Tiny Fingers Welcome

by Amy Turner

I have great pride in my tiniest students; the ones often labeled "too young" to play piano. While their fingers may be small and weaker than older pianists', their ability to comprehend and learn is the same. A basic understanding of child development aids any teacher in accepting students - and teaching them successfully! - under the magical and arbitrary age of seven.

Take my three-year-old student, for example...

My three-year-old student has tiny fingers. She can't read. She uses a stool under the keys for stability because her legs don't reach the floor and definitely not the pedals. Her attention span is fairly short. To many, she would seem like an unlikely candidate for weekly piano lessons. And yet, in a few short weeks she has learned the concept of low and high, up and down, loud and soft, quarter, half and whole notes, the music alphabet (as it differs from the English alphabet), and she can locate every C, D, E, F, G, A and B on the keys when prompted. At her most recent lessons, she has played beginner pieces with both hands. What a success! When this little one reaches the magical seven, her foundation of music knowledge will have created a sturdy base for her future learning.

One of my five-year-olds, though a little taller and a little stronger than my tiny students, is still a small kiddo. His fingers are only beginning to build the strength needed to perform basic harmonic intervals (playing two keys together), and any five-year-old's attention span is a length that requires preparation and creativity by any teacher. And yet, week after week he progresses in knowledge, playing pieces that increase in difficulty at a steady pace and with great success!

I cannot wait to see where my little ones are in a few years! For the littlest ones, Piano Padawans are classes ideally for children ages 3-5 accompanied by a parent for a brief 20 minute session; just enough time to focus on some new music skills, learn about the piano, and have quality bonding time with Mom or Dad. Contact amy@pfafftownpiano.com to find out more and register.

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