In preparation for my first lesson that I will be teaching starting in February, I looked up some resources and pulled out a few piano books that had been lying around in my basement that I thought would be helpful. Initially, I was feeling a bit lost and I wasn’t quite sure on where to begin. Should I start by teaching my students notes? What about matching notes to the keys on the piano? Dynamics, rhythm, note values, tempo? I realized that there are just too many things to learn about the piano in one session and that it would be far too overwhelming for a child who has never even touched a piano before. After much thought and research, here is what I came up with:
- Before starting, make sure the student is comfortable on the chair. It should be just the right height and the right amount of distance from the piano in relation to their size. Their feet should be touching the ground (a foot rest may be required) and they should have good posture.
- Allow the student to play around on the keyboard, pressing down on the white keys and the black keys. Ask them how many keys they think the piano has in total. Tell them to notice how the sounds of the notes are lower in pitch on the bottom left half of the keyboard, and increase in pitch as you move to the right of the keyboard.
- Teach them finger numbers by tracing out their hands (or right hand only) onto a sheet of paper and write down numbers 1-5 starting with the thumb as number 1
- Introduce note names by focusing only on five notes for the right hand (middle c, d, e, f, and g). Show the student where “middle c” is on the keyboard and tell them to play it with their thumb on their right hand (finger 1). Next, tell them to play the next note with their second finger followed by the next note with their third finger and so on until they reach their pinky finger.
- Allow them to experiment with playing the five notes in different orders (ex. pinky down to thumb, skipping a finger…. etc).
- After a few minutes, the student should feel more comfortable and get the hang of playing these five notes. Show them a few songs they could play by ear by using just these notes such as hot cross buns, and Mary had a little lamb.
- Here is a website that I found with really great techniques for teaching kids piano! https://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/first-piano-lessons-for-kids/
This should be enough to cover a 30 minute lesson especially for a first lesson. It’s best to break everything apart and start simple, evaluate how the student takes on the information and applies it, and go from there. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works out!