Find the Starting Notes Level 1

Find the Starting Note Level 1

 As piano teachers we spend a lot of time explaining to beginners how to find the starting note.  The younger the student, the more they need help with this.

A  few years ago I started a ritual with my beginning students.

  • Name the note on the staff.
  • Point to the correct key on the piano.
  • Wiggle the starting finger. Wave it around in circles and talk to it.
  • “Fly” it to the correct starting key on the piano. We have a lot of fun with this!

And yet, some students still have trouble knowing where to place their hands when they practice alone.

To help beginning students of all ages develop  independence  in finding their starting position,  I made these printable worksheets.   There are two pages, one for each hand. Students only need to know the beginning note in each pattern, and then step up or down to the next note.  This also helps with interval reading. The idea is to gain  confidence to tackle a new piece on their own.

For those of you who don’t want to print individual copies, you can laminate  them for use with dry erase markers.  A sheet protector works the same way. If you are making summer take-home folders,  this might be a good worksheet to include.

I’ve thought about drawing another set that starts  with different fingers in each pattern, not just the thumb.  If you have an opinion, let me know.

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11 thoughts to “Find the Starting Note

  • Catherine

    These are exactly what I need right now! I’ve been having this exact problem with several students. Thank you so much for your generosity and creativity!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m a little late replying to this but also think this is an excellent worksheet and agree with the others that more of these would be great. So, so, so many students look at me at the beginning of a piece and say “Where do I put my hands?” I’m always astonished as they were suppose to be practicing it all week! Hope to see more of these worksheets in the future. Thanks for your awesome website.

  • carol dawn

    Ditto from me. After the student has the middle C position down, will be using this sheet so they can’t think the fingering is set in concrete. Have (too) many students who use the fingering instead of learning the names of the notes.
    Great! Thanks!

  • Kelby

    This is just what I need. Thanks. May I ask what program you use to make your worksheets? I’m working on some violin stuff myself. 😉

    • susanparadis

      A few are made in Word but most are made in Photoshop. I compose in Finale.

  • Edith

    I love your website, I really appreciate your generosity, creativity, and the dedication you put into teaching music.

    I would like to know, though, what software do you use to create the worksheets?


  • Susan Williams

    I love it! How synchronistic … was having this very problem this week. Yes, me too – would love some more worksheets on this. Thank you so much.

  • Lisa B.

    Susan, thanks for this much needed worksheet!
    I would love to have changing finger numbers on any future
    worksheets you might make. Keep those students thinking!
    Thanks again!

  • Betty Patnude

    Susan, I think it would be a good idea to use fingers 2-3-4 and 3-4-5 and also to descend in addition to ascending. Perhaps to have one flash card picture such as F-G-A and show it with fingers RH 1-2-3, then same card with finger 2 only and have the student fill in the other finger numbers (3) (4); then the same card with finger 3 only and have the student fill in the other finger number (4) (5). At a later date in the elementary process this could become |_|F G A |_| with the 2 on F as the only identifier to the 5-finger position. Then processing F as 3, as 4, as 5. It would be easy to put the proper accidentals into the mix as learning the white key starts of the 5 finger positions of Circle of 5th. I wonder how many teachers teach 5 Finger Positions before they teach the one octave C Major Scale. I think it’s important to see what comes next and project ahead for what to teach next time related to where we are right now. Sequential Concepts. I don’t have this idea completely formulated yet but you have the very creative graphic mind and probably have gone there already. You’ve given us an excellent worksheet again, Susan! And more possibilities.

    • susanparadis

      Thanks for the detailed suggestion. I was kind of wondering what I should put in a follow up printable. I get so many good ideas from other teachers!
      You are right about the 5-finger scales before octave scales. I think more and more teachers realize the benefits.

  • Karen Lupardus

    Some of my students have had alot of trouble with starting position hand position. The beginning books really really orientate students to Middle C. Some students don’t think they can start anyother way. Ha
    I would love anymore worksheets on this. Thanks


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