Piano Lessons for the Five Year Old: The First Month

Calvin gets obsessive about random things sometimes, which is apparently part of the “high processing brain” package. Classical music is one of the things he got stuck on for a while and when he started trying to pluck out Turkish March on our piano, we decided to look into piano lessons.

But how were piano lessons going to work for a five year old who can’t sit still for more than fifteen minutes?

I play piano and I had tried to teach the kids but it ended up being just one more thing we were trying to cram in during family time. So, we found a woman who has a studio in her home about ten minutes from us (thank you, Google) and Calvin started piano lessons at the beginning of January.

It’s been…educational.

The hardest part right now is that I have to be present and attentive for every lesson AND practice session or he loses focus and starts messing around. That didn’t seem like that big of a deal but he’s supposed to practice for 20-30 minutes six days a week and he does two thirty minute lessons a week so I need to find four extra hours of my time to make sure Calvin gets his piano time in. That’s been the first challenge.

The second challenge is that his brain is so eager to learn but his little hands aren’t totally used to the keys yet so he’s out of sync with himself and his frustration skyrockets when he can’t make the music sound right. There have been tears on more than one occasion and I need to figure out how to get him to unclench a little and accept the fact that it’s going to be a while before he sounds the way he wants to.

All of that being said, he’s starting to read sheet music, he knows how to play about twenty songs, and he’s always really excited to go to his lessons. I don’t know how long we’ll be doing them but right now he really likes it so I’m glad we got started. The teacher we picked might be a little too intense for our family since there have been more worksheets and additional activities that I wasn’t planning for but he’s definitely getting a very solid foundation in piano.

To give you an idea of exactly what you might expect, here’s the basic gist of what he learned this past month:

Lesson one – how to sit at the piano

Lesson two – the musical alphabet and finger numbers 

Lesson three – using the twin black keys

Lesson four – quarter notes are one beat 

Lesson five – moving up and down to different octaves

Lesson six – half notes are two beats

Lesson seven – using the triplet black keys

Lesson eight – identifying the notes on the piano

As you can see, after a month it’s not like he’s ready to dive into fresh sheet music without help but even if we stopped now he has a much better understanding of pitch and rhythm. I’m excited to see where he is after the second month!

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