An important part of becoming an independent musician is learning to choose music to learn on your own. Choosing something you will enjoy learning and enjoy performing will keep your enthusiasm up and your skills growing long after formal lessons are over. Here’s how to get your child started on choosing their own music.
Find out what music your child likes
Listen to lots of different styles and genres. Talk about the music together. Ask your child what their favorite songs or music are. Notice what they choose to listen to when given the opportunity. This will give you some hints of how to guide your child to find music they would like to learn on their own.
Know your child’s piano skill level
Choosing sheet music that is too difficult for your child to learn will only lead to frustration and discouragement. For early beginners, look for “Five Finger” arrangements. After a year or two, students can move on to “Big Note” arrangements. After that comes “Easy Piano” arrangements, which can vary widely in difficulty level, from late beginner to intermediate. No matter what level of arrangement you are looking at, be sure to check out a sample page. Does it look more complicated than the sheet music your child is using for their current piano lessons? Is it hard for your child to chant the rhythms out loud? If so, look for a simpler arrangement.
Where to find sheet music
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a piece of music for your child, how do you find it? There are lots of resources on the internet where you can find sheet music for beginning pianists. Here are a few suggestions:
Music for Music Teachers – free folk and classical music arranged for the early beginner and up, for instant download.
8notes.com – Lots of free piano music for all levels and all genres, even more materials are available for subscribers, all music is for instant download.
SheetMusicPlus.com – Thousands of titles of beginning piano sheet music for purchase, a typical price for a single piece will be $5 and many collections for $15-$20. Some are available for instant download, some will be shipped to you.
NinSheetMusic.org – For the more advanced piano student, free arrangements of video game music, level ranges from late beginner through intermediate.
Another fun thing you can do with your child is to go to a music store and browse. Most music stores will have a display rack with piano sheet music. Remember to look for arrangements that are appropriate for your child’s playing level. Have fun helping your child choose their own music! You may be surprised at how hard your child will work to learn a song they chose for themselves.