For a long time my younger children had a bathtub xylophone that came with a
card of songs for them to play. They just had to match the colors on the song
card with the colors on the xylophone to hear the sweet sounds of music. There
have been many different methods over the years for teaching young children to
play the piano--and even more, to encourage children to want to play. Play
the Self-Teaching Piano Game for Kids ($19.95), from Piano-K, is a very simple book
with the big goal of inspiring kids to learn to play the piano. This colorful,
oversized book uses animal stickers to show young children which key to press
for each note. The stickers are placed on the piano, and then the child just
has to match the notes in the book with the animal on the piano. Nothing could
be simpler! The book includes 12 songs, all old favorites, such as "Mary Had
a Little Lamb," "Ring Around the Rosy," and "Jingle Bells."
My three young sons caught on right away and thought it was great fun to play the songs! The great part of Play
the Self-Teaching Piano Game for Kids is that the concept is simple enough to make piano playing accessible for even young children. They can sit down and immediately start making music without having to learn music theory or how to read music notation, and without hours of practice. Comments at the top of each page provide additional information about reading and playing music; mom and dad can help the child understand this information. The downsides are that there are only 12 songs and that the young maestro may learn bad habits, such as looking down at the keyboard instead of learning correct fingering. If you want a program to thoroughly teach your child to play the piano, this isn't it. But if you want to give young children a taste of what is possible and the confidence (and enthusiasm) to learn to play the piano, this might be just the ticket!