Thursday, May 10, 2012

Behold the Power of Fine Arts


I sit on the couch a lot lately.  I have to.  My changing body is making it difficult for me to get around.  This discourages me.  I don’t like to sit, but I try to focus on the things I CAN do…like teaching my daughter how to read & how to play the piano.

In January, my mother-in-law gave me The Basic Reading Series.  Do you remember those books?  (A Pig Can Jig, A Hen in a Fox’s Den, etc.)  Boy, do I ever!  Those stories never made a lot of sense to me (Tin-
Can can win the ham.  Tin-Can had the ham.
), but I was so excited to learn how to read.

Apparently, the schools are using different tools/books now for teaching little ones how to read.  My literacy lover mother-in-law used her hot connections and found the first 3 books of the series on E-bay for us.  AnnMarie has been dying to learn how to read, so this was perfect timing.  She just finished the first book last week, and we celebrated by making fudgy bars.  She’s halfway into the second book now, and with every little sentence, she’ll say, “I’m doing it mommy!  I’m really doing it!  I can read!!”  It touches my heart.

After AnnMarie turned 3, I purchased the music book called My First Piano Adventure: Writing Book A Pre-Reading by Faber & Faber.   AnnMarie is almost finished with it.  I don’t have a rigid schedule for working through it with her;  I try to follow her lead.  When she shows an interest in working on it, we’ll sit down together & work through it.  I don’t want piano to become a chore for her – not yet anyway. ;)  After she finishes this book (hopefully in a few weeks), I’m starting her in Alfred’s Prep Course for the Young Beginner, Lesson Book Level A.  My hope is to get her through Levels A & B of this Young Beginner series by the time she turns 6.  You can find these books at your local music store guaranteed.  If not, they’ll order it for you ASAP.

The piano teacher in me:  If you want to expose your child (ages 3-5) to music education, but don’t know how, or if you’re questioning whether or not to start your 6 year old in piano, BUY THIS BOOK.  You do not have to have a degree in music to work through this book with your child!  The instructions for each activity are very clear.  You will obviously have to take the time to work through the activities with them, but it is well worth it.  Little fingers (3-5 year olds) typically don’t have the finger dexterity to play weighted keys.  This book has a few ‘piano playing’ activities, but it basically focuses on introducing your child to simple concepts like finger numbers, low/high sounds, black-key groups, louds & softs, or the music alphabet, and it is a fun fun tool for doing so.  Faber & Faber is one of my two favorite methods for teaching beginning piano students.

On a final note, my little ballerina, Carlie Joy:


Oh, how I wish I could enroll her in a dance class!  Soon enough, soon enough.  I did pull up a few YouTube videos in an attempt to teach her a routine.  THAT was a sight to behold.  Carlie tapped my belly and said, “Hey, hey, hey…just sit back down on the couch mama.”


shelly said...

Thanks for the piano book tips. I started with Alfred, but don't remember much else. I'll have to start the kids with your recommendations. And I hear you on the doing it when they show interest attitude. No other way would work =) Happy sitting on couch and baby-growing!!

Andy's Mom said...

You are a awesome! I've been trying to figure out how to start piano education with Andy because he is VERY interested, but knowing how badly I lack the ability to teach him theory (because of my own piano education), I've been very hesitant. THANK YOU! Perhaps you were inspired to write this (it was just what I needed... ), perhaps not, but thank you! I'll think you were inspired. :)

P.S. I'm so excited for your little boy to come... I think it'd be so fun if he had really red hair, like your husband. :)

Patrick & Amber said...

This makes me miss having you as a piano teacher! Maybe you can move back one day! Your kids are adorable by the way.