Ellie, piano and memory
Ellie has won the achievement award in her class(only one in her 30 pupil class) for this year. Talking to some other parents today in a birthday party, they told me that Ellie's level is way ahead of everyone else. She's in kindergarten, and she's doing timetables, and she reads my blog! You might think I've hired tutors and put her in extra classes. But the answer is no. In fact I'm the least involved parent in her class. I've never done any volunteer work at school, never gone into her classroom to be the teacher's aid, hardly ever even walk her to her classroom(except the first week), I just did "kiss and drop" all the time. I hardly ever read her any stories. I don't even help her with homework. Last term she did all her homework in the last day of the term and this term she hasn't done anything yet. You might think that she's born clever. But it's a No again. She could hardly say anything but only a few simple words like dada, mama, where's it gone when she was 3. She was slow in almost everything at the time I was actually quite worried. But when she's four I started her piano lesson. This has become her turning point. Soon after that, her mental ability seemed to suddenly take off dramaticaly. Her memory was amazing. She recites the whole psalms without any stumbling. If we read her a story book, only a couple times she'll memorise the whole story word for word.
Well this has proved my belief. I always believed (I think I've also read some research about it somewhere before)that if a child learns to play piano before five, she(he) can establish some very important qualities in the brain. After 5 or older(depends, each child might be different) the child will lose the chance to develop that ability. I say this also from my own experience. Both my brother and my sister learned piano, but they started late. That doesn't mean they can't be good piano players. They're both professional pianists and my brother's very successful(he's director of major TV musical events productions). I stopped early with piano. I started between two and a half and three years old. I had a very good ear. If somebody sat on the piano keys, I could tell all the keys without looking. When I was in high school, I memorised all the articles in my English text books. That was 12 books. I could recite fluently every article in all the 12 books. I could also recite articles like president Lincoln's Gettysburg speech without even understanding it. I think it's musical memory which can only be developed within 5 year old. I'm not sure if learning piano at a very young age will actually be good for piano career, as I know I resented it when I was young. But the "side effect" has certainly benefited me. I'm glad to see that Ellie has developed this ability as well. My brother started when he was 12, though successful, he had a very hard time learning at school. He struggled very hard with his memory ability.
Talking to another parent this morning, she said she was trying to get her child to learn piano(6 year old) and the teacher said she was too young, should wait until she's 8. I actually felt quite angry when I heard that. I said, Well, Ellie played piano at the Sydney Opera house when she's 5. I think 6 is already too old to start!
I'm writing all these, is just to hope that if you have children that's under 5, don't lose the opportunity to give your children an education that she(or he) will benefit later in a lot of ways. Ellie's not only good at school work, she's doing extremely well in dancing and drawing, too. Even if you don't want your child to have piano as a career, but just to let them start within 5 it will save you a lot of energy later trying to get them to be good with schoolwork.
Well, that's just a little tip from me.