Will You Be My Valentine
Today I am posting a new Valentine’s piece that I wrote just for young children. It is in middle C position, (both thumbs on middle C) and it has no skips, just stepping notes in each hand. If you’re not an experienced piano teacher, but like to work with your young child at the piano, you may be interested to know that notes that move from one finger to the next are much easier for beginners. Most piano teachers wait until students have mastered stepping notes before they move into notes that skip fingers. That is not something I knew when I was a young teacher. Back before there was such a thing as piano pedagogy, we learned on the job! I’m sure a lot of my readers can identify with that!
This will be good piece for sight-reading or just something fun the week of Valentine’s Day.
In case you’re looking for some more easy Valentine’s Day music for beginners, go to my Valentine’s Music page here. There are also some that are a little harder, including one that is late elementary. I’ve written several levels of this one, because it used to be a favorite of mine when I had a classroom.
There’s a Little wheel A-Turning in My Heart
Here is one of my favorite preschool songs that I’ve made in both pre-reading and on-the-staff versions.
Chocolate Valentines Pre-reading
I hope some of your young students will enjoy my little Valentine ditties!
One Octave Keyboard Labels
[This was originally posted Oct. 2009. The file is updated with new keyboards that are slightly larger and are different colors. I suggest you use Avery™ #55160 “repositional” address labels if you plan on using these in an assignment book. That is what I use, because I find I can remove them easily and put them on a new page, which saves time and money!]
The other day I was drawing a tiny keyboard on my younger student’s assignment book and I had her draw dots on the correct keys. As we worked together looking for whole and half steps, I casually said that my drawing was kind of sloppy, and it would be a lot easier to read and more fun if I had some keyboard stickers. So I sat down at my computer and designed some! Actually they were easy to make because I’ve been designing my own labels for years. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this, so for your whole and half step pleasure, I’m offering Keyboard Labels. Please let me know what you think!
Ornament Moves Steps and Skips
Today’s post is a Christmas worksheet to review steps and skips. In addition to printing this, it works well downloaded on a tablet because all the student has to do is check the correct answer.
If you print this, I suggest you make one copy and either laminate it or put it in a page protector. That way you can use a dry erase pen and re-use the worksheet with each student.
If you are a teacher who laminates worksheets, here is a great hint I learned from another piano teacher recently!
If the ink stays on the worksheet very long, it becomes hard to erase. All you need to do is wipe it with a cleaning pad such as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a similar product. You do not need to wet the cleaning pad. This works great for all those hard to erase laminated worksheets and labels.
However, please do not try this on your white boards, because I’m sure it will ruin them. Limit using the pad to your homemade material that can be reprinted if there is any damage.
[Disclosure: I am not affiliated with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in any way, and only recommend it because it is a handy tip.]
Autumn Acorn ACE
The popular composer and piano pedagogy teacher Elizabeth Gutierrez suggested in her Piano Camp for Piano Teachers workshop a few years ago that learning the notes A C E on the staff is one of the easier ways for beginners to learn note names. So I don’t want to take credit for this idea, although it is a good one! Instead of having to remember a lot of acronyms and guide notes, students just learn where ACE is located on the grand staff. As a bonus, they learn skips, too, and the student can play the ACE position on the piano as they learn the notes. After learning A C E, they can branch off and learn the notes above and below. Line notes are hard, but it is easier if you always know where A C and E are!
I just want to mention that in my experience, no matter how well a student knows the names of notes, that does not ensure he or she will be a good sight reader. I think we all have students who get A’s on theory tests and are very zippy with flash cards, but not so good sight reading music at the piano bench. So many people don’t seem to realize that the two are very different skills that use different part of the brain. And everyone’s brain is wired differently. A student does not have to be a good sight reader to be a good musician, although it is a wonderful skill.
If learning the names of notes confidently doesn’t always mean the student is going to be able to read music well at the piano, why bother? Here are some reasons, and you probably have some you can add to the list!
- It gives students confidence that they are musicians.
- It helps students jump around to different notes on the piano.
- Even if students can’t sight read that well, they can work through the music in their own comfort zone at home.
- They can learn music theory, which is rather impossible if you don’t know what the notes are!
- They can compose and write their music on staff paper.