Hot Cross Buns Left Hand Pre-reading

Elementary Music Store

When I made up the original Hot Cross Buns for the right hand, I also made one for the left hand and due to popular demand, I am posting the left hand version today.

Put this in their binder with the right hand version and  ask your young students the difference in the two pages. See if they can notice that the stems go down, the buns are on the left side, the finger is blue, and the border is a different color. Learning to notice things on the page will help later on when they have to notice musical symbols and expression marks.

Why do some people like me have so much trouble with their right and left hand?  When someone says use your left hand, to find it quickly I make an “L” with my left hand and thumb. I have students who do that, too.  I’m right handed, but I use my left hand for a lot of things, such as eating and using a computer mouse. I don’t know if that has something to do with it or not.

I’ve seen teachers get impatient with those of us who have this problem and say “left hand, left hand, left hand” louder and louder, as if saying it louder is going to help. Trust me, it doesn’t! The best thing to do is just accept that it has nothing to do with intelligence or musical ability and go on from there. One of my students is a wonderful artist and musician, and yet she always mixes up her hands. She composes and plays by ear, too. I usually just gently touch the hand I want her to use and that works.

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4 thoughts to “Hot Cross Buns – Pre-reading for Left Hand

  • carol dawn

    Many thanks for the left-hand version, Susan!
    Like your gentle approach to the hand identification.
    Have been putting little red and blue bands on the index fingers to help the young ones match up the appropriate hands.

    Thanks for your vacation creativity!!

    • susanparadis

      Carol, you can’t imagine what a big hit the German piano book is! Thanks so much.
      Also, little red and blue bands or rings is a great idea!

  • Betty Patnude


    Thank you for the LH version!

    I read your comments and wanted to respond about things I think make a difference to:

    1) understand their pre-charts and graphics better, and,
    2) see and feel that their hands are “different” in how the fingers are opposing each other when palms are facing down and when palms are clapped together in “prayer” position.

    First lesson: I trace the kids very own hands on blank paper then hand the pencil to them asking them to label LH and RH on the hands; then I say “Thumbs are number 1’s” will you label the fingers please.”

    Because they make their own “hand graphic”, I can immediately see if they are having trouble doing it. Do they know their right hand from their left hand? I also see the process they use in thinking: Which hand do they start the fingering on? Do they finish numbering one hand before going to the second hand? Or, do they label 1’s, then 2’s, etc?

    I then ask the kids to clap and hold their hands together so they can see the way they are “designed” to fit together. When pressing hands together, recite the finger numbers and it seems to “connect” the opposition with my students. Also saying, “Thumbs are number 1’s. This is the step method books do not do for confirmation that they understand the opposing, therefore, it’s a puzzle to kids when hands together in parallel motion together and only finger 3’s are the same.

    Later, you can tell them that on both hands 1-5 are the “frame” fingers, and 2-3-4 are the “inner fingers”. This seems to help them in a lot in locating the (12) 5 Finger Positions. And it sets up for interval reading as well as “Circle of 5ths” later.

    Another thing I do in my “Piano Power” method is to separate the graphics of Left Hand to the top far left of the page and Right Hand to the top far Right of the page. This allows for better discrimination of fingering for a kid who needs to verify the hand and finger he is having trouble with in the “present moment”. This is more specific than the general both hands side-by-side where he sees 10 fingers, not just the 5 on the “problem hand”. He is likely to get the answer he needs more confidently.

    Beginner steps at the first few lessons are so very important to the progress you will make. Teaching to observe and think and find answers for themselves is a large part of what “hand graphics” offer. We have to sometimes dig deep and go far beyond the simple graphic and orient the child to the graphic of his own hands. It’s like learning to “drive the car”.

    I hope something I said might be an “aha” moment for someone, but it feels good just to be able to communicate about teaching, how we do it, and why we do it the way we do it.

    I hope you are very refreshed from the vacation you mentioned, Susan!

    Betty Patnude

    • susanparadis

      Thanks for you detailed approach to LH RH. You explain very well how important it is to take small steps when teaching children. Whenever I get in trouble with a student, it is beause I left out a step, or moved to fast.


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