"Mum, can I do ballet this year ? And can I have horseriding lessons ? And I want to learn to play the piano too." Sound vaguely familiar ?! It's absolutely fantastic to have kids who are keen on improving their artistic or sporty sides but how many parents have to say no because they just can't afford it ? Private tuition isn't cheap and isn't always easy to fit into your and your child's probably already extremely busy schedule either. But what about if you could help your child to self-teach ?
Well, Lisa Childs to the rescue ! She came up with a method to teach her daughter Valerie, then just 3 years old, to play the piano. Valerie went on to have a highly distinguished musical career as an International concert pianist and now runs the Childs Pianoforte School in Buckinghamshire, so the method obviously got her off to a good start !
The method is presented in a series of four books, which can be used as a fun way to learn at home or with a qualified teacher. I have to be honest - I wasn't overly inspired by the rather austere book covers which don't look particularly appealing to children - but they are designed to be used by anyone, children and adults alike, who are taking their first wobbly steps towards learning to play the piano.
Once inside, the books are slightly more child-friendly though, initially using colour as a visual stimulant so that even children who don't yet know their alphabet can follow the method. (The books are designed for children from the age of three.) Book one is for total beginners but - and I find this quite amazing - by the end of this book, the pupil will be playing pieces with both hands.
According to the method, "In book 2, pupils will enjoy learning classical and popular tunes, and the 3rd book introduces scales, pedalling and extends the repertoire by teaching more challenging pieces. By the time the player reaches the final book in the series, they should be at the equivalent standard of the Grade 3 Piano Examination and well on the way to mastering technique and interpretation."
Many piano schools now follow the Lisa Childs method, but even if - as an adult or a child - you just want to learn to find your way around the piano keys for fun, it's an incredible method for picking up the basics really quickly and simply. The books will have you really playing the piano properly, with complete tunes not just scales, and a nice mix of styles that will appeal to everyone.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £35 for the four books
For more information go to: http://www.childspianobooks.co.uk/
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