piano lessons“I am looking for piano lessons for my child. What program is the right one?”  – The question that I love the most, and here is the reason why:

I love options. I love an opportunity to choose the right fit based on my schedule and the level of involvement/ commitment I am willing to put in. I love an opportunity to choose the right fit for my child’s personality.

So… what are the options for piano lessons?  Let’s have a look:

Traditional Royal Conservatory Approach: Great method for older students (6 years and up)looking for piano lessons and would like to develop solid piano playing/ performance techniques with notes reading abilities. Students that thrive on understanding the theory behind things they do. Students that do not mind drilling scales and technical exercises. Students that need structure and may want to pursue the RCM examination.

Suzuki method: Wonderful choice of piano lessons for those parents who would like to start with piano when their kids are still young (4-5 years old). Given kids developmentally are not quite ready for notes reading yet, the program focuses on developing piano playing skills through ear training. Students play by ear. The program is very similar to the traditional approach with the main focus on developing solid piano performance techniques. The perfection is reached through multiple repetitions and with close parental involvement. The first 4 piano lessons are given to the parents to teach them how to become a teacher at home. The program requires a high level of parental involvement.  The progress is relatively slow with each finger being developed one at a time. Ability to focus, parental commitment, and patience are the main success factors if you choose to follow the Suzuki method. Students develop unbelievable performance skills if they manage to complete at least 3 books, which may take anywhere between 4- 5 years.

Yamaha Music Education:  My favorite music program thus far 😊. The program is amazing for those who would like to start piano lessons early and those looking for a comprehensive, well-rounded music education program. How is it different from the two programs above? Well, the goal of Yamaha Music Education is to teach music, with instrument (piano) becoming one of the components of music-making. The other aspects of music education are ear training, pitch development through solfege singing, playing skills, notes reading, understanding the concepts of melody and harmony, chord progression, variations, improvisation, and finally composition. It takes 4 years to cover all components and develop a solid foundation in all areas of music-making. So, what comes after 4 years? There is an option to continue to further develop creativity by continuing with the program for another 4 years. Just think about it like elementary school and high school 😊

Given students’ young age, between 4 -6 years old, parental involvement becomes crucial. Like the Suzuki method, the Yamaha music program is a great fit for VIP parents (Very Involved Parents 😊).

The program teaches students to feel and understand music, before teaching them how to play a piece, creating an immersive environment that facilitates the ability to express the feeling and to be creative.

I often use the analogy of art lessons. You can teach a student to paint by numbers and to produce beautiful paintings designed for you by someone else (equivalent to learning to play the pieces by reading the notes) or you can create your own painting starting with a blank canvas (equivalent to composition taught by Yamaha Music Program).

In my next few posts, I will write more about each music program included as part of Yamaha Music Education, which are:

Music Wonderland (3-4 years old)

Junior Music Course (4-5.5 years old)

Young Musician Course (6- 8.5 years old)

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to ask any questions 😊

About 88Keys Music School

Located in York Region, on East Beaver Creek Drive near the border of Richmond Hill and Markham, our music classes for infants, toddlers, school-age children, and adults, offer world-class music lessons from talented instructors and research-based programs. Call us at 905 881 2893 to book a free trial music class or visit our Home Page for age-appropriate programs. 

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