A Six Year Old’s View

Last fall, an unusually enthusiastic beginner bounded into my studio and announced, “I have a piano, and it goes up and up and up!” As he spoke he moved from a crouched position on the floor to standing on his tiptoes with his hands reaching high. I walked over to my piano, cleared the lid, and opened it fully. The new student shouted, “That’s it!”

This reminded me of a parent education meeting many years ago at my son’s extraordinary preschool, The Mercer Island Learning Lab. ¬†Our teacher, Judy, had cut out an enormous image of an adult. I remember discussing what adults must seem like to young children.

Now I am reconsidering the challenge of teaching music notation to young piano students. In the studio, I have many hands-on tools, as well as strategies, for learning to read music. The photo shows one of my favorite aids- the music rug. In the upper right corner is a piece of typical sheet music. The rug is great because it is big, it is near the piano, and it shows the entire music staff. We walk on it, discover line and space notes, build chords, and much more.

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The piano keys are so long!! I realized this when my wonderful technician Chris took them out to recondition my piano. He gave it a tune up not long ago. Pianos need tuneups just like cars, and jets. There are so many parts we just don’t see because they are all covered up by the case. According to Wikipedia, my piano has more than 12,000 parts.

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