2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
32 members (brdwyguy, BobTB, bwv543, aphexdisklavier, Animisha, clothearednincompo, Andrew E., Belger1900, brennbaer, 5 invisible), 2,998 guests, and 228 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 7
S
s42 Offline OP
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
S
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 7
My predicament is that my son about to turn 7 years has been more or less shown how to play piano songs instead of taught how to play songs ie the theory, let me explain.

First of all we live in Thailand and my son is half Thai, he speaks reads and writes both English and Thai fluently and is learning Mandarin as he has a gifted ear for language and sound. He's been learning piano for just over 2 years and like everything he learns soon becomes a teachers favorite for his ability to engage, communicate and articulate beyond his years.

Within his first year he was playing an eclectic range of songs that his father liked ie Let it Be (Beatles) Morning has broken (Cat Stevens) Imagine (John Lennon) Faded (Alan Walker) Proud of you, Take on me (Ah-Ha), Tokyovania, Fur Elise and the list goes on, I should also say my son loves going to piano lessons and he's not being forced by an over eager parent although he's not eager to practice at home which has frustrated me for a while, there's something just not adding up.

I think it's now that I realize what the problem is, in fact I know what the problem is as I know my son, he doesn't have confidence to read music by himself. My son has very little confidence in reading sheet music because very little time has been spent on theory instead he has been shown how to play music instead of learning how to play music and I do understand that has it's benefits to. There seems to be a generic way of teaching here in Thailand where one shoe fits all regarding age groups and there seems to be no consideration of a Childs learning capability by not identifying and cultivating talent. My sons ability to learn and articulate is VERY good and I'm a firm believer that he could fly a plane right now providing he was taught in fact I think most kids have that ability if they are taught correctly.

Simply put, my son doesn't realize the joy of discovery and achievement that one gets from reading a book which all starts from learning the alphabet to eventually formulating it into sentences and being able to articulate what was just read. An example is a song learnt with his teacher in class and practiced at home (mainly by memory) will eventually be forgotten which is natural when you move onto other songs but the problem is he will not be able to play that song again by reading the sheet music in front of him, he wont even attempt to play an old song because he cant remember it.

I honestly believe my son would benefit by not playing much of the piano in class but instead being taught how to read music intensively for a period because once he has the confidence of looking at a sheet of music and knowing what everything written on the page means, a new world will open up for him.

Although I might not have articulated this thread the best myself, as teachers I think you know will understand my predicament and hopefully give me some advise.

Thank you.

Last edited by s42; 05/17/22 04:01 AM.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,544
2000 Post Club Member
Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,544
Hi S42. I am not a teacher, but I empathize with your situation. It would be very good if he learns to read music at his age.

Does your son have private lessons with a teacher, or is he in a group? If he has private lessons, I think you should talk with the teacher about your concerns. If he has group lessons, I think that you either need to hire a private teacher with the goal of teaching him how to read, or try to do this yourself. The hard part may be to motivate him, but as he already reads both English and Thai fluently, you can explain to him the similarity between being able to read a book himself instead of waiting until someone wants to read it for him, and learning how to read music.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
S
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
There's no predicament here. The solution is to let the teacher know about it ..... and work on the reading/theory some more. And given adequate time ..... he will get better and better.

Progress doesn't necessarily need to be rushed. If he just keeps up with piano lessons, then he is just going to be able to read music anyway.

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
Originally Posted by s42
I think it's now that I realize what the problem is, in fact I know what the problem is as I know my son, he doesn't have confidence to read music by himself. My son has very little confidence in reading sheet music because very little time has been spent on theory instead he has been shown how to play music instead of learning how to play music and I do understand that has it's benefits to. There seems to be a generic way of teaching here in Thailand where one shoe fits all regarding age groups and there seems to be no consideration of a Childs learning capability by not identifying and cultivating talent.
.
If he can't read music at all, something is truly amiss.

Print out this and ask him to play it from reading the music (and tell him it's written by the greatest composer who ever lived, when he was still a little child):
https://michaelkravchuk.com/free-piano-sheet-music-minuet-k-6-mozart/

If he doesn't even know how or where to start, it's obvious he's being taught entirely by rote. If you want him to be able to read music so that in future, he can pick up any piece of music (that he's capable of playing technically) and learn and play it by himself - just like someone who can read can pick up a book and read it by himself -, you need to tell his teacher to teach him to read music.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,555
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,555
Then on the other hand................. he's six years old and learning to love music, and having success playing the piano.

