Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fun With Music: Let's Play Piano (A Year Later...)

It's been exactly 1 year 6 months since captain E enrolled into the Yamaha piano lesson. He has been attending the weekly lesson under the guidance of the same teacher, diligently practicing at least twice a week with the electric piano we bough for him at home. 

Here's the key milestones check:
  • He is now able to understand and recognise all the symbols (Treble clef, Base clef), notes (crotchet, minim, dotted minim, semi-breve, quaver), articulation marks (staccato, accent etc) and counting. This is after completing 2 theory books and 2 piano lesson books. 
  • He is able to read and play with both hands simultaneously, among some of his favorite pieces are Mickey Waltz, Not So Easy Polka, My Grandfather's Clock, 500 Miles and Long long Ago.
  • He has good control of the beat, he used to play at random speed (depending on his mood I suppose?) but now he is able to find his pace and play with right counting.

What really surprised me was that, he no longer fears to play in front of the crowd. When the teacher asked if he wants to sign up for the audition for the mid-year student concert, he hesitated  at first but after some thought he told me he is ready to sign up for the audition. It's clear that he has his fear (I explained to him what's an audition) but he overcame his fear of crowd. From a shy boy who would quietly shake his head to now braving himself to face the challenge... my little captain made me one proud mom. :)

We were the first to arrive for the audition, and he did a really steady performance despite there were many participants watching from outside glass door with me. Not the best performer, I would say, but he calmly greeted the 3 judges, played his chosen song and paused to re-continue when he made a mistake. I didn't expect him to be chosen for the concert, but the fact that he found his courage and took the responsibility to practice at home, I know my little captain had reached a new milestone. 

Apart from being able to play quite a many children and classical songs now, I noticed my little captain had learn to be more patience and responsible - practice on his free time without being forced. I didn't fixed a practice schedule for him, I want him to enjoy the music and play on his own will, not to play just because mommy says so. I'm glad things are working out well and I look forward to the day he will play like Jon Schmidt from the Piano Guys. *wishful thinking hits me again...*

By the way, if you do not know who The Piano Guys are, do check them out. The pair Jon Schmidt  and Steven Nelson plays the most inspiring music with their piano and cello.

If there is anything else to add, it's that this mommy also managed to learn some keyboard skill and played few pieces after practicing with him for sometimes. That is definitely a bonus for me!

To Sum It Up...
In case you would like to know more, here are some known benefits of introducing music to a child's development. There may be a lot more other recognised benefits, but I am only picking those that really matters to me as a parent:

#1 Music has a positive influence on young children's cognitive skills, such as spatial learning and memory, it helps to connect the cells in the brain. Research has shown that children who are actively involved with music (either play it or sing it regularly):

  • do better in reading and math when they start school
  • are better able to focus and control their bodies
  • play better with others and have higher self-esteem
Translating the note to finger positioning requires good cognitive skill.

#2 It's a confident builder and helps children to break the social shell. "They find that they can develop a skill by themselves, that they can get better and better", expert says. 

#3 It teaches discipline. It is more than just attending classes on time, but instead music requires one to practice, practice and practice. The children will learn that to play their favorite piece of music they need to have the discipline to practice. We may not aim for prodigy (not me at least), but we would appreciate a child who know self discipline. 

#3 Last but not least, Music makes the children HAPPY. Let them experience the joy of listening and experiencing the music. Play along, sing along or even dance along with the them, make it an enjoyable experience that enriches the childhood.

That's all from me. May your little one has a happy music discovery journey too!

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