Thursday, February 21, 2013

Soft Mozart

Music is Nikki's big love. He still periodically asks me for a violin (the other day he wanted a trombone, too) but I have decided that he will not be starting any other instruments until he is 5 or 6. This is partly because there is no Suzuki teacher (or anyone else who would take on a three year old) locally and partly that the only instrument I feel even vaguely able to teach him is the piano - despite never learning it myself, there are loads of videos in the SM forum that let me figure out the correct fingers to use before I do a song with Nikki.

We are getting back into a rhythm with our Soft Mozart lessons again. It has taken a while to get back into it since all learning went out out of the window before Christmas, but he is now once more in love with his keyboard.

He has developed a general idea of which notes are where on the keyboard, and though he is still very dependent on the key guide, he looks at the right note almost every time. He often sings along, too. His favourite is definitely the Guess Key game, which familiarizes him with the note sounds and where to find the keys. He would play all afternoon if I let him.

We are now just starting Gentle Piano. This is the core program of the SM software, but Nikki hasn't really wanted to do it before. I think it is because there is less fun animation and a slower, specific pace that he isn't too keen on following. When playing a tune in Gentle Piano, you have to keep a hold of a note until the note moves up the screen (which, I guess, teaches note duration without adding the confusion of different note shapes for the absolute beginners) but Nikki is impatient and gets frustrated if he presses the right note but it doesn't move on because he didn't hold the note long enough. So we took a long break from the Gentle Piano and let him keep practising the notes and having fun, rather than turn piano practice into some form of torture.

So, back to the present, Nikki is now willing to at least try a song a few times on the Gentle Piano game. He plays the right hand of Hot Cross Buns with one finger very well and is trying very hard to figure out how to use the three fingers he is supposed to but they don't always listen to him.

He enjoys ordering his do-re-mi cards and singing along to the Note Alphabet song and I really should actually print off the Kingdom of Tune book to read with him (bad Mummy!).

Hopefully now that we're back in regular practice, we'll finally see some impressive progress with his Piano-playing abilities. I might even get it on video!


  1. I love that you do so many hands-on music activities! I featured your music posts at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  2. Love this activity! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Ali - great post. Can I ask you a really stupid question about the Soft Mozart programme? Does it make any sense to use it if you don't have a piano at home? And how do you physically use it at the moment? Do you put your laptop on top of the piano? How does it all work?

  4. We have a keyboard that gets connected up to the PC when we do SM. There is a video of how we do it here:

    If you don't have a keyboard/electric piano it won't work for you because you need to plug the keyboard into the computer for the software to work.

    Another music program we use is Little Musician, which is completely on the PC and doesn't need any other instruments. It is amazing - I blogged about it here: