Sykes Little Maestro
We often underestimate very young children. It is amazing what they can achieve, including learning to play the piano. There are so many benefits for young children learning the piano over and beyond just learning music. Playing the piano helps the development of fine motor skills, coordination, speech, listening skills and concentration. Research has shown that it stimulates many areas of the development of the brain and actually makes children more intelligent.
The Sykes Little Maestro Piano Program is a unique program designed by Julia Sykes specifically for children four to six years of age. It is the only program in the world of its kind and it has proven to be a very enjoyable and successful method for young children learning to play the piano.
The program develops a love of music in children through learning a large repertoire of pieces and exercises that are enjoyable and suitable for children of this age. The program evolves seamlessly. Little Maestros receive a Sykes Little Maestro Book which comes with a CD. This has lots of instructions for parents, sheet music of the pieces and exercises, and pictures which the children enjoy. Children do not immediately learn to read music in the Sykes Little Maestro program. First of all they develop a repertoire, familiarity with the piano, finger strength and coordination before reading is introduced.
Most Little Maestro classes are private lessons once a week and are of 15 to 30 minutes in duration. The lessons consist of consolidating pieces and exercises already learned, learning new material and then finishing off with fun activities such as playing rhythms on percussion instruments, singing, listening to music, playing duets or improvising on the piano. Also music reading and writing activities are introduced towards the end of the program.
Parents are very involved in Sykes Little Maestro classes. They stay close to the piano, observe and sometimes play the piano during the lessons. This is so that parents can assist their children at home. It makes such a difference when parents are well involved and is one of the reasons why Sykes Little Maestros learn so quickly and successfully.
The Repertoire Book is very important for Little Maestros. All songs and exercises are written in this book. Once the student has ticked the piece or exercise 20 times, they receive a special sticker. Students also receive stars during lessons when they play something well.
Once children have completed the Sykes Little Maestro program, they continue into Level 2 of the regular Sykes Piano Program.
“We think Little Maestro’s is fantastic – they understand that kids want to actually get in and start playing, and with the gradual introduction of theory after they’ve learnt the practical elements, in a fun and interesting way, it means they don’t get bored and maintain their interest – while still learning the fundamentals. Clearly, the program has been put together by someone who understands the way kids think.”