There are so many different things to do with a paper keyboard. There is something different about working away from the piano. Sometimes students freeze up at the piano and can’t even find middle C. I think it has something to do with performance anxiety, since the piano is usually used at the lesson to perform for the teacher. But away from the piano, our students are usually more relaxed. So a paper keyboard is a good tool to work on names of the keys.
There are other uses for a paper keyboard. You can use them at group lessons when you don’t have a real keyboard for students to use. Your students can “play” along with you or another student who is at the piano. Then students can take turns coming up and playing the same thing on your piano. They can practice 5-finger patterns, ostinati, simple duets, ensembles, and intervals, for example.
A paper keyboard can also be used to play games. I don’t have time today to list all the games I’ve played on a paper keyboard, but I hope to have time soon.
I have made some black and white keyboards in the past, but the one I am posting today have the black key groups in color. I got the idea from a pre-school student who had some trouble keeping up with the other children in a game. By using a color to help her identify her position, she relaxed and was able to do just fine.
I like to make enough keyboards to use at a group lesson. Be sure and set your printer to landscape format. Then laminate, cut on the lines, trim next the the second group of three, and tape the two parts together so that it will fold easily for storage in a pocket folder. I use wide, clear strapping tape because regular tape will split at the fold after a few uses. Place the first group of three on the left before you tape it, and your keyboard will have middle C in the middle!