I suggest that you try a very child-friendly method, such as Piano by Number, to start your homeschool piano program. Any method that does not confuse the child will work.
Remember that your first objective is to get your child interested in the piano and music in general, not unearth historic talent and make them achieve greatness with it.
First recognize that the old method of forced practice doesn’t work, unless you’re starting with Beethoven in the first place (Beethoven was forced to practice by an evil father.) What this means is that only a once-every-two-centuries genius like Beethoven could stand and survive forced practicing, so don’t expect it of your child. Allow them the room and time to demonstrate their own brand of interest.
In the long run you’ll do better to let the structure be rather loose at first.
Before you ever touch the piano you should begin by playing CDs of famous pianists. You can get rather long excerpts of classical CDs at amazon.com. Just go to amazon and search, for example, “Vladimir Horowitz,” and you will find dozens of CDs with audio samples.
You need to set the mood that only classical piano music (or something meditative) can set, thoughtful, quiet, yet full of life. Sit and listen to the CDs if you have them. Most kids will appreciate the chance to sit quietly with you at a special time where you can both listen and not be distracted. It could be another style, jazz or pop, I’m just suggesting that as an introduction, something thoughtful might be appropriate.
If you can find a real piano for your lessons, it is better than an electronic one, but if that is all you have it will do just fine.
Put the instrument at the center of attention, like the living room or family room, or a room that has the greatest amount of people traveling through it. The reason for this is that kids will play little bits of songs as they pass by, a habit you want to encourage. I’ve seen the greatest success with families that put the piano in the kitchen, or an adjoining type of room, where everybody always goes.
Don’t make the piano be put aside in some special room where the child must go and practice. All children respond to the idea of a piano as a piece of “social furniture,” a box that makes pleasant sounds and is sought out like a toy. Kids want to show you what they can do with the piano, that’s why they offer to play it for you. They want to make you proud more than anything.
Your first objective is to turn your child into a “tinkerer,” as I call it, a child who likes to fool around with the patterns found in the piano keys.
This casual interest in the beginning will turn into major engagement with time, so allow the magic to happen.
One way to make sure that it begins is to try it yourself. Go to the piano and try to play a song from an easy method such a Piano by Number, which anyone can do with no musical training or talent at all.
If your child sees you struggling to make music but enjoying it, they will try. One of the best things about this method is the parent’s report that their child is teaching them, the parents.
Nothing makes a child feel prouder than to be allowed, if only for a moment, to become the teacher, and show their knowledge.
Once the child has decided that the piano is not so very hard, they will give it a try. It may take several months, but let them have this space to learn “Jingle Bells” and “Scooby Doo,” and a dozen more songs by ear, without the worry of juggling all the elements that necessarily go into beginning piano lessons and starting to read music.
You’ll get a thousand times further by engaging the sincere interest of your child, on any level, before you go much deeper into the piano.
An enthusiastic start leads to further interest at the piano.
By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2010 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved
See also WHAT IS A GOOD AGE TO START PIANO LESSONS
See also SO YOU WANT TO BE A PIANO TEACHER
See also FINDING A CHILD'S PIANO COMFORT ZONE
See also DISGUISING REPETITION IN KID'S PIANO LESSONS
See also WHY CHILDREN NEED FREEDOM TO LEARN PIANO