Early Music Education for visual learners is a key developing factor for children because music is a solid foundation to build much of what follows on.
Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He said this:
“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."
No one actually needs to be convinced about the benefits of music which is why this article is all about early music education. Early music education lays the foundation for things to come and Little Composers is dedicated to help parents with getting started right away.
Don't miss another day
Children are sponges when it comes to learning and most can use a tablet or smartphone while still at the pre reading stage. Little Composers developed and published six educational music apps which are targeted at visual learners as young as only three years old. The first of the six apps is called minimal. Minimal is a piano that does not look like a piano. Instead of keys, minimal uses six animals. Each animal was especially chosen because of the name which has to match the note names. Piano keys are named A B C D E F G and minimal follows the same convention except in a much more creative way.
Instead of a C we use a Camel followed by a Dolphin, Elephant, Giraffe and an Alligator.
Piano keys arranged for young children
It takes more than animal names to provide the ultimate learning experience because the piano has more than six keys. To make the most of our first seven notes, we've moved the A (alligator) to the top so that the B (bird) is the first key. This change makes a lot of sense in musical terms because many melodies go below the root note which, in our case, would be the C.
Visual learners bond instantly with this setup and usually compose and play seven-note compositions the day they start.
Here is an image of the actual play pads (keys).Try and imagine the names for each animal as you look at the above image. For older children, the app displays the first letter (note name) but for younger kids, we recommend to hide them (menu option) at first.
How to teach a toddler to play the piano
Teaching toddlers to play the piano is fun and required a bit of supervision. There are two very important factors involved which the mentor (parent, nanny, older sibling) MUST understand.
- Watch the time and don't go over 10 minutes
- Encourage and praise all the time
How long should a toddler play piano?
First of all, a toddler should not be using a piano app alone. When a mentor and toddler work together, the playing time should be split 50/50 but don't time it. 50/50 is a guide line and guide lines are meant to be bent every now and then.
Why is the length of playing the piano important for toddlers?
The exhaustion happens in hearing and not vision. Music is mostly hearing and little ears (as well as older ones) get tired. Therefore, exposure to music must be structured. Playing a piano app is different from playing a game because the brain engages differently with those who learn than those who "go with the game flow".
Begin with small segments of say 2 minutes, do a bit of talking/praising, play a bit yourself (one try will do) and then hand the tablet or what ever device you are using back to your child.
Praising and encouraging is key to success
I got to know a lot of parents during my time as a music teacher and with some of them, the discussion about encouragement and praise was a long one. Many moms (and dads) have gotten too little from their parents and have a hard time with getting this most important part right.
Let me make it easy for you. Praise your child for accomplishments. Imagine that a neighbor of friend visits you. Make sure that your child can hear your conversation and then mention how smart she/he is. Two or three sentences of praise are perfect.
Even better would be if a family member visits and you have your child show how she/he can play the piano. Again, once the mini performance is over, praise must follow and a box of Smarties or chocolate bar seals the deal so to speak.
Humans can achieve amazing things when encouraged and praised by someone they love and respect. Music lessons by themselves are not that exciting so you need to make time and listen when they play. Most children will outgrow the first apps (minimal) in 2 to 5 weeks and when they do, phase one is completed.
Here is how one mom put it:
“As a radio announcer, it is very important for me to have my daughter involved in the world of music. I just want music to mean as much to her as it does to me. So it made sense to start her in it as soon as possible. I found Little Composers and instantly knew it was for us! It really is brilliant and easy to follow along. I highly recommend it for you and your “little composer.” – Trish W.
Little Composers specializes in early music education and our apps are designed to serve as the steps to greatness.
After your child outgrows the first app, you should move on to the pre Piano Keyboard which is similar to minimal except that it has color coded keys instead of animal pictures. Color coded keys is perhaps the wrong word as Little Composers does not support color coded keys. Instead, we use a two-color system which more accurately can be called chord-coded keys.
Minimal and the pre Piano Keyboard are both excellent choices when it comes to early music education. Because of the way they introduce music, we've placed them as the number one and two apps to start with.
Help and Support
Apps are never straight forward and therefore, Little Composers provides help and support for parents who are starting music lessons at home. To see how it all works, we invite you to check out the Little Composers Academy and look at all six apps plus the online music courses.
Start your child in music as early as possible. Creating a free account at the Little Composers Academy takes about a minute and after you log in, you have access to some of the best music apps for younger kids.
Praise and encourage should have the same instructions as hair shampoo does. Lather, rinse, repeat. 🙂
No music teacher can do more for your child. There are a ton of other advantages such as the advantage of playing music at home in a familiar sound environment. Think of what your voice sounds like when you paint the house and all the furniture is covered, curtains removed and so on. We are very used to the say things sound at home and don't realize it but little ears do. Begin the first music lessons at home. That too is key to success.
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Thank you for reading.