Karate and Piano Lessons
My daughter has 3 sons. Three rambunctious boys with energy to burn. Their personalities are quite different. There’s an artist, a warrior and an engineer and they all share a passion for life!
In desperation and with inspiration, she enrolled them in karate, even though they have different personalities. If she took one to dance class and one to soccer and one to engineering for kids, she would be driving everywhere.
Karate delivered something for each child: movement for the artist, mind awareness for the engineer, and an energy release for the warrior. It delivered something else too, it delivered a family experience. Her husband (a violinist) got curious watching the boys practice their kata at home and enrolled too. My daughter also jumped in and joined the karate class for women. The family options were available when they were ready.
Piano and Families
What if we applied this thinking to piano lessons? We usually teach one child in a family, and maybe their siblings. What about the rest of the family? What musical experience do you offer families?
Many parents enroll their children in piano lessons because it helps them in school with marks and discipline, or they wished they could play piano themselves, or it helps with hand eye coordination for sports. Even better, they sign up for piano because their child loves music.
When you teach only one child in a family, you are missing an opportunity, the opportunity to create music as a family. Like other languages, the best way to learn a musical language is to share it back and forth. Sharing music is something families can do everyday.
Making music benefits the sports stars in the family as well as the budding engineers. It bridges the generation gap and opens communication about life. I remember many wonderful conversations about life that erupted when playing music with my son and daughter as they were growing up. Instead of the usual “How was your day?” answered by “fine” or a grunt, sitting with my children at the piano often erupted with “do you know what happened today?” Playing music is emotional and it brings hidden emotions to the surface.
Children taking piano lessons have parents and grandparents that can and should share in the experience of creating music. As an added benefit, with the explosion of online teaching, the same piano teacher can now teach the grandparents of their students, even if they are in a different city!
When multiple members of families take piano lessons, they support one another by checking in on each other's practice schedules and play together with duets or multiple keyboards. If they are in different towns, they can have weekly online ‘performances’ and play what they are working on for each other. It creates a motivating atmosphere!
Adults learning piano want and need a different method than the children. I wrote the Play Piano Chords Today method to fill this need. Whatever method you choose for teaching adults, bringing them into your studio brings in support for the child. Someone to champion their practice sessions. Someone who understands just how hard it is to learn a scale hands together. Someone to share their journey.
See next week's blog for an idea on how to invite the adults in your community to sign up for lessons too!
(BTW my grandsons take piano lessons in addition to karate, it’s a perfect combination!)
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