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When people ask me about lessons for young children

About twice a month I receive an inquiry from somebody asking for advice on starting piano training for their young child or grandchild. If the child is age 5 or 6, I usually encourage them to consider enrolling in “Piano for Little Bulldogs.”

Piano for Little Bulldogs is a ten-week group class at Butler University that follows a curriculum designed to introduce youngsters to the piano. Parents/caregivers are required to attend, and Butler University graduate students assist each class. Classes take place in a newly upgraded state-of-the-art piano lab on the Butler campus.

I recommend this class so highly because it introduces children to the piano in a social context, integrating general musical skills with exploration of the piano while at the instrument.

The curriculum is based on Music for Little Mozarts, a series of books created for this demographic by Christine Barden, Gayle Kowalchyk and E.L. Lancaster, featuring Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse. (And yes, it is possible to purchase stuffed versions of these characters!)

If the student doesn’t fall into the 5-6 year old demographic, another good option for beginning piano students is to enroll in private lessons through the Butler Community Arts School. It is reasonably priced and consists of weekly private lessons taught by a Butler University Teaching Fellow or professional teacher. Each semester culminates in the opportunity to perform in Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall at Butler University.

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