Maybe it's too early to squash his enthusiasm forcing him to read. He has another 80 years, give or take, to do that.


gotta go practice
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Originally Posted by TimR
Then on the other hand................. he's six years old and learning to love music, and having success playing the piano.

Maybe it's too early to squash his enthusiasm forcing him to read. He has another 80 years, give or take, to do that.


Learning to read music does not need to squash a child’s enthusiasm— on the contrary, it opens up a whole world of ‘I can play this by myself and no one needs to show me’.

FWIW I started piano at the age of five and immediately started learning to read music. Loved every minute.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,572
T
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,572
There are 2 basic skills that a student need to acquire: reading & ear training. Reading is a good skill that a student can learn pieces from sheet music quickly. Ear training allows people to reproduce songs they hear even when sheet music is not available. You get a lot of enjoyment being able to improvise.

Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 7
S
s42 Offline OP
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
S
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by TimR
Then on the other hand................. he's six years old and learning to love music, and having success playing the piano.

Maybe it's too early to squash his enthusiasm forcing him to read. He has another 80 years, give or take, to do that.


Learning to read music does not need to squash a child’s enthusiasm— on the contrary, it opens up a whole world of ‘I can play this by myself and no one needs to show me’.

FWIW I started piano at the age of five and immediately started learning to read music. Loved every minute.

I 100% agree of your feedback. My son has learning ability 1 to 2 years ahead of kids his own age and yes he can read music otherwise he wouldn't be able to play an array of songs so quickly. My son has a very good memory and can articulate mentally and physically very quickly but the problem is he's teacher has been coasting him in a way where the aim with her help is getting him to play a song asap then move onto another song and side stepping the theory ie knowing everything written on a page and having the confidence and curiosity to discover the joys of doing it on his own.

I honestly feel an old fashion approach of literally sitting him down with a text book in front of a blackboard and teaching theory in the way a child learns the alphabet at school is what he needs but I'm not sure I can find that in a teacher here in Thailand. Teachers have their own system of teaching a lot of the time it's a generic system of teaching and I don't think my sons true capabilities are being harnessed.

Teach a child to fish and he'll never go hungry.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
I’m not sure what the teachers here think (I’m not a teacher), but I was not not taught much theory for the first couple of years — and then I had an extra weekly lesson for theory and ear training. My gut feeling is waiting a little while might be a good idea since he is still quite young.

Is there a particular type of music he likes but doesn’t play with his teacher? Buy him a book or two and just leave them at home for him to explore. You want to still keep it fun loving music and enjoying playing is worth a world of theory classes 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
Originally Posted by s42
the problem is he's teacher has been coasting him in a way where the aim with her help is getting him to play a song asap then move onto another song and side stepping the theory ie knowing everything written on a page and having the confidence and curiosity to discover the joys of doing it on his own.
What do you mean by 'theory'? Kids don't need to know much in the early years other than being able to read music properly and decipher the expression indications etc. There's no need to go any further, like learning harmony, until he's 12 and above.

If he can read music, just give him lots of easy pieces (like the one I linked - did you try it?) and let him figure them out and sight-read them. I'm still not understanding what your son can actually do on his own without help.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 217
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 217
As a teacher, I don't fancy being "told" by parents what to teach their children, but the destination is the same: it's completely fair for someone to ask if I'm not teaching something that they want. Maybe I have a plan for whatever it is and the answer is not yet, or maybe it's something that doesn't fit with my expertise.

Does a child really learn the alphabet through lecture-style, textbook, blackboard/whiteboard instruction? That seems rather dry and academic. I had in mind seeing letters in picture books, playing with alphabet blocks or letters or other manipulatives, connecting sight and sound through seeing and saying, connecting motor skills like writing, etc.

Also, I teach a distinction between deciphering-reading and sight-reading. Deciphering is basically having to look and analyze each note and take as long as you need to find it (i.e., probably finding the notes slowly, then go back and check the rhythm, or playing the correct rhythm at very slow tempo). Sight-reading is you can visually take in a group of notes and translate the pattern nearly instantly to physical execution.

I do think it is useful to build up the skill of sight-reading; if you can read music and it's mostly by deciphering, it's a longer process to get to the enjoyment of the whole piece, not to mention you might frequently decipher incorrectly and not know it. Yes, the journey is as valuable as the destination, but that doesn't meant I don't enjoy appreciating the result. The more you read (decipher) and play and build up your visual and physical vocabulary of music patterns, the better you can get at sight-reading and increase your accuracy.

