Thursday, 19 September 2013

Piano lessons

The time has come: we have started piano lessons.  I wasn't sure when, or even if, I would ever teach my kids piano.  You'd think that after 15 years+ of teaching other people it would only be logical to take my own children on as students.  But I have heard from many people that it is next to impossible to teach your own children piano lessons.

I had considered the idea of swapping lessons with a friend of mine who wants her children to take lessons, but is equally reticent to take on the challenge.  But in trying to simplify our schedule this year, it was looking like another night to try and rush out the door, another night that seems entirely eaten up with just a one hour time block.  So I thought I would at least give it a go.

One of the main challenges of teaching your own children is the temptation to just "fit it in" when you can during the week.  That is the easiest way for it not to happen.  Because finding an extra quiet hour every week hasn't happened in 8 years of raising kids yet.  Also, our piano is on the main floor of our home, which is a huge wide open concept layout.  Plus the piano is in the playroom, which has all the toys, and which also serves as the gateway from the house to the backyard.  There is no way I could keep everyone out for a solid hour of uninterrupted music lessons.

So here is our solution: we've chosen Tuesdays right after dinner.  Tuesday nights our local Early Years Centre is open late, so James can take Benjamin and Juliette there to play.  Then I do a half hour lesson with each of the older boys.  When they are not in lesson, they must sit in their room and quietly read.

First night...success!

Both boys are uber excited to start.  I have two new lesson books that I've never used before, each one geared to the type and age of child.  Caleb has a strong desire to get on there and get his fingers moving.  Whether the notes and rhythms are right or wrong, it doesn't matter so much as long as he's strengthening those finger muscles and showing enthusiasm for making music.  Colin's mathematical brain is going to make him a quick sight-reader.  His program is based on sight-reading the notes, which means you are playing real songs right away.  The book asks the student to memorize where tow notes are on the keyboard, and then read all the other notes in relation to those two.  At first, I was fighting Colin on this method...all he wanted to do was read the notes in relation to the one he had previously played.  Then I realized that what he was doing is exactly what this method is heading toward, and he had jumped a bunch of steps to get there.

I am so excited to start the kids on their musical journey.  Yes, we will very likely be one of those families where everyone plays multiple instruments and we perform together.  And I love that idea.

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