With Chinese New Year, my parents being in town, and all the other things going on, it’s been really hard trying to find the time to work on the Piano Wizard with Gavin. After asking him several times if he would like to try it and only to receive the reply: “Not today”, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started to play with the program on my own hoping that it would catch his attention. And it worked. He sidled up to me and watched for a bit while I played. After a while, he wanted to try it for himself.
I put on the first lesson for him and tried to show him how to play it. We had some problems. Gavin had trouble pressing the keys at the right time. He also has a habit of leaning on the keys so it doesn’t respond when he presses them because they are already half engaged. After a while, he got a bit fed up because he couldn’t make the eggs break.
I’ve been trying to analyse what the problems were and this is what I came up with:
- Poor setup – the keyboard is too high and the chair is too low. As a result, Gavin rests his hands on the keys because he gets tired of holding them up. This is a problem for us because we have limited space at home.
- Keyboard too big – Gavin has short, stubby fingers which makes it hard for him to position his fingers over the keys. And since his manual dexterity is not great, he finds it hard to press the keys with other fingers other than his index finger.
To help Gavin build up his finger strength and cultivate his music interest at the same time, I bought the following two books from MPH:
This is what is included in the first book Poco Piano:
- The keyboard, staves, clefs, simple time signatures, note values and rests.
- Reading encompasses notes to a 5th above and a 5th below Middle C.
- The first line of the treble stave and the fifth line of the bass stave.
- Staccato, slurs, ties, upbeats and repeat signs.
- Tempo and dynamic markings in English.
It is supposed to be used in conjunction with Music Theory for Young Children which covers:
- The musical alphabet (7 letter names)
- treble clef and bass clef
- time names and time values (semibreve, dotted minim, minim, crotchet)
- line notes and space notes
- treble clef notes (middle C to treble G)
- bass clef notes (middle C to bass G)
I started it with Gavin yesterday and he seems to be enjoying it so far. I’ve decided to work with him through these books and bring out the Piano Wizard at a later time after he’s developed a little more understanding of the keyboard.
Gareth, at the moment, is only doing music through his TweedleWink lessons. Each week, they listen to the sound of a new note on the tuning forks, they learn about music timing (semibreve, minum, crochet), classical composers, different types of musical instruments and rhythmn. He appears to enjoy this part of his lesson a lot and I’ve been wondering what else I can do to encourage his budding music interest at home. So far, this is what we’ve been doing at home:
- I’ve been introducing him to more favourite classical pieces
- We sing songs (nursery rhymes, Thomas songs, Signing Time, and Hestia)
- I encourage him to “make music” with various noise makers (drums, maracas, and the piano)
- We “dance” to music together so he can feel the rhythm
What else can we do with a 15 month old?