Have you ever wanted to play piano? Have your kids learn piano? It’s as easy as 1-2-3: 1 is your thumb, 2 is index finger, etc. to 5 for pinky. If you can read, write, and do arithmetic, you can easily learn piano!
In fact, the easiest song to learn is Hot Cross Buns and Mary Had A Little Lamb). You can play these with three fingers of your right hand; put your thumb on middle C (the white key to the left of the two black keys). Start with your middle finger. Here are the finger numbers:
3 2 1 3 2 1 11112222 3 2 1
That’s it! Here’s Mary Had a Little Lamb:
3 2 1 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2 1 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 1
Spacing represents timing; close numbers are faster; spaces are pauses. Learning to play by ear is the same except for mimicking what you hear rather than what you see. One is hearing the changes in notes, the other is seeing the changes in notes.
It’s best to have a good private teacher, but it is possible to teach yourself or your children for the first year or so with a little effort. Private teachers are an excellent source of knowledge and motivation.
All you need is a book that is self-explanitory. Our book ‘Teach Your Kids First-Year Piano’ is due out January 2011. Most books are not designed for self teaching, they are designed for piano teachers that know the missing information.
Teaching yourself or teaching your child for the first year is very doable. Frederic Chopin was largely self-taught! It’s just a matter of perseverance.
I recommend learning by number with thumbs on middle C. You can also learn by ear this way. Once finger coordination is mastered, rhythm should be introduced. Finally note letters are added. These are the big three which make up the bulk of learning in the first three years.
If your kids are learning, go through their lessons with them. It builds rapport and you learn too! I’ve been playing for 32 years, and I’m still learning. Music is the universal emotional language. Musicians never get bored because there’s always more to learn.