For Parents

Finding Music Your Child Will Love to Learn

By Rebecca Carlson

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which allow us to earn a commission when you use them to make a purchase. This helps us continue to create fun music learning experiences for everyone to enjoy.

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. Learning to pick new pieces of music also broadens our musical horizons. In this article you’ll find tips to help you and your child actively listen to music and pick songs at the right level, as well as suggestions for where to buy sheet music. Here’s how to get your child started on choosing their own music. By listening to varied genres of music in order to choose a song to learn, you may even find a new favorite artist or genre!

Find out what music your child likes

Listen to lots of different styles and genres with your child. 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. Ultimately, be sure to provide your child with multiple songs to choose from. Knowing that they picked their own song gives young pianists a sense of ownership. 

The act of listening to music – and even singing along – can improve your child’s musicianship and attention in social situations. To help guide your child to new music, we recommend encouraging active listening. Asking your child questions like, “how does this song make you feel?” and “what is the melody?” improves their attention and builds relationships and emotional intelligence. Check out our article on active listening for musicians to learn more tips to develop this skill.

Young musicians today experience music completely differently from their parents’ generation – no more CD playlists or mixtapes. Streaming services like Spotify offer unparalleled access to a world’s worth of music across all ages. Students in the digital age might first encounter a popular song on a social networking platform rather than hearing music on the radio. Taking the time to listen with your child can strengthen your bond – and you may both learn new music.

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 learning in their current piano lessons? Is it hard for your child to chant the rhythms out loud? If so, look for a simpler arrangement.

At Hoffman Academy, we’ve crafted a leveling system to help you select songs and supplementary piano materials at the correct level for your child. Whether your child wants to learn their favorite pop song in one of our arrangements, or you’d like to supplement their learning with music theory worksheets, the music in our stores and lessons is organized into units and levels. Units 1-4 are Early Elementary, Units 5-8 are Elementary, Units 9-11 are Late Elementary, Units 12-14 are Early Intermediate, and Units 14-6 are Intermediate. For a more in-depth explanation and a comparison to other piano methods leveling systems, you can turn to our article Piano Levels Explained: Info and Comparisons

Sheet music for children’s songs in the Hoffman Academy store

One of the best places to start searching for new songs, music theory worksheets, and supplemental materials for your young pianist is our Hoffman Academy Store. You can search by key signature, genre, and level. Our selection of classical arrangements for young pianists offers over 500 pieces of sheet music to explore! Our online store also offers learning and teaching resources, including flashcards, music theory packets arranged by level, and more.

What is the first song to teach a child on the piano?

We recommend starting with a simple and familiar song. The first song our Hoffman Academy students learn is the old and well known folk song Hot Cross Buns. A student in love with pop music might instead start with our video tutorial of Baby Shark. Each of these songs is ideal for a first piano song because the melody and rhythms create simple and memorable patterns.

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. – Lots of free piano music for all levels and all genres, even more materials are available for subscribers, all music is for instant download. – 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. – For the more advanced piano student, free arrangements of video game music, level ranges from late beginner through intermediate.

Hoffman Academy Store – Take a visit to our online store for lesson materials and Für Elise sheet music. We also invite you to check out Mr. Hoffman’s Popular Hits for Piano on Amazon.

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.

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