Numerous studies, including one released last month by University of Louisville researchers, indicate that learning to play the piano as a preschooler sets a child up for later academic success. And now "Piano For Preschoolers" has introduced a new way for parents to teach their children the piano - complete with a Casio(R) keyboard.
Developed by Angie Crellin, a mother of two who has studied the piano for over 30 years, "Piano For Preschoolers" uses color-coded notes printed on a traditional musical staff to teach songs preschoolers already love, like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." A corresponding color strip sits behind the piano's keys and guides the child to the correct key for each note.
Crellin came up with the "Piano For Preschoolers" concept when her son, a preschooler at the time, expressed interest in playing the piano. Crellin's daughter had done the same several years before, but she had quickly lost interest once Crellin introduced popular beginning piano books to the lessons. Not wanting the same thing to happen with her son, Crellin decided to create a program that was fun for children and easy for parents to teach. Hundreds of hours of research later, she had "Piano For Preschoolers."
"The results were amazing," said Crellin. "My son loved playing real songs he recognized and couldn't wait to learn more. But the truly remarkable thing was that my preschool son started helping my second-grade daughter with her math homework."
Crellin's results correspond to those obtained by Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California. The researchers, who have long studied the connection between math and music, compared the effects of musical and nonmusical training on preschoolers' intellectual development. They found that preschoolers who received piano or keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than did other preschoolers. Those who received piano or keyboard training could think in pictures and see the pictures moving or changing shape over time - a crucial skill for later success in mathematics, science and engineering.
But the pint-sized students of "Piano For Preschoolers" don't care about all that. Most are just having fun playing for rapt audiences of parents and grandparents.
"The 'Piano For Preschoolers' program really seems to be boosting children's self-confidence," said Crellin. "Customers report their preschoolers are practicing the piano with no prompting from the parents. And that's really the key. No four-year-old will stay motivated to learn if she isn't having fun."
The entire "Piano For Preschoolers" system is $129.95 plus shipping. It includes: a music book of 17 familiar songs written in color-coded notes; the durable color strip to set behind the piano keys; a parent/teacher guide with step-by-step instructions for each lesson; and a free Casio(R) SA-75 electronic keyboard.
For more information: www.pianoforpreschoolers.com