Peter Peter Pumpking Eater - Pre-reading

Autumn Music in the Store

This is a pre-reading version of the traditional children’s song. If you want immediate success, my advice is to give it to an average age beginner who will not get frustrated with the 5 – 3 finger pattern. Luckily my student is the confidant type who told me that with a little practice it would be easy. It might be a little hard from some pre-school student. This is just a reminder to me that a skill that is easily picked up by an 8 or 9-year-old beginner is much harder for a  5-year-old. Skipping fingers are easier if you don’t start with 5-3. The problem with folk songs is that I do not have control of the melody! Pretend playing in the air with fingers 5 and 3, and then playing fingers 5 and 3 on the fall board and then on various keys on the piano will help those 2 fingers learn the pattern.

This song has quite a vocal range, so for singing, I change the key and start way up in the soprano range. (B flat is a good singing key, starting on the D above treble C.) It is a good song to help children find their head tone.

Afterwards, I played the black key version using 2 hands that I used to play as a child. For children who learn easily by ear, that is a fun option! This is such an appealing folk melody. I changed the verse slightly because my student loves cats.

I hope that this is a piece you can add to your collection of autumn pieces that are fun this time of year!

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10 thoughts to “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater, Pre-reading

  • Aleta

    Do I remember this one being taught me when I was little with LH crossing over RH or visa versa to do some of those thirds/skips? I’d have to sit down to the piano to try to remember back 50-plus years, but I’m wondering if that wouldn’t be something fun (and difficult-looking at least) for young students?
    Yes – I just tried it! Start with LH 2 finger on Bb (crossing over RH 2 on Gb – where it stays for the whole song, and just plays alternately with LH) and play the song – LH Bb, then move LH 2 to Ab, then LH to Eb and then LH to Db. LH continues to move down to Bb, Ab and Gb to finish the song. It looks really hard, and will wow those little ones, but then you see how magical it is when they “get” it! ‘Course, that’s not writing music down in proper form, but just teaching by rote. WOW! Glad you tickled my memory about this … I’m going to teach one of my students this next week! She has such a difficult time reading music! This will absolutely WOW her family!
    Thanks, Susan – you are a gem of a teacher and encourager!!! Blessings to you!
    P.S. If I’d read all the way to the end of your blog, I’d have seen that you talked about this “other” version!

    • susanparadis


      I’m glad I brought back some memories!

      I have been teaching them the black key version. First I let them learn the white key version I posted, looking at the notes. Then I show them the way I played it back in the day, on the black keys with the cross over. It’s fun, and it doesn’t take too long. They really enjoy it and we have the best of both worlds, playing a little by ear and reading music.

      I have taught a lot of the “old time” rote songs and duets we used to play back when I was a child and children had time for that sort of thing.

      There is a lovely new one based on a Handel keyboard piece that is fun. The bass plays through the circle of 4ths starting on A minor. It seems to have started in Australia or somewhere in Asia. Anyone one know the one I’m talking about? I heard some teens playing it and picked it up from them.

  • Lewis Music Studio (@beckimusic)

    I like the music for pre-readers. I am just starting an intro to piano class, and I think music like this will work perfectly.

  • Pingback: Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater, Pre-reading | Susan Paradis’ Piano Teacher Resources | schragonkeys's Blog

  • Anonymous

    Susan you are great! I love the fact that each hand will have a different color. Thank you so much! MV

  • Anonymous

    I never say anything to you, but I just want to thank you for so many wonderful posts that have helped me so much. I look forward to the next one. You are awesome, and thank you for sharing.
    Barbara Bownds

    • susanparadis

      Barbara, you are most welcome. Thank you for the public comment! Bloggers love comments, and I’m so glad I can share things that you like!

  • LaDona's Music Studio

    Always good to remember how hard some things really are for very young kids! Kudos to you for teaching pre-schoolers!

    • susanparadis

      You’re right! Thanks for the “like.”


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