Piano lessons for children are somewhat different from those aimed at adults. So, what’s the best method for children to learn the piano? Well, it depends on a number of things; let’s go through them one by one:
Age of child: If your child is very young, say 3 or under, then clearly the teach yourself approach, whether by conventional book or eBook or other electronic media, is inappropriate. Children of this age need continual adult supervision and input that only a human teacher can provide. The older your child is the more capable of independent learning they become. Some ebooks such as the Rocket Piano series are aimed at the complete beginner and are an ideal way to learn the piano. Any child capable of independent and fluent reading should be able to manage it. Some products are, of course, designed specifically for children. I’m thinking of Piano Is Fun! And Keyboard Wizard. Piano is Fun uses a series of amusing characters and animated interactive activities to teach the notes of the scale while Keyboard Wizard is a somewhat more sophisticated product that uses a color-coded plug-in keyboard for the same purpose.
Amount of parental input: If you can play the piano yourself then clearly you are equipped to greatly assist your child’s effort. If you are not a player then you can still assist but the scope of your efforts will be a little more limited. You may be able to learn the piano yourself as you go along! (Although piano lessons for children can seem very limiting to an adult). Your main input will be to provide motivation for your child. There is no doubt that in the early stages of learning the piano it’s easy for motivation to flag somewhat. The repetitive nature of practice and the inability to produce a satisfying piece of music can cause a loss of interest. But once skill levels increase and tunes begin to emerge then this is a spur to the child to continue and to improve. But if you want your child to learn the piano properly, you must encourage and motivate, by sitting with him/her and assisting wherever you can in a helpful and patient manner (however frustrating that may be!).
Cost: For most of us cost is a major consideration. The downloadable piano lessons for children featured at Piano Detective cost between $24.95 and $68.00. Some are more suitable for kids than others but, provided that the child is the right age to make use of them and you are able to supply a good level of support, then they will work well. Piano Wizard costs a lot more ($169.99) but comes with a special color-coded keyboard that plugs into your PC. In contrast a weekly piano lesson by a qualified teacher will, depending on where you live, cost between $25 and $75. At say, forty lessons a year, this can easily equate to between $1000 and $3000 – and don’t forget that we’re not just talking one year, teaching can go on for many years.
You’ll need to weigh up the importance of these different criteria to evaluate the chance of success and ultimately decide which method is best for you and your child(ren).