Piano Lessons for Kids in London
Many human beings listen to music, watch musicians play, share their musical passions with others and feel sorry that they missed learning to play piano when they were children. Music is a precious gift to give to a child to keep for a lifetime and the piano, being a coordination instrument with endless features, is an extremely versatile tool of expression and communication. Apart from the orchestra, the piano is the instrument for playing almost anything. It has its own colours but can also imitate an unlimited quantity of other sonorities.
If your child is a beginning explorer of music and is not sure of their musical preferences - the piano is an ideal instrument for a start. Piano lessons provide opportunities to learn to read music, explore different styles and get access to the largest canon of music as well as countless arrangements of works for other instruments transcribed for the piano. My aim is to educate pupils to learn at the highest level of quality possible from the very beginning without passing on the need for refurbishing their skills at a later stage to other teachers.
If your child is an intermediate or advanced pupil I can offer systematically constructed plans for skill development and prepare them for performances, grade exams, diplomas, competitions, auditions, entrance examinations, specialist schools, conservatories and universities. Or continue learning piano and exploring music without deadlines and performances.
📖 "I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning." Plato
Selections from a Piano Hour and a Pupils' Recital
Piano Lessons and Music in General Make Your Child More Intelligent…
… and making music is even much more beneficial than listening to music. The combination of a boost of IQ levels, enhancement of early brain development, discipline, development of a cultured personality and taste, self-expression, joy of delving into musical sounds and playing together with others is an attractive prospect for most parents. Learning to make music helps to improve language and social skills, memory capacity, boost creativity and, generally speaking, shape mental, emotional, physical and social aspects of childhood development. Music paves the way not only to a better understanding of maths and science but significantly enhances children's learning speed and absorption ability. Studying the piano requires concentration, comprehension and immediate physical translation of complex concepts, it stimulates fine motor control, breathing and essential relaxation controls. But not only is learning the piano beneficial for the sake of its inherent practice challenges - performances from an early age also contribute to the development of a healthy self-esteem and facilitate later school and university exams, public appearances with verbal presentations etc.
If you are interested in conducting some research into the benefits of instrumental tuition in childhood I would recommend to look at some of the following books to start with:
There is also a rather large quantity of online articles on the topic, here is just a small selection:
Music Lessons in Early Childhood May Improve Brain's Performance
This is How Music Can Change Your Brain
The Benefits of Music Education
Music Training Improves Adolescent Brain Development
📖 "The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing and feeling - training the brain to become incredibly good at organising and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attentional skills, intelligence and an ability for self-knowledge and expression." John J. Ratey MD
How Tuition for Children Works - In General:
🎵 Piano lessons for kids take place on high-quality pianos - please see the Location pages for more information.
🎵 The focus of tuition is the development of skills; therefore, an ongoing development of technical as well as reading skills will be a crucial foundational aspect of lessons and home practice. That helps to get better results in grade exams as well as competitions and build up children's confidence.
🎵 In the UK, children have access to an incredible range of various kinds of performance opportunities starting with small school assemblies and going through taking grade exams diplomas, participating in festivals and competitions and playing in concerts. Find more details on the Performance page.
🎵 Regarding exams pupils are usually advised to take ABRSM exams but preparation for other boards is also possible when preferable. Check the ABRSM Materials Pages which are used in lessons. The road of preparation for exams is embarked on when necessity arises (school/university requirements, scholarship preparation etc); it is systematic learning that counts and not a hunt for grade exams under peer pressure; exams are added to the learning process only when graded qualifications or diplomas are needed or wanted.
🎵 For children and teenagers especially, piano tuition is always placed into the context of overall intellectual development; learning to play the piano is an intellectual undertaking; there is much more to music than just finding the notes of a few exam pieces - music is certainly a powerful tool through which a child can learn to think and develop individually; the analytical skills, confidence, understanding and autonomy which can be developed through piano tuition can then be transferred to other subjects or fields of interest and help improve results also being a source of joy.
🎵 The development of a child's individuality is of the greatest importance. As Franz Liszt said to the young Teresa Carreno, “Little girl, with time you will be one of us. Don’t imitate anyone. Keep yourself true to yourself. Cultivate your individuality and do not follow blindly in the paths of others.” This one thought is not only relevant in the context of piano-playing wonder children but also in the context of all children who are learning without being crushed by any kind of educational methods. Later the grown-up and legendary pianist Teresa Carreno writes, "As a rule, the child with the marked individuality is the one from whom the most may be expected later in life." (in James Francis Cooke's Great Pianists on Piano Playing)
🎵 Children will learn how effective practice works and eventually be able to practise themselves without supervision. As the famous French piano pedagogue and composer of many pieces for beginning as well as advanced learners wrote, "everything lies in knowing how to practise." (Felix Le Couppey Piano Teaching. Advice to Pupils and Young Teachers)
🎵 The quality of sound is of paramount importance from the very beginning. Pupils learn to concentrate on reading, technique, sound and musicianship simultaneously at all levels.
🎵 Piano lessons, especially as preparation for performance opportunities such as exams, festivals, concerts etc. enhance children's and teenagers' performance skills. And even if young people go on to study subjects which are not at all related to music they will still benefit greatly from the performance practice music provides in the form of exams and competitions which are invaluable stamina exercises. Analytical and critical thinking skills which are acquired through practising piano are also transferable to a myriad of other fields of study.
🎵 Since the teacher is a practising professional concert pianist frequent demonstrations and improvised or existing accompaniments are frequently embedded in lessons for children. Since playing piano is something 'practical' not everything can be explained 'theoretically'; playing examples drastically speed up progress, direct pupils' focus, define sound possibilities as well as musical concepts, solve technical difficulties and develop artistry. Nothing can replace an example.
🎵 Children learn in a safe environment.
