Piano lessons.

People think I’m crazy for doing piano lessons with a 3 year old. But I know I started early – as soon as I could hit a key with one finger. My mother has pictures of me sitting on her lap playing when I was little. I want that same early introduction to music, especially piano playing, for my children.

These aren’t formal piano lessons. In no way do we have a book to work from. Instead, we sit side by side at the piano and hit the keys. We name the keys as we hit them. He is beginning to see the pattern in the keys. He can pick out all the C’s in all the octaves because they have a “white key on one side and a black key on the other.” He knows the black keys are called flats and sharps. We play simple songs, like “Mary had a Little Lamb,” “Down by the Station,” and “ABC,” and sing along. I put my hand over his and play. We also do scales, reciting the notes as we try and match our voices to the notes. This is our lesson.

I did try working on the concept of reading music, but he’s having a hard time differentiating that a note has a letter name just like a letter has a letter name. So instead we work on keeping the same tempo and what a staff looks like. These are early musical concepts that he needs to learn in order for him to have any musical ability, and the earlier he learns them the better.

One day soon, maybe when he is 4, we will get a real book and do real piano lessons. He has no problem with me being his teacher for things; he claims that it is mommy and me time. Today, when he woke up, he said “Mommy and me time at the piano please.” This means he is enjoying it and having fun. If he is enjoying it and having fun, then I am teaching him correctly.

An added bonus is that sometimes, when I am busy feeding the baby or cleaning something, he runs to the piano and picks out notes, one by one. Sometimes he plays scales on his own, reciting the notes. And after breakfast, I even heard my three year old play “Mary has a Little Lamb” on the piano – by himself and pretty correctly. What a sweet sound.

For more on the benefits of learning to play the piano as a child, click on the following links:

How Piano Lessons Benefit Young Children

12 Benefits of Music Education

Benefits of Your Child Taking Piano Lessons

The Psychological Benefits of Piano Playing for Children

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