If your child would learn to play an instrument, what would that instrument be? As parents, we need to first figure out if our child can physically handle the instrument. Working with a lot of guitar teachers myself, all of their recommendations for their young students are to learn to play piano first. That’s because it is physically difficult for a young child to pick a string while pressing single or multiple strings with the fingers of the other hand. Besides this, in order to sound like a rock star on guitar, the child has to learn the chord and lead techniques, which are very difficult for a young child to master with the little fingers.
So why learn piano?
1. Piano is easy to play.
It is not hard to make a beautiful sound with piano, because all you have to do is press the keys. In playing guitar, violin, flute, saxophone, intonation is always the problem. Slightly pressing the string or blowing in different ways changes the tone. It takes a while for students to get the right sound, so students who want to make beautiful music from the start find it harder to achieve.
2. Piano provides comprehensive music study.
Piano is the only instrument that read both treble and bass clef. Students who learn to play piano first are able to learn other instruments quicker because they already know how to read music notes, which is often half of the battle. Visually, the structure of the black and white keys on piano helps you understand music theory better. Usually piano study includes theory education that teaches students about the foundation of music such as chords, music history, sight –reading, aural and listening skills, rhythm, music notation, and composition. No wonder all music colleges require entrance students (even those who are not majoring in piano) to learn piano and pass the piano efficiency exam before they can move on to their major study.
3. Piano is popular
Piano is a heavy instrument but have you realized that most schools, churches, performance halls, and auditoriums have pianos? I have played in a band at church as pianist/keyboardist for many years. I have seen and pity those musicians who have to move their big instruments such as double bass, drum set, or even guitarists with amplifier from place to place compared to me who just needs to sit down on the piano bench.
4. Piano is self-sufficient
Piano is the only instrument that is capable of playing 88 keys. A lot of instruments like violin or tuba can only play a certain range of pitches and not many pitches at a time. Therefore, they need to play with other instruments in order to sound good and full. Piano can go either way. You can play piano alone by yourself or play piano or keyboard in the band with other instrumentalists and singers. Pianists play piano with both hands. Sometimes we play with one hand playing the accompaniment and the other hand playing the melody; sometimes we play only accompaniment with both hands. Many churches do not have a band in their services; they use a pianist alone to accompany the congregational singing.
5. You can play all styles of music with piano
There are lots of different styles of music you can make through piano, ranging from traditional hymns, folk songs, pop, rock, classical, gospel, jazz, to smooth jazz. Besides this, once you know how to play piano, you can also play organ and keyboard.
6. Knowing how to play piano allows you to know how to play keyboard.
The modern keyboard has all different sounds of instrument stored. By playing the keyboard, you can sound like a person playing saxophone or even an orchestra. That’s why the most common set up for a composer is a musical keyboard connected to their music- sequencing computer. It is so much easier for a composer to compose through a keyboard or a piano.
7. Piano study is a discipline
Any instrument study requires you to practice repeatedly and consistently. In fact I should say any learning requires you to practice consistently and repeatedly. Learning to play the piano is one of those disciplines. It is very important that a young child realizes that. Children learning to play piano allow them to see what it takes to work consistently, practice for perfection and courage to perform. There are many sayings in different countries that “ a child who learns to play piano will not turn bad.” Or “A child who plays classical music will not turn bad.” I think the background of these saying are, a child who learns to play piano learns the discipline to practice daily, learns the appreciation of music and therefore doesn’t find time, energy or attraction for negative things.
8. Piano is fun to play
It is very rewarding to know how to play piano. It helps explore all kinds of imagination and creativity with the sound of piano. It also creates satisfaction and boosts self- confidence.
9. Playing the piano is to learn to be in the service of others.
One of the most common types of accompanists is pianist. I have been church accompanist since I was 12. I learned to follow other people’s lead such as the song leader, the singer, and the other instruments. As accompanist, I learned to make singers, instrumentalists, and congregations look good and sound good. Through playing piano, I learned to humble myself and be in the service of others.