Frequently Asked Questions

How FAQ's:

How do I know if my child is ready to be a Teach-Them-Piano student?
The child is assumed to know a one-finger version of "Twinkle Twinkle" before beginning the lessons.  It is encouraged, but not required, for the child to also be able to play other simple familiar one-finger melodies (see examples).

How old should my child be to use this site?
The lessons were designed for students 4-6 old. Students younger than 4 may require more time between lessons than the suggested week.

How do I know if I am ready to teach my child?
The lessons were designed for a home-teacher who may or may not work outside of the home, but who has daily quality time with the child.  The lessons require daily time with the student and piano, no exceptions. The lessons to not require the home-teacher to have learned to play the piano. The untrained home-teacher should have enough of a music ear to learn and then teach the child "Twinkle Twinkle" before the first lesson. The home-teacher should also watch the first lesson video well in advance of the lesson, to assure that they are properly prepared.

How much time will the lessons and practice time require?
The home-teacher will be present, actively or peripherally, for all lessons and practice. The home-teacher will also expect to spend about 15 minutes preparing for each lesson.  The daily practice will require up to 10 minutes of dedicated home-teacher time (active presence) with the student until the routine is developed, after which the student will practice for about 2 minutes daily with minimal supervision from the home-teacher (peripheral presence).  As the lessons advance, the home-teacher without prior piano training will require additional practice to stay ahead of the child. Some lessons require active presence even when the student has developed the routine.

How long is the program?
The lessons were designed to be weekly, with the student graduating to intermediate level after two years.

How is the home-teacher to prepare for the lesson?
The home-teacher will watch to the home-teacher video and student video for each lesson, become intimately acquainted with the music to be learned by the student, print out a student practice chart and sheet music, and possibly other small preparations.

How is the lesson given?
The student watches a short student video which demonstrates the lesson requirements and prepares him/her for instruction by the home-teacher.  The home-teacher then works with the student to fulfill the lesson requirements.  

How come I need a real piano instead of a keyboard?
Keyboards have bells and whistles which are a distraction to small children.  Most keyboards have flimsy keys that do not allow for proper finger strength development.

How much does this program cost?
Supply costs are nominal.  The site is free.  To support the site, click here.

Why FAQ's:

Why the big fuss to learn music when the modern academia emphasizes reading as being much more important?
We might as well ask why our children need to see in color.  Yes, they can function in society seeing only black and white, but a world of color is preferable. It is regrettable that music has been deemphasized in our public education, but studies show that musical children consistently outperform their non-musical peers in high school standardized tests (see here). We aren't suggesting here that story time be replaced with music time in the home, only that the home be well-rounded by including music as part of the curriculum, and at a cost of a mere (average) five minutes a day of the child's time. 

Why piano?
The piano has all the notes of an orchestra at the fingertips of its master. It is the best instrument for expressing the fullness of harmony and melody together. There was once an era when every home had a piano, and piano lessons were standard. The piano continues to be the flagship instrument in schools and churches.

Why don't I just wait until my child is 8 years old, and can read well, to take piano lessons?
Young children are just as capable as learning musical sense as older children, even if their attention spans are shorter. Like language skills, a musical ear develops best at an early age. If this development can be harnessed an nurtured in a loving environment, it will broaden the student's ability to appreciate hearing music and learning music for the rest of his/her life.

Why your passion for teaching young children piano?
I am a professional pianist with absolute pitch (a.k.a. "perfect pitch"), meaning I can hear a note and identify it without guessing. I have known that absolute pitch must be developed at an early age long before the studies verified this (see here).  As one of four children, I was fortunate to start learning piano at age four, as was one of my siblings.  The other two siblings started at age seven.  The two of us that started early developed absolute pitch.  The other two siblings, both of whom possess PhD's in their respective fields, and also each have a high appreciation for music, do not have absolute pitch. Even though the majority of my students do not have the gene for -- and therefore will never develop -- absolute pitch, I have long believed that early studying will likely yield relative pitch (required for musical virtuosity) as well as a better musical sense

In our specialized society, we all too often overlook the importance of the home-teacher in a student's musical development. For an inspiring afternoon read, please get Shinichi Suzuki's "Nurtured by Love," to see real testimonies of the impact of the home-teacher on violin development.  Many homes are now without a stay-at-home parent, and most working parents are unable or disinclined to spend two hours hovering over a young Suzuki student, as quality time with their child is at best limited. It occurred to me that piano does not require the hovering that violin does, and can be learned even more incrementally than the violin.  Yet no piano method existed specifically for parents to engage children which incorporates these advantages.

I created a curriculum starting with the overly optimistic goal of requiring care givers and their children a mere two minutes a day of music time together, in which the parent is merely in the same room as the child, as long as the child's playing is carefully heard and, when necessary, lovingly corrected (this is called "peripheral presence"). This is the ideal, not the reality.  A more realistic situation requires the care giver to spend a full 10 minutes a day much of the time, constantly hovering over the child for many practice sessions ("active presence"). This is still a small price to pay, easily attainable by most parents these days, for a lifetime of musical enrichment to the child.

--David Duckworth, founder and creator of the Teach-Them-Piano method