Teaching Twins

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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Teaching Twins

Post by moragbl » 09 Jul 2012, 21:14


First post, hope it's ok to start with a question. I've been teaching my 6 year old twins piano for a year, and they are most of the way through "More Tunes For 10 Fingers", having completed the previous two books. I was going to move them on to Piano Time 1, but I think I need a different book for one of them so they don't feel pressured to keep up with each other. I'm looking for tutor book recommendations please.


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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Teaching Twins

Post by Colin Nicholson » 11 Jul 2012, 08:38

Hi there

Am I right in assuming that your children are learning from the same book?

If so.... then at this crucial stage of their learning, they really need their own separate tutor book (even though its more expensive, I know!) Also during the early stages, try to stick to the same 'series' of books, same writers, same publishers until about Grade 1 standard.

I like to use the ''Me and My Piano'' books 1 & 2 for the younger beginner (written by Harewood & Waterman) - published by Faber. The two books 'run into' each other, and are excellent for progress, colour pictures, monkey puzzles etc. Very 'friendly' book aswell. Then after these 2 books, move onto "Piano Lessons Book 1" (same writers & publisher).

Even though you have twins, they will progress at different rates. Its a bit like your children sharing the same "English" exercise book, one uses one page, the other uses a different page (or starting at the back) .... never done, and nor should learning the piano.

One of the main reasons my pupils have separate books is simply for them to own their own book - its special, its theirs! Also previously written pencil markings, rubbed out answers for the next pupil can be very distracting.

Book 1 Me & My Piano may be too easy, it depends on their progress.
Can they read music yet?
Can they count evenly to 2,3 and 4?
Do they understand the proper names of notes and their value?
Eg. Crotchet - 1 beat. Minim - 2 beats

These 3 books cover everything, and seamlessly join all the learning processes together from one book to the next. The MAMP books start with a spectrum style of learning to read music, the Piano Lessons Bk 1 then steers away from the 'one note at a time' aspect, and they learn various rhymes.

I wouldnt worry if one of your children progresses quicker, this is natural, and they should never feel "pressurised" in playing 'catch-up' because one is ahead of the other- its not a competition at this stage. If they have their own books, it makes a huge difference.

Also think about this aspect.... which crossword would you prefer to fill in?
1. Brand new - todays newspaper/ magazine
2. Yesterday's paper/ answers rubbed out (but still can be seen)

Hope that helps...... (thats just my opinion)!
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Re: Teaching Twins

Post by moragbl » 11 Jul 2012, 20:58

Thanks Colin,

I see what you mean about the tutor books. I hadn't thought of it that way. I don't write on the books, and we do the theory bits orally as they both have their own theory books for writing in. With the tutor books they tend to be on the same page at the same time so it just sits open on the piano. I tend to encourage whoever is falling behind to practise until he or she has caught up. This works fine for my son, but my daughter has been reluctant to play because (I worry) she's comparing herself with her brother and losing confidence.

They can both read music and are fairly good with timings and theory for their age. They've completed the Lina Ng "Theory Made Easy for Little Children" level 1 and 2, and are about half way through "My first Theory book" by the same author. So crotchets, minums, semibreves, quavers and the associated rests (except quaver rests) are pretty secure. Notes they are pretty good on too. They've learned a few pieces that are hands together (at the same time), and that's really what they need more of. Simple hands together pieces so they can practise one hand, then the other, then put it together and build confidence.

It sounds as though 'Piano Lessons Book 1' might be about the right level?

The new book will be for my daughter to follow, so something bright and cheerful that focus' on making it fun would be great. The Pauline Hall books would be pretty much perfect if they weren't learning it at the same time.

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Re: Teaching Twins

Post by dorsetpiano » 25 Jul 2012, 23:34

As someone with identical twin boys now grown up I think there is another issue here in that they should never be asked to share things. I guess you are aware of the general twins issues which are totally different to having two children of similar ages. It is so easy for one twin to appear better than the other and this can lead to resentment and one losing interest. My boys were actually quite competitive but never showed it and wanted to be different so one did piano and one guitar and didn't like being referred to as "the twins". They are very close and although one is now working in another country they keep in daily contact but one recent comment is that one of the great things about being grown up and living apart is that no one knows you are a twin! As you are probably aware it's a strange relationship.

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