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Piano help- Lessons, age, suzuki?

  1. #1
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    Piano help- Lessons, age, suzuki?

    Hi
    Both my husband and myself are non-musical! However our daughter has been pestering us for at least a year to start piano. We have been waiting until she is 5 years of age. She is about to turn 5 and discussing the piano again! Where do we start - do we rent a piano, do we buy a cheap one that we could always re-sell if she is not that into it? Do we do lessons at home or in a studio? Also, what methods are best for this age? I have heard a lot of people talk about the Suzuki method? Any piano teacher recommendations, we are southside.
    Basically, where do we start? Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by sea princess; 03-08-2010 at 03:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Gataloca's Avatar
    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    I am non-musical also. But I think if I we decide later to put our baby in piano lesson, I would probably buy a electric piano instead. It is much cheaper and smaller than a regular piano. Also you can adjust the volume or even use headphone, so the noise would not bother the neighbors and yourself.

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    HKfornow is offline Registered User
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    We struggled with that also while our son was younger. . . both my husband and I have no musical abilities (tone deaf in fact) but my son loved music and kept asking for lessons, but we delayed it until after he was five years old.

    We called up a couple of teachers who posted in our resident bulletin board, and most of them can either come to your house if you have a piano, or you can go to their place for the lessons, but that leaves you with the question of what to do for practice sessions.

    So we started off with signing up in one of the locally run piano school chains, and I requested for an English speaking teacher. . . I do not understand the different method of piano teachings, however, my goal was just to allow my son to explore music and enjoy it, so I told the teachers that I am not interested in them hammering him with endless theory lessons, but to make the lessons enjoyable.

    When we signed up we also got X amount of practice sessions for free, meaning we could go to the school and my son could practice his lessons. This arrangement achieved two things for us, 1. my son had the piano lessons he wanted 2. I did not have to commit to purchasing a piano until my son was really into his lessons, and showed some commitment.

    It is now a year later, and we did get a used piano for my son, and we now have a teacher coming to our home for lessons. My goal remains the same, for my son to enjoy his lessons. . . he just gets more theory lessons now along the way (because as the piano teacher explains it, he needs to understand theory in order for him to improve). Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    HKfornow
    That is really useful information, thank you. Our goal is for her to enjoy herself and explore whether she would like to learn, so quite similiar to yourself I suppose?
    I will look into the school chains. I have heard Tom Lee offer lessons? May I ask who you went through seeing your son had a positive introduction?
    Also, did you buy your piano from a second hand dealer or through classifieds on geoexpat/asiaexpat? I wouldn't know what to look for!
    Cheers

  5. #5
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    I would say that if you're starting out, that an electronic full-size (88 keys) keyboard would be best for the reasons that Gataloca mentions above. However, if your daughter decides she's serious, it's definite worth getting a real piano as the recoil action of the keys is very different than that of an electronic keyboard. Just keep your eyes peeled for people moving away, maybe even some from your own building. We gave away our Yamaha baby grand to our neighbors downstairs when we moved away five years ago. Now, we're back with two small children in tow, but we have no room for a piano, so we have a decent Casio Celviano keyboard.

    I'm a big fan of the Suzuki method, but I don't know who teaches piano that way here. My son, who's learning Suzuki violin at KinderU on Queen's Road East in Wanchai now also wants to learn piano, but I want to wait for him to finished book 2 on the violin first, as recommended by his violin teacher. I did, however, get the Suzuki piano violin book 1 with CD from the local music store (Parson's, I think) and started having him familiarize himself with the songs as well as the sound of the piano. I was thinking of starting maybe by year-end with him at home and seeing how it goes. Let me know if you do find someone who's willing to teach Suzuki piano at your home. If I don't find someone by year-end, I'll probably start experimenting with teaching my son at home!

  6. #6
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    I did Suzuki as a child, and while I think it is great for developing an ear for music, I also think it has several limitations. a) it can sometimes (depending on how the teacher teaches) limit the reading ability. I was blessed to have a teacher who really pushed reading - but other Suzuki teachers don't... and b) I think it's too much Bach/Mozart/Beethoven and not enough range of different styles and composers. I know that I wish I'd had more training in other styles such as jazz etc...

    That said, I think that for a total beginner, particularly children, the Suzuki method is quite good... but if your child is really serious about learning piano, either change to a different method, or make sure that the teacher is filling in the gaps - because it's not "perfect" as far as methods go (in my opinion)... I also wish I'd done grades as well - some teachers do, others don't... I did grades for theory, but not performance. I think I should have...

    Anyway, that's my opinion as an adult who learnt Suzuki, looking back on things. I still play piano, but only for my own enjoyment and in church (completely different style to the Bach/Mozart/Beethoven that I learnt as a kid. I practically taught myself. But Suzuki did give me a good ear for music so I'm sure it helped me out a lot, even with it's limitations)

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    HKfornow is offline Registered User
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    Sea Princess,

    As my son's kindergarten was in South Horizon before, we went to Lok Wah, but I also inquired at Continental (who seems to have more branches), plus a few others. I have heard of Tom Lee, but their locations did not work for me. In the end I went with who could give me an English speaking teacher with the time slot that I wanted. Keep in mind though, that these places usually cater to local clientele, so the focus would be different, so make sure you talk to the teacher so that he/she is aware of your goal.

    We looked around for the piano a bit, via bulletin board, classifieds, etc., we ended up going to a shop in Mong Kok, who had advertised some piano for clearance and we went to check it out, and ended up getting one.

    We also debated between the digital piano and the traditional, I was very tempted with the digital since it was cheaper, but I wanted my son to get the real "feel" of the piano (supposedly the sound and the strength needed in which you pound the key is supposed to be different - though I honestly can't tell), so decided to pick up a traditional piano.

  8. #8
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    Dear Nicolejoy

    I wish I could play by ear! I learned piano using the traditional method. My last teacher was good about introducing different types of music, but I had no ear for it by then. I just started playing at church, too - I joke that I always played "by sight and not by faith". My husband, who learned Suzuki for violin for 3 years before moving to HK from the States and continued with a traditional teacher was able teach himself to play be ear on the piano, guitar, bass and other string instruments. Honestly, he plays piano for church better than I do and I had 10 years of lessons - aaaaarrggh!

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