Today is Throwback Thursday and the Fourth of July! So I thought I’d re-blog a freebie from ten years ago. This Fourth of July pre-reading sheet for beginners is played on the black keys with the right hand only. It can be used at the first lesson. Below is the unedited original post from July, 2009. And that little guy is still taking piano but now he’s in high school playing Chopin. Scroll to the end to download the one-page file. My Canadian friends can also download Canada Day!
I have a preschool beginning student who is very enthused about taking piano. He’s only had a couple of lessons, but each week I write an easy little piece for him to play and he really likes them. We put them in a 3-ring binder that has a cute cover with his name on it that I made and printed out for him. I print these on 32 pound paper so they will hold up well.
This week I’m giving him this Fourth of July chant. It’s kind of hard to sing since the melody note is just a repeating E flat. If you are familiar with the beginning of the newer method books, this is the same kind of thing. Teach your student to chant or sing the words in the correct rhythm keeping a steady beat. Have your student “play” and chant on his lap until he memorizes the words before he tries to play it. I hope the American flags will help the students’ eyes track the finger numbers getting higher on the page.
If you don’t understand this page, here is how it works. The student plays right hand fingers 2 and 3 together on the black keys starting on D flat and E flat going up 3 octaves. The rhythm is 3 quarter notes and a dotted half note and repeats. At the end the student can improvise on the black keys while you play some sort of ostinato in the bass.
Triple meter can be challenging for young students. The more they beat these rhythms out on their knees or the fall board, the better they will be down the road. For those of you who may wonder why teach young children, the answer for me is that when they get older they have no rhythm problems, among other benefits.
One thing I wanted to do was encourage my student to improvise at the end. I don’t know if he’s ever seen fireworks, but I hope he has so we can play some shimmery sounds on the black keys. Of course, being a boy he might want to go down to the bass keys and play booms and crashes, and that’s ok, too. You never know who will turn out to be a composer!