Lauren has been involved in piano since she was about 18 months old. We started taking her to a group piano class then called Early Childhood Music. It was a group of 7-8 kids led by a teacher for 30 minutes once a week and they begin to learn rhythm and notes. Yes notes at that age! They would start each class with two sticks and “tap” out their name in a singing fashion. They would sing songs and clap and march and then spend the last 5-10 minutes at the piano and play the note she asked them to play. They gave the piano keys names like “Momma Do” and “Poppa Do” instead of calling it Middle C. Also, they had a white board where we could draw the notes for them and they would tell us how many “beats” it had. Lauren was able to identify most notes, the rest symbol and everything. It was a nice informative way to learn the notes but fun for the kids. She participated in this program until she was 3 and progressed until we moved to Birmingham.
When we moved to Birmingham, I could not find any similar program or anyone that would take her at the age of 3 and work with her. Everywhere I called, there were private lessons that typically started around seven. I finally found Hunter Street Music Arts Academy and found a teacher that was willing to meet with me. Lauren was 5 at the time and we went and talked to her and she was impressed with Lauren’s maturity and the fact she could read already and said she would try it. Lauren has been taking private lessons from her since August 2008 and she has grown tremendously in her piano level and her confidence. I remember after her first recital, she begged me to not make her go back to piano if she ever had to do another recital! Now, as we fast forward to 2011, she did her 4th recital this summer and she was cool and calm and not in the least bit nervous.
Her biggest accomplishment to date is her first participation in a piano competition this spring. She was part of the Samford Music competition and was graded by a panel of judges on her musical ability, etc. She won first place in the competition and received her first trophy!! We were very proud of her. It was also a great lesson to Lauren that practice makes perfect in all that you do.
She still occasionally moans about practicing, but overall she enjoys playing the piano and has grown her skills quite well. We insist that she continues for now because it is an added skill she can have for a lifetime, it can be used to help others, it has educational benefits, and I think it has helped her with her confidence.
I hope one day she can look back and be proud that we insisted and that she continues to enjoy making music.