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#56264 - 10/19/11 09:55 PM Speech Delay Student
ransomed Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 223
Loc: New York, USA
I recently was approached by a mother who asked me to teach her fourth grade son to play the piano. She said that he has language delay and that he is about 6 months behind his peers in his reading level. I was wondering if anyone could give me some practical tips for working with him.

I met him on Monday. He seems curious, but he was slow to understand playing the same key over and over again (while I played something else with him). He didn't say much. Maybe he was just nervous. Maybe I expected too much from a complete beginner.

I am guessing that reading music will be a challenge, and that new vocabulary will require more effort to stick.

His mom is a speech delay teacher, so I'm sure she can help me. I wanted to ask other piano teachers to share their experiences and advice.

Also, I'm wondering if I should start with MFPA with him instead of primer. It seems to have less words and moves more slowly, and reading on the staff is delayed until a musical context is developed. Thoughts?

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#56267 - 10/20/11 11:17 AM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: ransomed]
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
Do you have any books you could lend him? That way you could do a few lessons before deciding what books to put him in. I think it's quite possible MFPA might be a good fit for him in terms of pacing, but I think most 4th graders would be likely to find it too babyish. Maybe using regular Primer - all 4 books - with extra supplementation and lots of games would be better.

It's a different situation, but for what it's worth right now I'm teaching one student who doesn't read in English (speaks it but only reads in French and Portuguese). We're using Primer and I read the text to her, and her parents read her assignments and text when she's practicing. It hasn't been a problem.

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#56268 - 10/20/11 11:28 AM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: pianojazzgirl]
Emily M Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 93
Loc: NC
Another option you could use by itself or as a supplement would be Pianimals. I don't think it looks babyish at all, and it would definitely help you go slow.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
High Point, NC
http://emilymerriampiano.weebly.com

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#56271 - 10/20/11 03:39 PM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: Emily M]
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
There's also 'The Perfect Start for Note Reading' by Kevin and Julia Olson that you could supplement with.

And, of course, the new Primer Sightreading Book. (I LOVE this book!)

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#56276 - 10/20/11 10:29 PM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: pianojazzgirl]
ransomed Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 223
Loc: New York, USA
I love the Primer Sightreading book too. It's really helping my students. I can see that they are proud they can play something well the first time around.

I think I should ask his mom's opinion. My gut instinct is to go with MFPA as it has so many connections to everyday things he would know. Like donuts and cookies for example. I feel like if I use the Primer he will get overwhelmed. I could be wrong. Maybe I should ask him which one he'd like to try.

Has anyone out there ever taught a child with language delay? Do you have any advice or wisdom to share?

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#62029 - 02/10/13 02:12 PM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: ransomed]
CanNorskPiano Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/07/13
Posts: 5
So I'm a little late replying to this, but thought I would anyway just for teachers with similar problems who might be browsing this forum in the future...

I'm a speech and language therapist but I teach piano on the side, and many of the kids I teach happen to speak English as an additional language. This isn't quite the same as having a language delay, but many of the same principles apply. My biggest piece of advice is to keep your language simple (one-step directions if possible), allow a bit of extra time for processing (be patient for responses), and do most of your teaching through demonstration - more showing, less telling.

Hope things worked out well for you smile

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#62033 - 02/10/13 07:30 PM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: CanNorskPiano]
musicat Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 318
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
I must have missed this one a while back. Ransomed, are you teaching this student? How is it going? Speech-Language Pathology was my career for many years until I decided to start rebuilding my studio.

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#62034 - 02/10/13 09:58 PM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: musicat]
ransomed Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 223
Loc: New York, USA
Hi Musicat and CanNorskPiano, I am still working with this student. We just finished with MFPA A. The pacing was perfect. Your advice is spot on. Keeping directions simple, allowing for more processing time, and lots of demonstrations is key. I really love working with him. He has a great sense of humor and is doing well. I need to point to the notes often to help him keep his spot and to stay focused. I am so glad I took this student.

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#62044 - 02/11/13 08:00 PM Re: Speech Delay Student [Re: ransomed]
musicat Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 318
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Glad to read everything is going so well!

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