Piano Key Activity Songs

I’m delighted to have a large group of new beginning students in my studio this fall.  I love how enthusiastic and uninhibited first-year piano students are, and all of the games and activities that we get to do at beginning lessons are just plain fun!

I like to start to introduce white key names from the very first lesson, even though my favorite method books start students exclusively on the black keys.  I’ve found that for many students, it’s easier to introduce the white keys little by little, rather than all at once when we get to them in the method book.  

I thought I’d share a couple of fun little activity songs I use with my students to help them learn the placement of white key notes, and explore the range and sounds of the keyboard while they’re at it.   

The Dog Song asks students to find 2-black key groups (the doghouse), and then find the white key in between (the dog).   This is a great activity for a first lesson, or even an interview or trial lesson.

Once students can find Ds easily, it’s time to add a sneaky cat next door… and now the fun can really start!  For part 2 of this song, students find both the dog and cat, then can play with all kinds of sounds as the dog and cat chase each other (with a trill from C to D), and pounce all over the keyboard, jumping from yard to yard.  

This F-G-A-B piece was inspired by one of my old students, who invented this silly sentence to remember the notes surrounding the 3-black key groups.   It’s now a studio staple!  Many of my new students enjoy making up sentences of their own to remember these notes.  

Handout sheets for these songs are available for download on the theory sheets page, or by clicking on the links below.   I’ve taught these songs for years by rote, without using the sheets – you’ll find that many students don’t need them.   I made them this fall for a student who was a visual learner, and needed the diagram to help remember what to play.  They also come in handy for parents who want to help their students practice at home.  


Comments

Piano Key Activity Songs — 7 Comments

  1. Thank you SO SO much! I always use the doghouse with the Dog, Cat, and Elephant. Then the People House with Front and Back doors, and George and Anne living inside. I love how you made this so playful by adding in the low/high sounds concept. I’ll be using these sheets with my next beginners! Would you make one with E in it as well? Thanks again!

    • I debated doing one with E in it… it’s kind of a running joke in my studio. I always ask the kids, after they’ve learned about the Cat and Dog, if they can think of an animal that starts with E, and might live next door. Without fail, the kids will all say “elephant”, then laugh about the thought of a pet elephant living in a house. It’s so silly, usually they remember it without any trouble!

      I’ll see if I can’t find an elephant that looks a little silly to add to the sheets. That might be a fun way to introduce the sound of an accent! :)

  2. Yet another set of great resources from you, Jen. Thank you so much!

    For E, I use Eagle and point out how it flies higher than the Dog and the Doghouse. It’s another way to sneak in the high/low concept.

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