Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Expert advice and interesting facts
Interesting facts about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Known as ‘The King of Instruments’ the piano was invented in Italy in 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori because he wanted a version of the harpsichord that could be played both softly and loudly. He called the instrument the piano-forte which means ‘softly and loudly’ in ItalianKnown as ‘The King of Instruments’ the piano was invented in Italy in 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori because he wanted a version of the harpsichord that could be played both softly and loudly. He called the instrument the piano-forte which means ‘softly and loudly’ in Italian.
A standard keyboard has 88 keys.
There are over 12,000 parts in a piano, 10,000 of which are moving!
Pianos are made of thousands of pieces of wood glued together to form various parts of the playing mechanism as well as the cabinet. Felt, buckskin, paper, steel, iron, copper and other materials are also used.
An average, medium size piano has about 230 strings, each string having about 165lbs of tension, with the combined pull of all strings equalling approximately 18 tons!
The piano is totally complete and needs no assistance from any other instruments, but almost all other instruments need the piano for accompaniment, including singers.
A new piano should be tuned four times the first year, with the change of seasons, and at least twice a year after that!
The world’s largest piano is a Challen Concert Grand. This piano is 11 feet long, has a total string tension of over 30 tons and weighs more than a ton!
Mozart composed his first piano solo at age five, and could actually write music before he could write words!
Beethoven went deaf as he got older but could still play the piano because he “heard” music by feeling its vibrations.
Bach is the best-known composer of the Baroque period. He had 20 children!
Independent studies show that children who learn the piano tend to do better at school. This is attributed to the discipline, hand-eye coordination, social skill building and pleasure derived from making their own music.
How to pick a piano teacher for your child about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Some practical points to check with a piano teacher are:
Do you have to have a piano at home to practise on? Pianos are expensive and take up a lot of room. Can your child practise on a keyboard initially until you are sure they are serious about continuing lessons?
Do you need to buy music books or are these included in the price of the lessons? Do these need to be purchased in advance?
Do you have to commit to booking a term of lessons or can you pay half-termly?
National associations & clubs about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – an internationally recognised education body based in London that provides examinations in music.
Trinity Guildhall - Trinity College London
LCM Examinations - A department of the London College of Music within the University of West London.
The National College of Music - specialises in external examinations in music and speech subjects in centres throughout the UK and in some countries overseas.
Qualifications & exams about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Prep Test: a gentle introduction to music exams for the youngest musicians.
Jazz: Grades 1–5 for piano.
Graded music exams: Grades 1–8, practical and theory - the internationally standard.
Qualifications of tutors/coaches etc:
There is no minimum qualification required to teach music at home. However, passing grade 8 practical and at least grade 5 theory will indicate an acceptable level of competence regarding playing ability and musical knowledge. A Music Degree would be advantageous.
A Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (DipABRSM) means that the teacher has a formal qualification to teach the piano.
Learnings from the activity about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Fine motor skills
Learning the piano is a very creative and rewarding experience. For children it develops concentration and perseverance as well as emotional expression. It has even been linked with Mathematical ability! There have been many studies into these claims with some compelling results.
One example is a study which tested preschool children who received twice weekly piano lessons in the classroom. After 4 months of lessons these children took tests measuring spatial-temporal performance (the brain function used to understand maths, science and engineering) and it was found that these children did 34% better than a group of children who did not have piano lessons. Take a look at the 16th article in the list. Rauscher, F.H. & Zupan, M. (2000). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15, 215-228.
Famous people about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
Gethin Jones (born February 12, 1978) reached grade 8 violin and grade 7 piano, was leader of three County orchestras and has played with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2005, he became the 31st presenter of Blue Peter and since leaving the show has continued to enjoy a successful career as a television presenter.
Myleene Klass (born April 6, 1978) began playing the piano and her grandfather's violin at age of four. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she also added the Harp to her repertoire. After completing her studies Myleene won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. She first shot to fame in the 2001 ITV1 series 'Popstars', the original reality TV music show whose premise was to create a UK pop band. From thousands of singing hopefuls, Myleene was chosen to become one of five members of the controversial yet incredibly successful pop band, Hear'Say. Although the band split in 2003 she is now a successful singer, pianist, media personality and occasional model. Her net worth was estimated at £11 million in April 2012.
'Great British Bake Off’ presenter and comedian Sue Perkins (born September 22, 1969) volunteered – “rashly”, she admits now – to take part in a TV series called First Love, which reunited celebrities with instruments they'd played as children, and challenged them to master them as adults. Sue had reached Grade 8 in piano as a child but gave up when a new girl joined her school who played much better than Sue and was given her roll of playing during school assembly. “I was such a perfectionist then that I never wanted to do anything unless I could excel at it. And I felt I couldn't excel at the piano. So I gave up. And ever since, the thought of playing filled me with self-loathing.”
Now, 25 years since she had last played, Sue felt “physically sick” when she was told that she had only 4 months practice before playing the piano for 500 people at the Cheltenham Music Festival.
Other celebrity piano players include:
Kelsey Grammer, Guy Pearce, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Sandra Bullock, Courtney Cox, Jamie Foxx, Dustin Hoffman, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Gere, James May, Nicky Campbell and Lady Gaga.
YouTube about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
A clip of a special performance by 7-year old Emily Bear playing a piano solo called ‘Tomorrow’s Wishes’ that she composed herself and played at Noche de Niños in 2009.
Interesting articles about Children's Piano Lessons: Facts & Ideas
A Harvard-based study has found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training—not only in tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity (skills honed by the study of a musical instrument), but also on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion (skills not normally associated with music). ScienceDaily (2008, Nov 4)
Pianists have more efficient brains? Pianists and non-musicians of the same age and sex performed complex sequences of finger movements while having their brains scanned to determine the level of brain cell activity. Both groups made the correct finger movements but the pianists made the correct movements while having less brain activation. Thus, compared to non-musicians, the brains of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements. (source: Neuroscience Letters, 2000, 278, 189-198)