Looking for piano lessons for your child but don’t know where to begin?  Starting piano lessons is always an exciting adventure.  At the beginning, everything is fresh and new, and you’ll want to encourage and nurture that bubbling energy.  These tips from our Bethesda music studio will help you ride the high of that new musician energy, set your child up for success, and speed up the learning curve by a long shot.

  1. Get a piano.  As a matter of fact, get a piano long before your child even thinks about music lessons.  Why, you ask?  The everyday presence of the piano (or music, in general) in the house will establish the understanding that piano is a part of normal life.  Your child will have the opportunity and natural curiosity to noodle around on the piano without any expectation, which will create a healthy atmosphere for learning and exploration.

    That being said, once you decide on music lessons, the piano’s presence will be even more instrumental (no pun intended), as musical progress takes practice.  Practice takes being equipped with the right tools, and the most important tool you need for piano lessons, of course, is the piano.  If your child can’t practice between lessons, he/she will not make progress, and it’ll just be an uphill battle right from the get-go.

    Most teachers will prefer that your child practice on an acoustic piano, since nothing beats the original instrument.  An acoustic piano has the feel and sound that really isn’t captured in a digital option.  Additionally, acoustic pianos are a great way to teach about physics, like sound waves and motion.  The human ear perceives sounds and textures from an acoustic piano that can’t be translated into a digital sound.

    However, if your living arrangements or budget only allow for a digital piano, that’s OK too —– just make sure that when you’re shopping, the keyboard in question has 88 keys and a pedal.  Additionally, you’ll want the keys to be weighted (so that there’s resistance when you play) and touch-sensitive (so that you can play loud and soft tones).

    Whether it’s new or used, bought or rented, or digital or acoustic, make sure you have the instrument ready to play before the first lesson so that you can jump right into that practice routine!

  2. Get a height-adjustable chair/bench/stool.  Posture is everything in piano, from muscle health to musicality and sound quality.  If you’re planning on piano lessons being a long-term part of your family’s life, a seat that adjusts as your child grows will make a huge difference.
  3. Maintain your piano!  There’s nothing more discouraging than an instrument that doesn’t sound good when you play it, especially when it’s not your fault!  If your piano is out of tune, your children will be less inclined to play it, not to mention that it’s just unpleasant to hear.  Make sure you keep the instrument in-tune and maintained, and your little (or not so little) musician will be all the happier! If you’re looking for a piano tuner recommendation, talk to someone at our music studio and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
  4. Help your child differentiate between right and left.  Especially for younger beginners, this motor skill is essential when playing the piano.  Playing mirroring games, hopping on each foot, and other similar physical activities will help them develop that strength and eventual independence required for piano lessons.
  5. Make sure your child knows the alphabet.  While it’s OK if your child is learning to read words as they’re learning to read music, you can help both processes along if you help them understand the musical alphabet and the repeating pattern of A B C D E F G A B C D E F G, etc. Additionally, if they’re able to start on different letters and still pick up the pattern, or say the pattern backwards, they’ll save a lot of time and frustration that sometimes comes with learning to read music.

Ready to start piano lessons?  Our friendly administrative staff at the International School of Music is available to answer your questions, schedule you for an introductory lesson, and help you find the teacher that best meets your needs!  For more info, call our music studio at 301.365.5888!