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Piano help- Lessons, age, suzuki?

  1. #9
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    North Point
    My husband learned piano, I think with Yamaha method?? He did grades as well. I think though, my sight reading is better now (although I think that's because I've played more since we stopped having lessons) - although that's NOT from Suzuki, it's from other things that my teacher added in since Suzuki can have that weakness. And funnily enough, I think he has a better ear for music than me too. Sounds a bit back to front!! I think that my hubby probably was much better at piano when we were younger - but then again, he practiced a LOT more than me too... My hubby overall is much more musical than me. He's taught himself flute and guitar so far and wants to learn more instruments as well. I don't know how much of that is our teaching methods, and how much is natural ability...

    I don't think that there's a perfect method really, but I think it's wise to know what you want out of it. I do think that sight reading and playing by ear are the two most important skills that you can learn - even more important than technical ability. With those things, you can learn any instrument you want since it's just applying the same principals...

  2. #10
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hi Sea Princess

    The most important thing is for your daughter to have fun and enjoy learning/playing. It is very important that at her age, her lessons are fun and her enthusiasm does not get killed with learning to read music and too much theory. There are far too many kids who lose interest because they get bogged down in the academic side of learning music.

    So when searching for a teacher, the teaching philosophy is for the child to learn to play with one or two hands fairly quickly, learn hand coordination, some musical tunes, lots of singing, clapping and rhythm. IF there are opportunities for group classes, to play music with other children, that would be good also. Not too much emphasis on note-reading, counting and theory at this time. The more serious academic stuff can follow in a year or two.

    I am not familiar with the music schools in HK as I have not taught here. (I used to teach music then switched careers to law!) I would guess that many of them are very commercialized and want to push kids through the exam system (grades 1- diploma) as quickly as possible.

    You can get an electronic keyboard at the start to save on money and space, however if your daughter is keen and keeps up with the lessons, look for a 2nd hand piano. There are plenty listed on Asiaexpat with people moving in and out of HK and with children learning and losing interest. The traditional piano mechanism will make a child's fingers work harder and strengthen/become nimble as opposed to the electronic keyboard which is very easy to press. MOst of these pianos should be in decent condition.

    No comments on Suzuki piano method. I know of the Suzuki violin method which was aimed at getting children to play by ear. However I have seen that method become very mechanical as well for children. It really depends on the teacher you find for your girl to make lessons as fun as possible.

  3. #11
    jube is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Hong Kong
    Hi Sea Princess,

    I agree, your child enjoying the class is the ultimate goal but I remember when I was young, I loved my toy piano and my mum convinced me to go to class so I could play properly. I learned the traditional way at the age of 4 or 5 and just remember feeling frustrated as it was slow and boring. This was partially my impatience most likely but I also think the teacher had alot to do with it too. I remember hating going to class and hating practicing. I ended up doing it for 13 years but didn't really enjoy piano until my last 3 - 4 years when I had a fantastic teacher.

    I wanted to learn the violin and begged for lessons. I started learning the violin at 12 using the Suzuki Method and had a fabulous, creative teacher. As I already had a music base, it was much quicker for me to learn as I knew how to read, however, I was amazed at how the first song I played in my first lesson was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! I remember thinking that if I had learnt Suzuki Method with piano, I probably wouldn't have been so frustrated and would've loved my classes more.

    I think finding a teacher who makes it fun, who encourages the kids and helps build their confidence is really critical. You can always try either method as I think it also depends on the child's personality and age. If they're easily frustrated at not getting anywhere, perhaps Suzuki is more appropriate.

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