In this guide, we explore how to teach a child to play piano. If you want to teach your son or daughter how to play, you can do so from the comfort of your own home. In this day and age, there is an incredible amount of learning resources available online.
Some of the learning material out there is aimed at children, whereas some of it has a more adult feel, and you might have to find ways to keep it fresh and interesting for your child.
Is it Hard to Teach a Child Piano?
If you’re not used to teaching children, it can be frustrating to get started. Children’s brains work differently. This means that it can be hard to make lessons understandable, but also has a lot of other challenges.
- It can be hard to keep your child’s attention for a long period of time.
- You need to explain everything in simple language that a child will understand.
- Children are easily sidetracked and distracted so the learning environment is crucial.
- Kids all develop at different rates, some will be more advanced than others even if they are the same age.
These are just some of the ways in which teaching a child can present a challenge. So how can you make it easier for yourself and your new apprentice?
Best Age to Start Piano Lessons
What is the best age for kids to start piano lessons? Is your child too young to start to learn how to play the piano?
As we’ve already stated, all children mature at different rates. Some children might not be ready until they are 10, others might be ready to start aged just 5.
As the guide above states, it is never too late to learn how to play the piano. Whether you are 8 or 80, you can take lessons and get a lot out of playing the piano.
Is there an ideal age to start? Hoffman Academy recommends starting between ages 6-8. This is when most children have developed an attention span that is long enough and can cope with intellectual challenges. It’s not set in stone, though.
If your child wants to become an established virtuoso pianist, the earlier you get them started, the better. It can have a negative effect, though. If your young child is pushed too hard, they might give up on piano quicker.
Piano Lessons for Toddlers – Is There Any Point?
Having established that most children aren’t really capable of learning much about the piano until they reach 5 or 6 years of old, is there any point in teaching toddlers?
The answer is “yes” but don’t expect too much. A good way to teach toddlers is to get them used to the very basics. You can teach them the notes A to G, or even practice counting in 4/4. This won’t turn them into an accomplished piano player, but it is a good help when the time comes to start learning properly.
There are always exceptions, of course. While most kids struggle to learn piano as toddlers, some children take to piano lessons far better than you would expect. Check out this four-year-old master!
Best Piano Games for Kids – Turn Things Into a Game
Think of your piano journey as a chance to get creative. One of the best ways to teach a child to play piano is to keep them engaged. How? With games!
Once upon a time, people thought that games and learning were best kept separate, but actually, there is a lot of proof that games help learning.
The video above provides some printables, too, which can help to make learning more fun. It also helps with how to teach a child to play piano if the child is a visual learner.
You can make the games as simple or complex as you like. One game we love to encourage for learning the very basics is spelling out words by playing the notes. Loads of words can be made out of the letters of the piano keys “A-G”. You can shout the word “face” or “cab” or anything else you can think of, and time your child with how quickly they can spell it out on the keyboard.
There are a lot of different memory games you can use with kids, too. This is especially good if you are using printouts. You can quickly hold up a flashcard and let your child work out the note. Rhythm games can include clapping or tapping on the piano and following someone’s lead when counting “1, 2, 3, 4”.
Get creative, once you start to think about it, many exciting piano games will probably come to mind. You’ll probably find that the child in question latches on to one type of game better than others.
Simple Piano Lessons – Break Piano Lessons Into Bitesize Chunks
Children haven’t developed their attention spans yet. At least not to their full potential. If you have ever spent a lot of time with a kid then this won’t be news to you. Kids need new stimuli and will constantly keep moving to avoid boredom. Without being stimulated intellectually kids can start to make trouble for their parents to keep themselves amused.
There is a really useful guide to establish how long a child’s attention span should be. You can multiply their age by 2-3 to give you a rough idea. So, using that formula, a six-year-old child has around 12-18 minutes of attention span. Trying to give a 30-minute music lesson will not work, especially without taking breaks.
Use learning materials that are bite-sized. Don’t try to go through a whole chapter of a textbook with a child, they will likely lose interest. Instead, you can use music in fun, short and sharp bursts. For example, one day you might learn the intro of a song and then leave it there. The next day you could learn a chord progression. Don’t try too much at once, as this is a sure-fire way to make children want to avoid their piano lessons.
