theory exams.
Theory does not have to be boring- and in fact the way we talk about music, composing and composers, your child will soon have a good knowledge that may impress school teachers!
Something that isn’t always appreciated is that taking music exams, especially the ones most of my students take, can be fun, can really build self esteem and help with confidence building, taking external exams such as 11+ and secondary school exams, and gives children a massive sense of achievement. Many students have commented how taking a grade 1 or 2 theory exam before taking 11+ really got them in the right frame of mind for sitting for an hour or so and getting on with things, and the music exams themselves, build belief in what one can achieve with some work. A fantastic lesson for life!
In the spotlight…
Milo, age 10.
Our ten year old son, currently working towards his Grade 3 piano with Catherine, has thoroughly enjoyed the journey from absolute beginner to confident young player performing pieces not only for himself, his friends and family, but in front of audiences including his whole school on numerous occasions. Catherine has tailored her teaching to match his strengths, offering a great mix of encouragement, suggestion and friendly discipline that makes practising the piano something he looks forward to, and in no way a chore.
...practising the piano (is) something he looks forward to, and in no way a chore.
Students are entered for practical exams with ABRSM, Trinity and LCM and theory exams with ABRSM and Trinity.