Ultimate Guide to Beginner Piano Lessons for Kids

Looking for beginner piano lessons for kids? We have lessons suitable for all ages, from four and up. 

It can be challenging to figure out where to start piano lessons for kids. 

You can get them a teacher or use an online learning platform like our Simply Piano app! 

But before that, here are some basic first lessons to prepare your child for their piano journey. 

Numbering the fingers.

Numbering the fingers first will make every subsequent lesson much more straightforward. Before your child even looks at the keys, take your child’s hand and trace it on a piece of paper. 

Then, get them to number the fingers from one to five. 

piano lessons for kids

Test their understanding by pointing to fingers on your hand and asking them to tell you which number it is. 

The music alphabet.

A piano will likely be exhilarating for your child the first time they see one – maybe even overwhelming. So let’s introduce some order by labeling the keys with the letters. 

The Simply Piano app shows you which key is middle C. This will be a reference point for the rest of the keys. 

Then you can label the white keys going up from middle C – D, E, F, G, A, B, and then start again from C. For now, just label one octave (C to C). 

octave piano lessons for kids

Acclimatize your child to reading the letters in this order instead of beginning from A (like in the alphabet). This will help them understand the mindset of music theory. 

Then you can call out letter names and ask your kid to play them. 

If they pick that up quickly, you can call out short patterns of letters and get them to play back to you. For example, C, C, G, G, A, A, C  is the opening line of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle.’

Introducing rhythm.

Kids’ experience of time is quite different from ours. The idea that we can clap in time won’t necessarily come intuitively to your child unless you’ve got a little musical genius. 

But for most, trying to clap in time with your child will be challenging, engaging, and fun – for you as well!  

To start, get your child to clap with you. Keep the time in your head and see if they can anticipate the next clap according to your set tempo. You can also count from one to four as you clap to indicate the division of the claps into groups. 

If that’s easy, try clapping in double time! See whether this throws them off or only momentarily surprises them before they get back on track. 

Introducing chords.

It may be challenging to explain what a chord is to your child. But that doesn’t mean they can’t play them! 

Chords are exciting and fulfilling to play, mainly if your kid already listens to music and knows some songs. 

Simply Piano teach your kids to play three notes simultaneously – that’s all a chord is. Not just any three notes, though. You can start with these combinations:

C major: C, E, G

G major: G, B, D

D minor: D, F, A

Press the first note of the chord with the thumb, the second note with the third finger, and the third note with the fifth finger. Make sure to slightly raise the hand without straining the wrist. This in itself takes time and patience.

Don’t worry about your kids knowing the names of the chords or understanding what they are. The theoretical knowledge can come once they are more familiar with the sound and feel of the chords. 

If your child masters these three chords, they already have enough chords to play many songs! Check out this article on some of the most accessible piano music to get ideas.  

Introducing ear training.

Once your child settles into the sensory experience of playing the keys, we can teach them how to make sense of what they hear. The idea is to familiarize their brains with the twelve frequencies of pitch that make up western music. 

A great way to familiarize them with pitch is to get them to sing. When they start to place the piano notes in their voices, their musical instincts will grow and develop rapidly. 

singing piano lessons for kids

You can start by doing a simple pitch check. Get your child to play any note on the piano, and sing it back to you. If they’re not quite getting it, let them practice this for a while. You can help by correcting them, but always check whether they know for themselves if they’re singing in tune. Eventually, they will develop their intuition. 

If they are cruising through that task, spice it up a little. Get them to play one note and sing another. 

For example, ask them to play and hold middle C. Then, get them to play E for a second. Finally, see if they can sing E while C is still resonating. 

You can also try this with E and G, D and F, and F and A. 

Want to challenge them even more? Ask your kid to play the C major chord and sing the notes separately! 

If they can discern and articulate all three of the notes in the chord, it’s safe to say your kid has some excellent ears. 

Track your progress.

There are several different indicators of your child’s progress. The first and most crucial – are they having fun? Smiling? Curious? Proud of themselves? 

If you see a happy and engaged child at the piano – something is working!

Is your kid keen to practice? 

Some children will find the piano mentally and emotionally draining. This doesn’t mean it’s not for them. On the contrary, it could be beneficial for their development. They may just need encouragement to persist. Find the gentle reinforcement tone to help your child feel ambitious and inspired. Try not to be forceful or nagging – this will turn the piano into an undesirable and unfulfilling activity.  

Sometimes, there is also the more fragile situation of noticing that music is not coming naturally to your child. What do you care if you see that the exercise nourishes and stimulates them? Let them sing in the wrong key! But if their lack of natural ability also comes with frustration and disappointment – maybe try a different artistic hobby, and come back to music when they’re older. 

The secret to piano lessons for kids.

Listen to your children – to what they enjoy and want a break from. Observe their experience when they play, check in, and ask how they feel. If you want your child to have a chance at a future with music, help them form positive memories of their piano lessons.

Stay attentive, engage in their learning, and give them the freedom and independence to explore and express themselves. 

If you want more ideas for piano lessons for kids, check out Simply Piano and a list of fun piano games you can share.