Implement a Reward System for Piano Lessons
There are many different schools of thought on this. In most cases, reward systems have shown to be a very useful way to reinforce learning and help children to stay motivated. Rewards can even help with their self-esteem.
This is not about teaching children that material possessions are important. It’s about teaching a lesson that doing something productive and positive, like getting through the next few piano lessons, brings about a positive reward. This might be something as simple as an extra 15 minutes playing on a games console.
This is a great lesson to learn early in life. Let’s face it, as adults, we still reward ourselves with nice things or fun activities after a hard week at work.
Hopefully, learning this incredible instrument can be its own reward as your kid gets better. They will love being able to play songs that they hear on the radio, but they might need a bit more encouragement to start with in the form of a reward system.
Teaching Piano at Home – Our Tips
In the last year or two, a lot of parents have had to learn how to teach their kids at home. Learning piano from home is a little different from Math or English, but still requires some thought.
What are the best ways to teach piano at home?
- Use a dedicated space rather than your child’s bedroom or the living room. This way, you can ensure that the lessons take place away from all of the possible distractions in your home.
- Keep a routine time for lessons if possible. If you don’t, it is easy for piano time to go out of the window altogether or for your child to keep postponing. A timetable is important even for home learning.
- Ensure you have the right equipment beforehand. You don’t need too much for a kid to start learning how to play the piano. A simple keyboard and some learning materials are enough, but make sure you have these before you start. If not, 10 minutes of the lesson might be getting your iPad to connect to the internet or working out the modes on your keyboard.
- Plan beforehand. A piano lesson plan can be helpful, and ensure that you know what you need to cover in the session.
All of this is easier if you are following a specific course such as the Pianu academy, designed to be simple and interactive, it’s perfect for kids to get started playing.
Free Piano Lessons for Children
There are many reasons why now is the best time ever to be exploring how to teach a child to play piano. One reason is the incredible amount of learning material that you can find free of charge on the internet.
You can start our piano lessons without parting with any money at all. Many songs can be learned free of charge, and the first steps of our Pianu academy don’t require payment.
There are plenty of people out there learning how to play piano without ever parting with any money. It is possible to self-teach piano for adults, and kids can also learn a lot from interactive piano lessons online.
Pianu allows you to connect a MIDI keyboard through a USB cable and learn through interactive lessons. This way, a child can get feedback on their playing, and they will know if they are playing the right notes and at the right timing. It’s like having a professional teacher without the expense, plus, you can access the lessons any time.
Beyond Pianu, there are a number of other free resources. In the age of search engines, just being able to search if you have a question, and get the answer straight away, is something people couldn’t do a few decades ago.
YouTube is another resource full of information, and you can find tutorials for pretty much any song imaginable. If it isn’t available yet on Pianu.com, with an interactive lesson, you can at least learn by watching other peoples’ tutorials on YouTube. This is something that comes as second nature to most children, who use YouTube all the time.
How to Make Piano Lessons Fun? Use Songs Your Child Enjoys
This is where so many piano teachers get it wrong. One of the easiest ways to bore a child is to try and make them learn songs they simply don’t have any interest in.
Luckily, it’s easy to find sheet music to so many different songs, along with YouTube tutorials and Pianu song library songs. You can focus on songs you know your kids will like, or even give them the choice of what songs they want to learn. From Star Wars themes to nursery rhymes, there’s something for everyone.
Some piano teachers believe that it is best to learn some of the basics first, such as scales. This might be a good grounding for your child’s knowledge, but it isn’t going to keep them engaged. The reward should be the song they can play at the end. Knowing how to teach a child to play piano is partially about knowing what will make them stay motivated. Endlessly playing chords on their own, or learning scales, will start to bore children. If they can learn the Minecraft theme tune or their favorite nursery rhyme, it’s much more exciting.
With Pianu, you can even teach your child songs from their favorite Disney films!
If a child has ambitions to be a concert pianist or a classically trained musician then they are going to have to learn things like music theory and scales eventually. However, if you are just prioritizing getting a new, constructive hobby for your child then there is nothing wrong with taking an approach that involves learning songs first.
Do I Need Qualifications to Teach Piano?
If you are going to go into an educational establishment to teach children how to play the piano then you might need to go down a formal route and get education, or even a certification.
If you just want to teach your children or friends then you don’t need any specific qualifications.
