We are Yamaha Music Canada brand ambassadors and as part of the program our preschooler will be attending weekly piano classes at a local Yamaha Music Canada School for 10 months. We have attended our first month of classes and here’s our first update.
On our first day we shuffled into the Yamaha Music School classroom along with about 10 other kids and their parents. Each of us were invited to choose a keyboard to sit at together and then were handed a packaged small bag that contained some key Yamaha instructional materials including a DVD, musical CD, magnetic staff/keyboard kit and some workbooks.
Our teacher wasted no time to dive into one of the workbooks and have the entire classroom try to sing along to a song. I was expecting something simple to start like Mary Had a Little Lamb or Twinkle Twinkle but this was a bit more elaborate in terms of lyrics and melody; to be honest it had me a little worried at first that this might be overly complex for my young son but it soon became apparent that this was intentionally challenging and it would be a song we would continue to revisit throughout the term.
Our instructor gave us an overview of the Yamaha approach to learning music which essentially involved the process of listening, singing and then playing along. She also introduced the concept of Sol-fa which is a represention of the notes of a major scale using a unique but universally familiar mnemonics i.e. “do re me fa sol la ti do”
The class was heavily focused on participation and working together as a group (parents included). The kids were singing, clapping and playing along very basic parts on their keyboards.
Each week we have been encouraged to practice on our own any of the techniques and exercises we learn in class and to make use of the CD and DVD we got in our instructional kit.
Despite my initial fears that the classes would move too quickly through difficult material I have now seen that we are making a quite slow and steady progression so as to make sure the kids really grasp the core concepts like finding notes on the keyboard, following along to songs and beginning to understand the concept of a musical scale. Each week a new note in the Sol-fa sequence is incorporated into our activities.
So far my son is making some good progress. I think he was quite shy and a bit overwhelmed at first but now that we have been practicing a few times a week he is gaining more confidence and understanding more concepts. It is definitely a challenge for him to coordinate the pressing down of the large piano keys with his little hands but I am sure he will get better at this with time. He is certainly enjoying the class so far and it has been a good bonding experience for us to dedicate some time during the week to practice together.
Disclosure – I am participating in the Yamaha Music Canada Brand Ambassador program on behalf with Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.