Piano Problems

I have to decide what to do about piano lessons.  It’s important to me that my girls learn to read music.  I know it’s good for them.  I come from a musical family and I know that they both have some natural musical talent.  The problem is… piano lessons are a major stress for the whole family and I’m wondering if, especially with all we have going on with school this fall, we should take a break.

First of all, they’re on Saturday, which my husband doesn’t like because he wants to be able to take the girls and do fun things on the weekend.  But they have to be on Saturday because when he’s working, I can’t get home from work in time to take them on a school night.

Another reason is that it’s difficult enough for me, coming home from work and getting homework, dinner and baths done before bed, but then I have to also force them to practice piano.  Lily freaks out if she doesn’t feel like she’s ready for her lesson and gets worried that her teacher will be upset with her.  Zoolander just hates piano lessons in general.  She plays slowly and hesitates as she plays, which her teacher feels is a bad attitude, but I really don’t think so.

I feel like whatever issue Zoolander is having at school is also affecting her ability to learn to read music and play piano.  She has a very hard time learning the notes.  We do flash cards over and over, but when you point to a note on the staff, it’s like she’s never seen it before.  I’ve been googling Dysgraphia & Dyslexia to see if there’s any relation to difficulty reading music.  After seeing how hard it was for Zoolander to copy those words and how she got lost on the page, I can see how reading music would be very confusing for her.  The problem is, I don’t know how to help her, but I don’t want to give up on music.  She has a beautiful singing voice, just like her aunt.

Maybe a different method?  Suzuki?  I’m hoping the learning evaluation will help shed some light on my twice exceptional daughter #2, but in the meantime, I’ve got to discuss this with their piano teacher and decide what to do.

Posted on August 29, 2010, in Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Gifted, Music, Spelling, Twice Exceptional and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “but then I have to also force them to practice piano”
    makes me think about Piano Briefs 🙂

  2. I am curious to know if you received any help with this problem. I could have written the exact same question — and I need to know if any research has been done on this issue. I know that with dyslexia there are numerous specific remediations to help with reading. My son has both dyslexia and dysgraphia. He has received wonderful help with reading and math. Is there someone who has developed a method to help people with these learning differences read music?

    • We recently started her with a piano teacher who uses a modified Suzuki method and so far, it’s working well. She has a good ear and this method seems to rely less on note reading initially. That seems to make her feel more successful and confident. I would also love to find more research in this area.

  3. Our son has dysgraphia, and is actually doing very well at piano. We have a fabulous piano teacher — an improvisational jazz artist who improvises in teaching him. The key is to let him learn it on his own path, in whatever order he finds most comfortable. So he goes back and forth on the reading. Sometimes he’ll try reading and playing, other times just memorizing and working out melodies. Learning notes or messing with rhythm. Sometimes rhythm goes out the door, and that’s ok, he comes back to it. And the funny thing is, with this crazy meandering path, in just 6 lessons he has gone from barely pecking out with two hands, to some simple chords, some one handed playing or doing just one finger on one hand then doing the rest on the next hand, he knows where the notes are and doesn’t need the middle-c sticker, and his melodies are getting smoother. He can play either the right or left hand of one of his fave pieces (song of storms from Zelda), better than I can now (I was trying the other night, and he said, “here Mom, let me help, here’s how you do it” and he it did it with beauty and ease). Also, no need to practice every night. In fact, better to have a few nights off. You will learn better that way vs. practicing every day — my son is proof. Forcing practice can turn someone off to music. Also, joining him in practice really helps. I do one hand, he does another. I’m sure that soon, he’ll be kicking me off the bench because I’m not doing it right 🙂

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