3 year old piano student


said: May 21, 2010
 1 posts

I started my son in lessons a few months before he turned 3. He had already taught himself to read and was able to focus on so many different things, I thought it would be good for him to develop in other areas. He began picking out simple tunes on the piano before he started lessons. His teacher had him working on the twinkle variations for quite a few months, but as soon as she had him start learning the songs, he just took off. It’s only been 2 1/2 months since he started Honeybee, but he’s learned the right hand to every song in Book 1.

He’s a pretty intense kid, especially for being just 3 and I don’t want to put any kind of pressure on him. He is obviously gifted and loves to learn new things, so I want to give him opportunities to grow and develop, but I don’t ever want him to feel pressured or feel stressed about anything. Occasionally when he is practicing and makes a mistake he gets pretty upset. I try to explain to him that that it the way you learn things, that’s it’s okay and the more he does it, the easier it becomes. He plays around on the piano at least an hour a day (he’ll play through his songs, and in between just play around with both hands—sometimes he’ll talk about the song being about the ocean, or other random things). I try to have “practice time” with him for about 15 minutes a day but it’s hard because I also have an infant who demands a lot of attention.

Sorry this is so long! I guess my main questions are 1) how do I know if I am adding stress to his life? He really does love the piano, but at times he gets pretty mad at his mistakes. He’ll be adding the left hand soon and I’m worried that he’ll get really upset if it doesn’t come quickly. and 2) does anyone have any advice on how to help him when he does get mad at his mistakes? Thanks!

Sue Ellen Dubbert said: Jul 18, 2010
Sue Ellen Dubbert
Suzuki Association Member
Madison, WI
13 posts

Congratulations on your son’s successful start with music!

  1. By maintaining appropriate expectations and showing a lot of loving support, you won’t be adding extra stress as long as he shows interest! It seems like he will be very well prepared for LH work. Since he seems to be a strong aural learner,you could play the LH when he is away from the piano or ask his teacher if she/he would record the LH for some of the pieces (if needed). Your teacher will have strategies for introducing LH, but with students who are “spontaneous” learners, I tend to wait awhile before putting LH/RH together as they will sometimes initiate it themselves.

  2. You could try role playing (away from the piano) to help him prepare for his feelings of frustration when he runs into a tough spot during practice. I would also encourage him to take a break and try again in a few minutes.

Good luck to you!

Phankao said: Oct 4, 2011
Phankao WanPiano, Viola, Violin
128 posts

When did he start doing the left hand then? Mine started suzuki piano at 2+ and he started doing 2hands in-sync 3 weeks after, so the teacher started him on that.

Rachel Schott said: Oct 5, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

I highly recommend Ed (Edmund) Sprunger’s book “Helping Parents Practice”. There is a whole section addressed to this very topic :)

In addition to being a highly respected Suzuki teacher Ed is a trained pyschotherapist and has a particular wisdom in dealing with the parent-child dynamic as it relates to learning an instrument.

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