Friday, April 11, 2008

Piano Lessons

For years I have had a goal to teach my children how to play the piano.  I knew all the brain benefits.  But with their Sensory Integration Disorder, they didn't seem ready.  Nevertheless, in preparation, I purchased some Bastien piano books. 

They had been recommended by a homeschooler I knew when my dc were 3 and 5.   My husband and I were raised on John Thompson; I wasn't committed to remaining with this series.  I don't remember what I had heard about Bastien, but they sounded great.   A few years ago I purchased the Primer series.

Then one of the aunts gave the dc and me each a recorder with a lesson book. Although I had initially taught myself piano and guitar, and later took lessons, I had no experience with a wind instrument.  The book confused me!  I had been using A Beka and they had a music theory program with flutophones.  So I bought those books and some flutophones for each of us and we learned to play a wind instrument.  My dc had no care in the world for timing.  They got emotionally frustrated (SI) with dealing with formal lessons and timing.  So I made it more laid back and they learned how to finger and play beautiful songs, although they had unique rhythms.  I told them for the familiar songs, to simply imitate the rhythm they know.  By the end of 2 books, when I planned to transition them to the recorder, they decided they were all winded out! 

They wanted to do piano.  In fact, they like to sit at the piano and create their own "tunes".  Being quite peaceful in their playing, I never minded.  

We did lessons together for the first few days.  Most of it was a review, since they already know a bit about music.  Thankfully they don't mind that these books are meant for 7-11 year olds.  I love these books.  They were written for my children!  They guarantee success at the beginning. The first homework assignment was to "compose" their own piece!  That delighted my children.  My dc have never been ones to enjoy coloring books, lap books, notebooking, much less toys used in the traditional way.  They have always preferred either inventing their own way or reinventing something tried and true. 

DS is picking up the timing and precision quickly. As a result, yesterday began separate lessons.  He is now a page ahead.  I do hope this does not become a problem.  DD, however, is struggling.  She has praxis, or motor planning issues. Therefore I need to spend all of my time with her to count out the notes, remember the fingering rules, etc.  This can take a long time.  But usually, once she has it, she's got it!  She is the one who is usually found creating her own pieces at the piano.  

Now that my daughter has gone through Vision Therapy, I understand why she had so much trouble learning to play the piano. Her eyes couldn't track between the page and looking at the keys (because she hadn't memorized key placement).  


  1. I'm glad to hear that the lessons are going well! My oldest and I started to learn to play a while ago, but got away from it. He is more interested in singing, and I have been unable, for one reason or another, to practice consistently. My youngest, though, loves to "play"!

  2. That sounds like great books. I am thinking about getting piano under way next year.



  3. MayTheyBeMightyMenApril 11, 2008 at 4:48 PM

    Neat! We don't have a way to work through piano here. Though, I'm not sure my kids would learn a great deal from me, if I was teaching. (Long story short: my piano teacher told me to try another instrument after a year of lessons.)

  4. I play the recorder and the guitar and self taught a bit of piano. I have tried to teach my kids music, but they don't seem to have much of an interest so we put it aside for a while. Good for your kids. I pray your dd will do well and enjoy her new found skills.