Today I want to share with you my free mini course that walks teachers and parents through all of the steps needed to prepare preschoolers to play Hot Cross Buns on the piano.
A lot of piano teachers and a parents have ambitions to teach preschoolers how to play the piano. Every once in a while, this works out really well, but a lot of the time, it ends in frustration – both from the child and the adult.
I used to think that preschoolers were miniature piano students and I would try to sit at the piano with them and teach them in a similar way that I taught my older piano students.
It almost never worked!
Young kids are wiggly, chaotic in their movements and really struggle to follow detailed instructions at the piano.
Over the years as I refined my piano teaching and became a parent, I discovered better and more effective ways to prepare young children to play the piano. This mostly happens away from the piano and works best in a movement-based preschool music class.
As I started adopting a concept-based approach to my piano teaching, I discovered that the same approach works beautifully with younger children.
The first song that I always teach to my new, beginning piano students is Hot Cross Buns. I teach it by rote conceptually as it’s laid out in the Keyboard Explorer book by Guy Duckworth.
When I started teaching preschool music classes, it occurred to me that preschoolers can absolutely begin to master the same concepts that beginning piano students learn. It may look different and take longer, but there is no reason not to introduce piano concepts at an early age.
As I was preparing to teach my tiniest students play Hot Cross Buns on the piano, I knew I needed to break song down into as many concepts as possible.
I came up with 7 steps that I follow with my preschool music students. I work with them on each step for 2 weeks at a time. Every 2 weeks, we add the next step concept while continuing to reinforce the previous steps. After 14 weeks, which is the length of 1 full session of my preschool music class, many kids are ready to play Hot Cross Buns on the piano.
Here’s a video of my daughter playing Hot Cross Buns at around the age of 2.5. At this point, I was deliberate to not sit down at the piano with her to try to teach her. I really didn’t want to overwhelm her with something that I was interested in and I didn’t want music to feel forced.
She did regularly participate in all of my preschool music classes which took place mostly away from the piano. Shortly before this video was taken, I had noticed she would sing Hot Cross Buns while tapping toys and objects on a surface. When we took this video, I showed her where to start, then she took off on her own.
Young kids who are still working towards coordination and fine motor skills may not be ready to play on the piano yet, but many kids ages 2.5 and up will intuitively go to the piano and successfully play the song on the first try after having followed all of the steps.
It’s pretty magical to watch this whole process unfold and I’ve seen it happen over and over with my own students.
I’ve laid out all 7 steps in a mini-course for teachers and parents. You can access it here for free. Enjoy!