Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how important it is to expose littles to music. With my first child, it wasn’t even a question – she sat through every piano lesson I ever taught from the time she was in my womb! I was eager to present her with every music lesson I’d ever learned asap!
As more littles came along, I finally ‘got’ what it meant to focus my efforts on exposing young children to music (oh yeah - like I’d learned about in that one child education course) rather than formally educating them with structured lessons. Sounds obvious & realistic enough, but I’m barely keeping up with basic needs here…so how do we do it…and do it right??
Turning on some music – all kinds - is a great start. (I need to do better with variety – my 3 yr. old is obsessed with a few said songs). Clap, tap, or stomp the beat - get your groove on.
Now if you want to specify exposure a teensy bit and introduce the piano, here’s an idea that works.
After my oldest daughter turned 3 (she’s almost 6 now), I purchased the music book called My First Piano Adventure: Writing Book A Pre-Reading by Faber & Faber (The Faber Piano Adventures). We worked through it over a 2 year period. That’s right - 2 years. The authors intended to gear this book towards 5-6 year olds, but from my experience, certain activities were age appropriate for my 3-4 year old since it’s more of a hands-on activity book. I never had a rigid schedule for working on it with her (although I would have liked to at times), but after navigating through the entire book now, I feel strongly that at that age, it’s absolutely best to follow a child’s lead AND let him or her initiate an interest in working on it. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time – 5 minutes per day. My second daughter & I (she’s almost 4) just started working on her own copy of the book.
And the best part? You don’t have to have a degree in music to work through this book with your child! The instructions for each activity are very clear. Little fingers (3-6 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’s a fun fun tool for doing so.
My First Piano Adventure series consists of three levels (A, B, & C). Each Writing Book has a Lesson Book companion. I explored the Lesson Book on my own, but felt it was too advanced for my then 3 year old. It’s more for 5-6 year olds like the authors suggest.
Faber & Faber (The Faber Piano Adventures) is one of my two favorite methods for teaching beginning piano students. You’ll find that I lovetheir publications and refer to them often. Their on-line music library is organized, updated, and applicable to every age and level.
You can find this book at your local music store (99% guaranteed), but if you’d like to order it on-line (like I do with a lot of my books), click HERE. When ordering on-line, it’s usually always cheaper to order directly from the author and/or publisher.