Of course, it helps if you know how to play the piano, and certain skills might help you to be a better teacher. You don’t need to have a specific teaching qualification to teach your own children or offer private lessons, but you do need a certain temperament to be a good teacher.
What makes a good piano teacher (amateur or otherwise)?
- Plenty of patience. There will be a lot of challenges when teaching a child how to play the piano, so you need to be patient.
- Communication. It helps if you are good at clearly communicating with children, as this will help you to get your message across more easily.
- Organization. Taking a scattergun approach to the learning process can confuse things further. Instead, try to stay organized and take a structured approach.
- Personality. The best teachers of any subject have passion and personality. This is infectious and will help kids to learn.
Piano Class For Kids – Should I Take My Children to a Class?
Different children learn in different ways. Though there are many ways to teach your children online (or get a membership to Pianu and let our academy do the hard work). Some children will still respond well to going to specific piano classes.
If you have a sociable child, or you want to encourage a child to engage with peers, then a class could be a good option. Learning piano in an environment that isn’t one-to-one can pose challenges, too. This is especially true when you consider the fact that all children learn at different speeds.
Another challenge is the fact that there aren’t always places you can learn piano in person. If you are lucky enough to live near a good community music program then it is worth taking advantage of. However, if you don’t then you might struggle to find a group piano lesson in person. Many people living in rural locations don’t have the option to go into a city to find a piano class.
Online Piano for Kids and Adults – Pianu
Pianu.com is an “online piano” as well as a learning platform. You can go through piano exercises without even needing a piano to be connected, and learn melodies to your favorite songs just by using your computer keyboard.
Even if your child doesn’t have access to a piano all the time, they can participate in Pianu.com lessons. They work perfectly on piano and keyboard, but also on tablet or laptop.
This sort of flexibility means that you don’t need to worry about always having a piano or keyboard to hand when going through lessons. You could even get started on a small 25-key keyboard. The interactive feedback works the same whether you use a MIDI keyboard or just the keyboard on your computer, so your children can practice at any time.
Pianu also has a song uploader to allow you to learn virtually any song. You just need to find the song in MIDI format (most popular songs can be found at a site like Free MIDI). Once you’ve uploaded the MIDI, Pianu will create a playable tutorial for the song.
Piano for Kids or Keyboard for Kids – Choosing Equipment
To know how to teach a child to play piano, you also need the right equipment. Should you use a piano or a keyboard for kids to learn on?
There are specific children’s pianos on the market, but not many. If you use an acoustic piano then you have the added challenges that come with this. You will need to get it tuned regularly. Plus, if you don’t already have a piano then they can be expensive and heavy additions to your home.
A keyboard is often a better choice for beginners, especially children. They’re small, portable, and affordable, making them a great starting point.
For some young children, the keyboard itself can add a level of fun to their piano practice. Check out the keyboard below.
This keyboard is portable, fun, and easy for children to control. It only has 37 keys, but this is enough for learning the very basics of playing the piano. As time goes on, children can progress to a 49-key, 61-key, or even the full-sized 88-key model.
If you want to start with an 88-key model to replicate a piano, a digital piano for kids is a good way for them to start learning. They don’t need to be tuned, and can be connected to Pianu via USB-MIDI for interactive lessons.
Fortunately, there are so many choices of keyboard, digital piano, and acoustic piano for kids. Whether your children need something small and portable or want full-sized, hammer action keys, there’s something on the market for you.
Conclusion – Teaching Children to Play Piano
The approach that you take when discovering how to teach a child to play piano needs to be flexible. All children are different. Some kids will take to piano quickly and enjoy their lessons straight away, while some will need a bit more encouragement.
One of the best ways to keep children engaged is to be flexible and to be willing to change your approach to what a certain individual needs. If things get boring for children then it is likely that they will quickly give up. Keep it fun with a reward system and enjoyable learning materials, rather than endlessly playing the same boring scales.
When teaching children to play piano, you can take advantage of the fact that most kids are great with technology. Pianu’s interactive lessons are intuitive, and many children will be able to start learning in a matter of minutes. You can let technology do the hard work for you.
Similarly, your children can watch YouTube tutorials, and use MIDI files to upload and create unique tutorials on Pianu.com.
All kids learn differently. Be flexible in your approach and spend some time understanding learning styles before you approach piano lessons. If not, you might end up taking an approach that really doesn’t work for your kids.