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,159
Gold Subscriber
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,159
I agree that teaching formal theory for a student of your son's age (and stage of learning) is not necessary. In fact his teacher's method of moving him quickly through pieces also can serve teaching goals--technique and skills are often taught by exposing the student to a particular skill with a piece and then having him encounter the skill again in another (and another) piece. In this way skills and technique are built up in layers and over time. On the other hand, if he is being taught by rote--watching and hearing his teacher play a piece and then re-producing that without really connecting to the score--that doesn't serve your son well. Talk to his teacher about your concerns.

If all else fails (talking to his teacher, purchasing level-appropriate material for him to read on his own), then consider a different teacher. If finding a local, in-person teacher fails, then consider arranging on-line lessons for your son. Your pool of teachers from which to choose will be large.


[Linked Image]
Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
Originally Posted by s42
My son has learning ability 1 to 2 years ahead of kids his own age and yes he can read music otherwise he wouldn't be able to play an array of songs so quickly. My son has a very good memory....
I assume you don't know anything about music, but you are making assumptions there.

If your son has a good memory, he might not be able to read music at all, and still be 'learning' to play a lot of music, simply by watching his teacher play them repeatedly.

As a piano teacher myself, I never make assumptions about what students can or cannot do: I test them at every lesson.


Quote
I honestly feel an old fashion approach of literally sitting him down with a text book in front of a blackboard and teaching theory in the way a child learns the alphabet at school is what he needs but I'm not sure I can find that in a teacher here in Thailand.
No, you won't find piano teachers who teach young children like that anywhere.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,555
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,555
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by TimR
Then on the other hand................. he's six years old and learning to love music, and having success playing the piano.

Maybe it's too early to squash his enthusiasm forcing him to read. He has another 80 years, give or take, to do that.


Learning to read music does not need to squash a child’s enthusiasm—

Agreed that it doesn't need to, but there is certainly a risk, especially if it is forced on him through boring drills.

He is six and has had fun with piano for two years, so he started at four. I would be VERY cautious with a child that age. If he is unusually bright it is easy to treat him as if were older. Right now it appears something is working well, so drastic changes should be done only with great care.

Unless of course a career as a concert pianist has already been decided for him.


gotta go practice
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
S
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
A good point from tim. That is ..... what is the aim from the op. The op's expectation for the child that is. Such as to become a pilot? Or a concert pianist? Or both?

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Originally Posted by SouthPark
A good point from tim. That is ..... what is the aim from the op. The op's expectation for the child that is. Such as to become a pilot? Or a concert pianist? Or both?

How can any parent legitimately know the eventual career of a six-year old?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
S
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
Originally Posted by dogperson
How can any parent legitimately know the eventual career of a six-year old?

They don't know at all. I used the word 'expectation'.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Originally Posted by SouthPark
Originally Posted by dogperson
How can any parent legitimately know the eventual career of a six-year old?

They don't know at all. I used the word 'expectation'.

Parents can’t have an expectation of a 6 yo’s eventual career. It can be absolutely anything.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
S
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 1,724
Originally Posted by dogperson
Parents can’t have an expectation of a 6 yo’s eventual career. It can be absolutely anything.

Some parents do. You know that. You know there is such a thing as some parents expect their child to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer or commercial pilot, brain surgeon, or business owner, or take over the family business etc .... right?

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,885
Originally Posted by SouthPark
Originally Posted by dogperson
Parents can’t have an expectation of a 6 yo’s eventual career. It can be absolutely anything.

Some parents do. You know that. You know there is such a thing as some parents expect their child to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer or commercial pilot, brain surgeon, or business owner, or take over the family business etc .... right?

Have often do parental expectations of a 6 yo work out? I know my career was not what they hoped. Expectations of a 6 yo mean absolutely nothing


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Yamaha Piano P80 vs P120
by Love Musictc - 06/30/22 05:16 AM
Modulation Help...
by @joycepersonal - 06/30/22 04:07 AM
Kawai VPC 1 / Pianoteq latency question
by DFx - 06/29/22 10:35 PM
Best tuning hammer for $100
by onerj - 06/29/22 05:56 PM
Mendolson-Liszt Lieder s.547
by danno858 - 06/29/22 04:28 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics213,736
Posts3,204,360
Members105,678
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5