Flynn Piano Studio is still running on Saturday mornings here in Dundalk. It’s been great to keep teaching piano. During the rest of the week I mind my twin toddlers which is a full job in itself! Even though they are too young to start piano lessons I am still taking opportunities to introduce them to music. We don’t have a formal time set aside for music class yet but I’ve introduced various things as we are going about our day.
One of the first concepts I would teach a piano student is high and low notes on the keyboard. This can easily be taught to toddlers as well. My girls are not even 2 years old yet and they are starting to learn the difference. I hold one (or both!) girls on my lap and play the extremities of the keyboard. Say, “There’s the high/low notes.” I sometimes ask them “Where’s the high notes?” (using an enthusiastic high-pitched voice) and “Where’s the low notes?” (using a very low-pitched voice). They see me play the notes and imitate me and have learned the word “note.” It’s a little game for them but educational at the same time. Loud and soft (another way to put it is fast/slowly, see this article for more explanation: Dynamics: “Finger Attacks” and Animal Stickers) is another concept that can be slowly introduced as well.
Another way toddlers can get a head start to learning piano is simply by exploring the keyboard. Just hold them on your lap and let them play away. Also, let them hear you play the piano, or, if you can’t play possibly your piano is electric and has pre-recorded Classical pieces to listen to. My girls especially like hearing the Turkish March by Mozart which is pre-recorded on our keyboard. They are usually both sitting on my lap while we listen to it and I bounce my knees as the phrase grows, giving a higher and bigger bounce as the phrase ends (children like surprises!). Then we start moving to the music again when a new phrase starts.
Children love singing and I do too and it’s so fun to hear them hum along while listening to me or others sing. I also made a homemade shaker (an empty hand cream tub with rice inside) and the girls enjoy shaking that especially to a particular lively tune I sing to them, a sort of Tarantella style tune.
Something I plan to do in the future is playing matching games with my twins. I’ll start small by introducing simple rhythms and a few notes written in the treble clef (probably will start with ABC/do, re, mi). After they learn a few notes and values we can grow from there. This will not only be educational by teaching my toddlers to compare and think critically but will also give them a head start for piano lessons.
I plan to find more toddler ideas to implement while my girls grow so if this topic interests you check back for more ideas or subscribe via email (see my home page). I will only use your email address to send you posts about piano lessons from my blog.