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A first lesson on piano

Within three minutes of a first lesson, our beginning students learn a song.  The song is really an exercise in disguise to get them using all ten fingers assigned to a five-finger position.  We also use fun words personalized to their tastes.

For some, this is Peanut Butter Sandwich, and some apple juice.

Other kids have chosen other 5 or 6 syllable phrases like:

  • “I like bacon ice cream, and some water too.”
  • “Strawberry ice cream, and some sprinkles please.”
  • “Pepperoni pizza and some lemonade.”
  • “Tuna Fish Sandwich and a glass of milk.”
  • “Creme Brulee Ice Cream, and some sprinkles too” – I kid you not!

You will notice that we don’t worry too much about the curvature of the fingers at first.  We are looking to work on the major muscle groups and playing with the whole arm is our first goal.

We also send home the student with our Musicolor Notation™ which enables them to take responsibility for practice right away – even if they can’t read words! The Musicolor Notation™ is so simple and intuitive, it is music everyone can read. This helps for non-musical parents as well and gives a fabulous sense of accomplishment for our young students. Even if we start a student older, we can adapt this song to be just numbers like “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.”

By working on technical exercises disguised as songs, we move quickly past the hurdles of facility and get into playing songs that sound like real music.

Our success is based on directly labeling the keys, fingers, and notation with color, and then, using a gradated curriculum to move the student quickly from ground zero to playing complex songs.

There are 6 phases in the Musicolor Notation™ that lead the student from very simple to more complex to eventually reading music on a staff.  You can learn more here. 

By Andrew Ingkavet

Andrew Ingkavet is an educator, author and entrepreneur.
His belief that learning a musical instrument builds skills vital to success in life has led to a thriving music school in Brooklyn, NY. Andrew helps children, parents and educators with the Musicolor Method, an innovative music curriculum suitable for all children even those who are preliterate or have special needs. His previous bookThe Game of Practice: with 53 Tips to Make Practice Fun is rated 5 stars at Amazon. Andrew is also known as one of the first VJ's at MTV Asia and co-founder of the first digital marketing agency in Asia. He holds a Bachelors of Music from NYU where he was a Scholar in Education.

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