1. What age should children start piano lessons?
Students of all ages have used the Piano Course for Christians.
The Preparatory Level of the course is directly primarily to the 6-9 year age group. Sometimes younger child of 4-5 years show an aptitude and interest in learning to play the piano and I feel this should be encouraged. At times, piano lessons are not feasible until age 10-13.
When a child shows interest is the best sign to begin piano lessons.
2. If I have had some music instruction as a child, would I be able to tutor by own child using the Piano Course for Christians?
Yes. The explanations of music fundamentals in the Piano Course for Christians are so complete that you will be able to tutor your child. The CDs are a great help because they give more explanations and demonstrate all the songs and exercises. Lesson guides are included that lay out how to tutor the whole course and notes to parents on how to present new material, how to encourage practice and how to assess progress.
3. If I have no musical background, can I still tutor by child using the Piano Course for Christians?
Yes. Even if you have no musical background you can tutor your child if you are willing to study the Piano Course for Christians and stay one page ahead. Many parents have done this and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The course materials provide complete explanations of the music fundamentals and with the CDs you hear exactly how everything should be played and how the rhythm is counted. Lesson guides are included in with the course materials that explain how to tutor and lead your child through the course.
4. If my child took piano lessons for one year, where would I start in the Piano Course for Christians?
The music fundamentals are covered in the Piano Course for Christians at the same time as in most of the other piano course books. So if your child has finished the very first level (Preparatory or Primer level) in any other piano course, then they would be ready for Level 1 in the Piano Course for Christians. If your child has finished level 1 of another piano course then they would be ready for Level 2 in the Piano Course for Christians.
5. Is the Piano Course for Christians suitable for teenagers?
Certainly. But they should realize that it was written originally for younger children. However, the music fundamentals and the method of learning the piano is the same for teenagers, except that they will progress at a much faster rate.
6. Can adults use the Piano Course for Christians to learn to play the piano?
Yes. Many adults have used the Piano Course for Christians to learn the piano. Some have gone through the course for the purpose of teaching their child. Others have simple wanted to learn on their own. The text and content are directed at children but the music fundamentals presented are the same. An adult will usually progress much faster than a child.
7. Can an electronic keyboard be used with the Piano Course for Christians?
Yes. The Piano Course for Christians is easily adapted for use on an electronic keyboard. You can use an electronic keyboard throughout the first 2-3 levels with no difficulty if you have a keyboard with at least 62 keys. Music fundamentals are the same for a piano, an organ, or an electronic keyboard. Most of the course work is done in the center part of the keyboards. In later levels of the course, more notes are learned in the upper and lower areas of the keyboard so the electronic keyboards must have more keys. Also the sustain pedal that holds and sustains the notes is also learned. The sustain pedal is an optional accessory for electronic keyboards.
8. Is the music in the Piano Course for Christians and the supplementary courses Christian?
All of the music in the Piano Course for Christians has a Christian nature. By that I mean most songs and music pieces are well-known hymns, gospel songs or other religious works. When music is not an actual hymn, the music still is of a nature to enhance Christian values. The subject might be love of nature, love of our fellow man, trying to do right, and so forth.
The music of the supplementary courses has been chosen in the same way. There are many books of Sunday School songs, well-known hymns and gospel songs, Christmas carols, as well as themes from famous religious works like oratorios, cantatas, and the like. Some supplementary courses have been chosen because they are useful to the development of good piano techniques such as the finger exercise courses. Other courses are songs of America, fine classical music, folk songs or other worthwhile children's songs. The entire curriculum has been selected with a careful regard to its musical content, and to its complete compatibility with Christian and family values.
9. Is there any anti-Christ music in the curriculum?
No. The supplementary courses that are not specifically religious are all compatible to Christian ideals and values. The songs may express the beauty of nature, love of our fellow man, Christian fellowship, good fun, joy in living, tolerance toward others, and love of God. As the student advances through the higher levels, church service music is frequently introduced and used in the lessons. Service music is a piece that would be suitable for part of a church service, such as a prelude, offertory, postlude, or quiet meditation.
10. Does the student receive help in learning to play in a church?
Yes. Starting with the beginning levels, the student is taught music that is appropriate for playing in church. At the upper levels of the Piano Course for Christians, the student is given specific service-type music and other assistance in what would be expected of a good church pianist. It is the long-range mission of the Piano Course for Christians to train not only good pianists but also musicians who are trained to play in church.
11. Why are supplementary courses needed?
Supplementary courses are very useful to help the student truly master all the music fundamentals, finger techniques, expression, and range of piano literature presented at each level of the Piano Course for Christians. The student needs repeated opportunities to practice the notation reading skills, counting of rhythm, finger coordination and other techniques they has learned before progressing to the next level.
12. What does "coordinated to go with" a certain level mean?
This means that the notes, hand positions, fingering, key signatures, rhythm, and other music basics will contain only those that are being taught in the main course book itself. When a student is at a certain level, they should be able to learn to play most of the material from the supplemental courses at that level.
13. If I learn to play by ear, can I still learn to read notes?
Yes. You can learn to read notes if you wanted to do so. Playing by ear does not limit your note reading ability. Learning to read notes does take time and patience but it is such a worthwhile study.
14. If I already play the piano by reading notes, can I still learn to play by ear?
Yes. You can learn to play by ear at any time you wish. We offer beginning courses on playing by ear such as Play Gospel Songs by Ear Course 1 (MWS-103) which uses religious songs. Or there is How to Play by Ear (MWS-105) which uses primarily secular songs. We also offer a video, How to Play By Ear Video (MWVD-304) for students who want to see how the techniques are done. For those students who have an electronic keyboard, there is Play by Ear On Your Electronic Keyboard (MW-183). All can be purchased through our secure website.
15. Should my child be taught to play by ear?
As a rule, no, not when they are beginning. You want your child to get a solid foundation in note reading first. If you start them playing by ear before the student has made a good start in learning to read notes, they may very well get the idea that picking things out by ear is much easier that learn to read music, so why bother to read music. It would be like giving a child a calculator instead of learning math basics. Yes, a calculator is useful, but only after math basics are mastered. So be sure the student has a good foundation in reading music before introducing short cut ways to play the piano. In Level 5, learning to play by ear is be introduced.