Fingering and Familiar Songs

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Fingering and familiar songs go together perfectly for kids. Since they already know the song, it is easier to see how to arrange your fingers.

Often, I allow kids to play a song with their index finger, without fingering, so they can see the pattern of notes first, unencumbered by fingering. It works well, and helps the child get to know the song.

Usually I spend a good amount of time with the child as if fingering didn’t exist, enduring every absurd combination they instinctively offer me.

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Only later do I point out that the fingers can be most efficiently deployed as a group.

I pick a familiar song and show them:

Numbered Keyboard
Numbered Keyboard

MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB

3 2 1 2    3 3 3    2 2 2    3 3 3   3 2 1 2    3 3 3 3   2 2 3 2   1

I let them try it with the index finger. It’s easy.

Now I put their third finger on key #3, and push gently on their fingers so they get the muscular idea of using the fingers in a row. A tangible demonstration works better than abstractions.

Even just getting them to play 3 2 1 with third, index and thumb will give them the idea.

If the song is familiar enough, most kids get the idea. I’m not saying they accept it, but they see what I’m after.

Below is a list of songs (or portions) that stay within the first five notes of the piano, C D E F G, or, in PIANO BY NUMBER, 1 2 3 4 5.

Take a small portion of a song below and make a game out of it. Then put the parts together, if possible.

JINGLE BELLS
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
DRAYDL DRAYDL
ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
HOT CROSS BUNS
BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
POP GOES THE WEASEL
EENSY WEENSY SPIDER
FRERE JACQUES

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