Investing in our Children
In his book Raising Musical Kids, author Patrick Kavanaugh (who also wrote The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers), talks about how important it is for parents to provide opportunities for their children to learn to sing and play music. He believes “every child needs some hands-on music experience.”
Some highlights of his book relate to learning to play the piano. Benefits that Mr. Kavanaugh mentions are:
- There is an immediate reward because a good piano will sound good even with someone who doesn’t know how to play, whereas other instruments (for example, a violin or trumpet) make unpleasant sounds until one really knows how to play them.
- A piano keyboard provides a visual experience for learning music and understanding concepts like pitch, chords, melody/harmony, etc.
- The piano is polyphonic, producing more than one tone at a time, so a pianist can play a wealth of notes and sounds all at once.
- Piano teachers are usually very available and easy to find, as opposed to teachers for some other instruments.
- There is a treasure trove of music written for the piano, “from Bach to Bernstein.”
- Pianos are easy to maintain with regular tunings (and dusting), and they also make attractive additions to your home décor.
- The technique of playing the piano can be transferred or adapted to other keyboard instruments.
Mr. Kaufman also feels that “ALL singers need to learn the piano. No exceptions.” As he points out, knowing piano helps singers to learn music and visualize pitches.
He also makes the recommendation that “every family own a piano.” It used to be the case that almost every home did have a piano in it. We seem to have gotten away from that, especially as people are more transitory, as music and the arts have been cut from schools, as our culture looks for cheap, disposal, latest-craze items, rather than valuing things that last. We encourage you to help reverse that trend. Raise your kids to learn and love music and the arts!