🎵 Safeguarding is taken seriously in this studio.
🎵 Please check the News page for information on events, competition prize winners etc and the Ethos & Values page for an overall description.
Before Piano Lessons Start
Is your child 2 or 3 years old? Is it too early to start learning numbers, letters and notes while concentrating on hand position at the same time? Have you explored options such as Monkey Music? Do you play concentration games with your child? There is a variety of activities you could get involved in prior to taking up piano lessons. And if you would like to introduce your child to this rather complex instrument in a playful way consider these toy pianos and books (ideal for very small children to play with before lessons start and even when they start):
Is your child perhaps 6, 8 or 12 years old? Have they expressed an interest in music or the piano in particular? Or would you like to offer them the option to explore and see if they like it? You would not really need to prepare anything to start piano lessons at school age but you could always get them some books about music or go to concerts of which there are a great many in London. The Southbank Centre and the Wigmore Hall run events for children specifically - you can find some information on their websites.
Requirements for Starting Piano Lessons:
🎵 Inherent curiosity and interest in learning.
🎵 The child's own interest in music (and in this case particularly in learning piano) and willingness to practise. Please do not force your children to study music if they have a taste for something totally different. There are so many different things you could do optionally. As the famous piano teacher and composer of pedagogical repertoire Felix Le Couppey wrote, "The study of music has now become obligatory, and all young [children], whether they display a taste for it or not, are taught to play the piano. This is a great mistake. Above all things, the child's taste should be ascertained, and if his disposition seems to be opposed to music it would be wise to abstain from teaching him, for even the most insignificant results can only be obtained at the expense of infinite worry and weariness, of infinite time and useless endeavour." (Piano Teaching. Advice to Pupils and young Teachers)
🎵 Very basic ability to count (at least up to ten with addition / subtraction) and read/write letters (at least the first seven letters of the alphabet).
🎵 Transfer pupils of any age and level might require an overhaul of technical/reading skills without which lessons would not make sense; for this to work pupils would need patience to fill potentially existing technical gaps; this takes time and cannot be done in a few weeks.
🎵 The orientation here is 100% results; aiming at the minimum quality (pass mark) with three pieces per grade may procure grade exam qualifications but this approach is really counterproductive in the overall context of learning to understand music and master pianistic skills; switching from the latter to the former takes time because it involves a redevelopment of skills.
🎵 Willingness to behave appropriately is an absolute must. Please check the Teaching Ethos page for further details.
📖 "Patience and exactitude are the main conditions for success…" Marie Prentner Leschetizky's Fundamental Principles of Piano Technique
Children's Piano Lessons - Beginners
🎵 Awakening a child's interest in making music and playing the piano specifically in the most creative and interactive way possible is the key at the very beginning of learning piano.
🎵 Children and teenagers of any age are welcome to start piano as complete beginners.
🎵 The earliest age for starting piano lessons is three (which is the best age to start, I think). The child needs to be familiar with at least the first four numbers and seven letters of the alphabet. A parent's or guardian's presence in lessons and participation in home practice is crucial for a successful start at pre-school age. An early start has a very good effect on early development of intellect as well as basic skills and learning piano is an ideal activity in this respect. The complexity of the piano is especially challenging but can be learnt more naturally at an age when children begin to learn basic academic skills and has a huge potential to promote your child's learning in general. Although really challenging, it is also absolutely possible to teach very young children proper skills. The conditions for a start to work are sufficient preparation, responsiveness to tuition and basic reading/counting skills. Parents would also need to understand the essentials of the practice process to enable a child to start piano at a very young age. As Daniel Gottlob Türk wrote in his School of Clavier Playing in 1789, "The earlier one begins to play the piano [clavichord], the further one may progress, at least with regard to dexterity. For at the tenderest age, the fingers are still supple enough that one can attain moderate speed with much less effort than when they have grown stiff and inflexible." (§14)
🎵 Children who start when they are older could learn more autonomously and at a faster speed.
🎵 The materials as well as approaches differ depending on pupils' age and learning abilities.
🎵 Enjoyment of music through learning, discovering and performing.
🎵 Laying a foundation for reading music efficiently and with ease, piano technique, a beautiful tone.
🎵 Embarking on the road of musical discoveries.
🎵 Preparation for piano and music theory grade examinations with distinctions as result.
🎵 Beginners can perform in competitive festivals (including non-competitive categories) in the early stages of tuition - some start playing after only just two terms of tuition.
🎵 Read more about the components of learning on the Piano Lessons for Beginners page.
Children's Piano Lessons - Intermediate
🎵 Continuing to develop reading as well as technical skills and a beautiful tone
🎵 Expanding repertoire
🎵 Enjoyment of music
🎵 Grade examinations with distinctions - piano and music theory
🎵 Prizes in festivals and competitions
🎵 Confident learning
Children's Piano Lessons - Advanced
🎵 Developing more advanced reading as well as technical skills and a varied beautiful tone
🎵 Enlarging piano repertoire
🎵 Enjoyment of music
🎵 Grade examinations and diplomas with distinctions - piano and music theory
🎵 Prizes in festivals and competitions
🎵 Preparation for auditions for school scholarships, junior departments, specialist schools
🎵 Read more on the Piano Lessons for Advanced Pupils page
Supplement Learning Piano with Reading and Listening
It would also be a great idea to complement children's learning with extra reading at home whenever there is time to keep the interest awake. I would recommend the following books for independent reading/listening:
A great series of audiobooks about various composers for younger children would also be highly recommendable even if your child is not yet playing any pieces by these composers:
And here are some more various kinds of picture books and further literature:
These are complimentary suggestions, full lists of tuition books and music are provided in lessons.
📖 "Music encodes ethical qualities in the human and feeds them back to the soul." Plato
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