Introduction to Lessons
Hi, my name is David Duckworth, founder of the Teach-Them-Piano method for young children.
All lessons will be mastered by you, the home-teacher, and then your child. All aspects of the lessons are designed to be mastered by the child within a week's time. Mastery of one lesson is not necessarily a prerequisite for the following lesson. Lessons after the first few lessons will include a review of previous lessons with the newly introduced material. The lessons come with a practice chart, on which your child will check off his/her daily exercises. Please take care not to push your child to a lesson which requires a prerequisite that has not yet been mastered adequately. The important thing is that your child spend supervised time with the piano every day.
Early on in the method, you child will encounter an exercise that is impossible to complete unaided. This is a good thing. Please show extra patience teaching this exercise, as conquering the difficulty will ultimately give the child the confidence in his/her ability to learn, in your ability to teach, and in the value of practice. The first few lesson exercises can be completed unaided by a small child after a week of practice, so have faith in yours!
The first couple of days after the lesson presentation will be the most difficult for both of you. They are also the most important, as the child is learning the most during this time and establishing the "routine" of doing the new exercises and checking them off.
Please allow your child to explore while they are practicing. Of course, they don't get the satisfying check marks (and whatever other reward you may choose to use as enticement) until they've completed the exercises, but they should not feel rushed to proceed. Exploring fosters the development of the ear, and must be allowed. If you want to use piano lessons as a means to strengthen your child's attention span, then wait until he/she is 8 years old, and can read proficiently. One of the main objectives of this course is developing the ear at a young critical age. Discipline and focus will come later. Because of this need for unfettered or loosely fettered exploring (no jumping on the piano, please!), the use of an electronic keyboard is not generally practical for these lessons. Keyboards all too often have exciting demo buttons which will distract the child from learning, and, worse, support the notion that music can be made by merely pressing a button, rendering the exercises an obstacle to making "music." There are ways, involving a screw driver and wire cutter, that buttons can be disabled from consumer keyboards, most of which still boot up with the default piano sound setting, but it is still highly preferable that the child have a real piano to practice on.
All lessons include at least one home-teacher video and one student video. The home teacher video can be viewed in full or read from the transcript and viewed in part. A second supplementary home-teacher video may sometimes be necessary for the untrained home-teacher, who has not had any previous music lessons. You should watch all relevant lesson videos and make necessary lesson preparations (such as printing out the practice sheet) before watching the student video with your child. The student video will begin with 5 seconds of silence, during which time the home-teacher may increase the screen to full size and pause the YouTube, so that the child is not exposed to advertisements. At the end of the student video, the screen again will have 5 seconds of silence, allowing the home-teacher to disengage the screen before it shows advertisements to the child.
From the student standpoint, all lessons begin with the student video, which instructs them how to fulfill their lesson practice requirements. After they fulfill each requirement, they may place a check on the practice sheet for that lesson. Please make sure there are no technical difficulties with the video or problems with the piano before beginning the lesson. You must be as prepared as possible, so that the child can relax into the music as easily as possible. Your preparation should result in you being able to play proficiently all the lesson pieces at least two weeks ahead of the student. The two-week lead time will insure that you are not floundering while trying to teach your child.
The untrained home-teacher will have to watch all the videos at least two weeks ahead for each lesson and practice accordingly. The trained home-teacher may merely examine the lessons' sheet music two weeks ahead and determine what if any practice of their own is needed.
All lessons have sheet music, typically a song with words to be sung by you and your student together. Formal reading of musical notes is not taught for the first year, and the student does not need to see any the music until lesson 8, and then only for the words. All other sheet music is optional, but may help the trained home-teacher follow along.
All lessons are titled and subtitled. With your student, please refer to the lessons by the subtitle, which is a phrase that the student is most likely to associate with the lesson, such as the song title.