Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

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Why Piano Stickers Work for Reading Music

 

 

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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

Books for Younger Kids      Books for Older Kids      Books for Adults

 

WHY PIANO STICKERS WORK FOR READING MUSIC   

                        Picture of piano keyboard with I CAN READ MUSIC colored stickers installed.

The purpose of the five blue stickers (and the red one) on the piano keyboard is to give a reference point for children. That is, the BLUE stickers define the location of the FIVE lines of the musical staff (the FIVE lines are the "musical staff") and the RED sticker defines the location of Middle C. Click here for a more detailed discussion.

The first step after applying the removable stickers to your piano is to make the child aware of the circular symbol for Middle C, the circle on the left (in the above drawing) with the little horizontal line through it.

You need to look through some pages of music in, for example, a book such as I CAN READ MUSIC, and help the child identify the graphic symbol for the note Middle C (the symbol directly above this, the circle with the little line through it.)

Make a game of it, saying "Who can point to Middle C on the page first?" and then let them win every time after a few tries. Go through page after page, making a game of finding Middle C on the page. 

After the child can easily find Middle C and distinguish it from all other notes, it's time to find the relationship between Middle C and the piano keyboard.

Specifically, the note Middle C is defined as the white key with the RED sticker. See the drawings at the top of the page.

Play some games in which the child sees the note Middle C on a page, and then has to play it on the piano keyboard, finding the white key with the RED sticker.

Once you have established security with Middle C, it's time to move beyond it by finding the FIVE horizontal lines and their relationship to the FIVE blue stickers.

It's really quite easy: the five lines are exactly marked with the five blue stickers. Children understand this quite quickly, but you must be patient and first establish an understanding that the lowest of the five lines is equal to the blue sticker furthest to the left. See the drawings above.

In fact, all that is necessary for quite a while is for the child to be familiar with three basic elements: 1) the location of Middle C, 2) the location of the lowest of the five lines, the first blue sticker, and 3) the location of the second of the five lines, the second blue sticker.

The reason for this is that all beginning piano music concentrates on the note Middle C and the five white piano keys directly above that. Thus there is no real reason to learn the other lines yet, and you'll find that it is a large enough job simply to get a child comfortable with Middle C and the first two of the five lines.

Once your child is familiar with Middle C and the first two of the five lines, and the blue stickers on the white keys, you can approach the spaces in between the five lines.

All of this is introduced slowly in I CAN READ MUSIC, whose actual purpose as a text is to get the child comfortable with the first five white keys, that is, Middle C and the four white keys above it.

It's not necessary to name the notes, nor is it necessary to make the child use a certain finger to play a certain note: in fact, asking these tasks of a child actually deflects them from the REAL task, which is to become comfortable with finding the relationship between the notes on the page and the keys on the piano. 

Once you accomplish that relationship, the notes and the keys, all the rest, names and fingers, falls into place relatively quickly. In fact, one of the main reasons that most conventional methods are a failure for children is because these methods move too quickly into naming notes and assigning fingers, without first making absolutely sure that the child can find the VISUAL relationship between the notes on the page and the keys on the piano.

Thus all the stickers are doing is providing a temporary, initial reference point for the child, helping them find that relationship between the notes on the page and the keys on the piano.

Once you establish this familiarity, start removing the stickers until they are gone. If your child seems confused, put the stickers back until they understand EASILY the relationship between the notes and the keys.

WHY PIANO BY NUMBER FIRST?

We suggest, however, that you not even attempt the above steps until you've first introduced your child to the piano using PIANO BY NUMBER. The reason for this is simple: it's easier to teach reading music to a child who can already play dozens of songs at the piano, and the only way to accomplish this immediate confidence and familiarity is to use a method such as PIANO BY NUMBER first, and then proceed to reading music.

The reason for this is that all children understand numbers, and will be able to immediately play lots of songs by number, whereas as reading music, even using the careful steps above, is NOT an immediate process, and requires careful guidance to be successful.

You stand a far greater chance of success at reading music, which is, after all, the real goal, if you first make the child comfortable with playing the piano using a simple, transparent and immediate method such as PIANO BY NUMBER, and then SLOWLY begin to introduce the elements of reading music using the careful steps outlined above.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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TOPICS OF INTEREST TO PARENTS:

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Piano Lessons: A Child's Point of View

Visit the WALDEN POND PRESS ARCHIVES and read articles about children and piano

Click here to read the entire tutorial HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ MUSIC

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PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE INCLUDES:

PIANO IS EASY (ISBN # 0-9718936-1-6) Sturdily bound, durable, colorful 120 page illustrated song book with 50 songs such as Jingle Bells and London Bridge, Play Along Audio CD and removable numbered stickers. 

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a copy of I CAN READ MUSIC. This fun, easy-to-understand music activity book is the best way to start children reading music. Click here for sample pages.

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a FREE copy of the 56 minute DVD video from TEACH YOURSELF PIANO. This video will have you playing chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) and fun, familiar songs with both hands right away. That's a $16.95 value free!

2 BOOKS,  PLAY ALONG AUDIO CD and DVD 

Click here for a list of songs.    Click here for sample pages.

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE $39.95   

 PIANO IS EASY book package includes a 107 page song book with 44 songs and removable stickers, plus a Play Along Audio CD, free DVD and copy of the book  I CAN READ MUSIC.

You can also purchase individual books with CD $24.95

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