There are countless studies on the benefits of early introduction of music education to young children. Among other benefits, young children exposed to music early on in their formative years learn intellectual, emotional, motor, and language skills that are transferable to nearly every other part of their young lives. Additionally, children are able to learn more quickly than adults during their formative years – their prefrontal cortexes of the brain, where working memory is stored, are less developed than those of adults, thus making them sponges for information.
Let’s explore the benefits of introducing your toddler to the piano. Generally regarded as one of the more straightforward musical instruments, the piano is a great choice to help you present your child to the world of music and its benefits.
So, how do you know if your child is ready for this introduction? Let’s discuss a few indicators.
- Your child is well versed in the alphabet and can count from one to ten without too much trouble.
- Your child shows some interest in music.
- You, as a parent, understand the basics of the piano.
- You are ready to practice great patience, as this is essential in effective music teaching.
- You own a child-friendly piano. While a synthesizer or a full-fledged piano is amazing, you can find a smaller scale piano for your child to learn before going to the big leagues.
- Your child shows capable motor skills (i.e., the ability to control their finger movements). Children between the ages of 3 and 4 sometimes have restricted finger movement. Fear not; practicing the piano can absolutely help your child develop these skills.
Keeping Your Child Engaged During Lessons
Take your time (but not too much time)
The standard concentration span for a toddler is relatively narrow in comparison to an adult’s. Consider five minutes of your concentration span equivalent to just one minute of your toddler’s span. Shifting activities rather quickly throughout your lesson, perhaps moving from practicing a key to clapping in a rhythm within two minutes or so, will keep your child engaged throughout.
Let your toddler decide the pace of piano lessons
This learning experience is meant to be fun and positive. Toddlers learn through repetition, so when your child seems especially invested in a particular lesson, allow them to take their time as they please. Communicate and ask them when they are ready to move on.
Make it a game
Toddlers love to play, thus, a game and activity format is the most effective way to keep your child engaged and interacting with the piano. For example, bring various plushies or soft toys and keep all the said animals on different chords.
Next, mark each key with the note title, for example- C, D, E, and so on. Ask your child to locate and press, say, giraffe and lion. Now, the giraffe and lion would be kept separately, and as soon as they press those keys, one chord would be played. Reward concepts also work well with young children – giving a reward for each note they play right or each piano lesson they comprehend well can be effective.
Remove the pressure
In our society today, we often see parents and guardians fixated on an idea or skill that their child should master. While structure and goals are essential in the learning process, there is a very thin line between maintaining a healthy routine and putting so much pressure on your child that it deters them completely. Psychologists know that when a child is forced to learn a skill, they might lose their interest much faster than those who are not. Hence, it is suggested to teach piano lessons for toddlers in a fun and interactive way. Aim to make the piano a chosen “play” or activity rather than a chore.
Teach them their favorite songs
Many of your child’s favorite songs are pretty easy to play on the piano. When you teach them a song from their favorite show or artist, they will show more interest and also expedite their learning process. Disney movies have various melodies that can be played on the piano with ease. There are even specific teaching books that focus on these recognizable and attainable melodies.
Get down to your child’s level
It is often said to become like a child while being in the company of a child. The goal is to show your child that you are in this with them – watch lessons on YouTube together, cheer for them when they play a note correctly, and come to their rescue when they get stuck. Emote, emote, and emote with your child. Help them feel that their musical learning journey is not a solo process but that you are an active participant in their musical journey.
Incorporate singing while teaching piano lessons for toddlers
When an instrument is played while singing, a child’s cognitive abilities develop faster. When external noises are incorporated, the efficiency of learning increases—blending several activities while teaching is most effective, as making your child sit for long hours is not best for development.
There is certainly no right age to introduce music to your child, but you’re likely to be surprised by how quickly your child can pick up this new skill. While you two bond over music, you are also sharpening their emotional, problem solving, and cognitive skills, which will serve them well in all other areas of their development.
To get started, check out the online music courses offered by BYJU’S FutureSchool. You can sign up for a FREE trial with a live teacher in a 1:1 setting. You can also check out more music resources on the BYJU’S FutureSchool blog.