[Today’s article “Any Parent Can Teach Piano At Home!” is a guest post by Nikki Truesdell.]
If you had asked me 15 years ago when I began homeschooling if I would also teach my children to play piano, I would have said definitely not! After all, I’m teaching them everything else, aren’t I? That’s what piano teachers are for!
But 5 children later, and a couple of years of long afternoons juggling kids and activities in the car parked outside the piano teacher’s home, I had to re-think piano lessons. We live in the country, so drive time and teacher location are also considerations.
Now here we are, 15 years into homeschooling, and piano is one of our regular subjects. Just so you know, I did take piano lessons as a young girl, but only sporadically and only 2-3 years at most. So I am not an expert, but I had enough knowledge to get started.
So, with the help of basic piano books and a few great websites, I took the plunge.
Here’s what I have learned:
- ALL of my kids were receptive to it, very unlike the typical attitude toward piano lessons and required practice.
- A daily lesson (even if only 5 minutes) by mom greatly speeds up progress! Instead of one lesson per week, they learn a little something new every day.
- I never have to remind them to practice, because of the daily lessons and the fact that they don’t see this as an “assignment.” (In fact, I sometimes long for a “piano-free” hour in my house!)
For my young beginning children, these are my favorite resources:
- Hoffman Academy – free video lessons online. Perfect for introducing kids to the world of piano!
- Piano Pronto books – These are basic, straightforward lessons that most parents can teach from, and get the children playing simple songs very quickly. I start with Prelude for the beginning student.
- Simple Apps on the iPad, including The Most Addicting Sheep Game (teaches rhythm), Flashnote Derby (helps with note-naming), and Music for Little Mozarts.
There are lots of fun printable games as well as online games available for the younger crowd. You can also find flash cards and printable theory lesson worksheets. Follow my Music Lessons at Home board on Pinterest to see all the great options!
For a parent with basic music knowledge, young children are easy to teach. But what about the older or advanced student? There came a point where my teenage daughter said, “If you’ll get me a lesson book in the next level I can teach myself.” Um, okay!
This is the essence of homeschooling right here. Teaching kids to be eager learners and able to learn whatever they desire.
There are occasions where my daughter encounters a new concept that she doesn’t understand. I have found a couple of helpful resources for these times:
- My favorite is Theory Lessons app from the AppStore – this is our first go-to helper for basic theory questions (both for my students and myself!). This is pretty comprehensive, but if we still need clarification, we go to the internet.
- PianoLessons.com is a great site with free videos.
- MusicTheory.net (from the makers of the above app) has free lessons on their website.
The older kids have reached the point where they can play from sheet music, look up new songs to play, and hunt down the info they need to learn what a mark on the music means.
Some of my children will want to progress further than I can teach. At that point, we will definitely hire a piano teacher. But for now, the early years of piano are fun and easy to do in the comfort of our home, and on our family’s schedule. And as with all subject areas in homeschooling, my favorite part is that I get to share the learning experiences with my children!
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.