What method should my child learn?

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I'm sorry to sound naive but I don't play the piano myself and am trying to find some answers. I am starting my 8 year old on the piano - she is quite musical and is very keen to learn. I've been told that she could choose between the Alfred and Suzuki methods and I really don't know which method to go with? I would really appreciate any advice on this? Thank you in anticipation.


-- Shivanthi (shivraja@dmi.tafe.sa.edu.au), May 08, 2003


Shivanthi.. Here's some pros and cons with those two methods. The suzuki method unless done correctly will not teach a child to read music, they will basically play by ear. It really is meant to be started with a child at the age of 3 or 4 and then when they can read note reading too will start. There is also only classical pieces in the program so that would be all you learn. Pro. you get to learn how to play also and will use the practice time to spend together at the piano. Alfreds is a rather old method and some of my students tend to get stuck with it and feel unable to move on. FJH- moves at a good pace it's newer and have more interesting songs in it. also hands move around the keyboard faster. advancing the notereading skills. Hal-leonard- moves quite quickly and is my preference to start 8 yr olds on. They don't what to be bothered by the beginner stuff for too long, but they do need to learn it. After book 2 though i do switch to FJH, just because bk 3 teaches many new concepts quite quickly, and i feel in some cases the students' just can't keep up with it.

-- Shannon (Shannonspainostudio@hotmail.com), May 09, 2003.

Shivanthi: I'm a parent of two young pianists, too. They've been learning from about 2.5 years now; the older one starting out at about your child's age. They are at the intermediate level (things like Beethoven Sonata Op. 49, Kuhlau Sonatinas etc.) Well, the reason I mentioned all this because in retrospect, I think the teacher is much more important than the method. My children start out with Alfred, I was a bit unhappy because Alfred relies too much on position playing. I changed to another who's using a modified Suzuki approach... Interview the teacher. Ask questions. Even if you don't play anything you still can get a feel for that person. Chemistry, dedication, open minded-ness... Those are things non-musicians can tell, too. Be extremely careful as who you want to be your child's teacher. Every time you change a teacher it hold your child back for quite a while. I wish someone told me that!


-- Laura (shivraja@dmi.tafe.sa.edu.au), May 11, 2003.

Choosing between Alfred and Suzuki goes well beyond choosing between two method books, but rather, choosing between two VERY DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES of music education. So you have to first decide if you want to do 'traditional' piano lessons or something else. As method books go, I like Faber and Faber the best (after having used Bastien and Alfred). As far as Suzuki, look for a teacher that is actually trained in the method. Most music stores carry Suzuki materials and ANYONE can buy the book and call themselves a Suzuki teacher. Find the Suzuki website (they have a list of teacher-members). If you're wanting something not as traditional (more ear-before-eye, perhaps singing, rhythm/piano ensembles, composing, etc..) check out Harmony Road Music Course ("www.harmonyroadmusic"), Yamaha Music Education ("www.yamaha.com"), and Music For Young Children ("www.mfyc.com").

Hope this helps

-- alexandra (alidoremi@aol.com), May 12, 2003.

This is just a quick correction for one of the websites Alexandra listed: Music for Young Children is www.myc.com.

-- Alice Dearden (alicedearden@look.ca), August 21, 2003.

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