Unless your child was born a musical genius, it is unlikely that they will be able to start taking piano lessons until they are six or seven. So what do you do for those as young as 3, 4 and 5 who want to play the piano? While we’re not able to teach them Tchaikovsky or Mozart just yet, here at StarWalkKids we are happy to share with you our top 3 techniques to help teach children the piano. These are not an alternative to formal lessons, but rather a way to prepare them and give them some fundamental piano skills in a fun way.
1. Teach them the notes of the piano.
The keys on the piano use the following musical notes:
A B C D E F G
One of the first steps in learning to play the piano will be getting familiar with these. We need flashcards for each of these notes. If you have a set of alphabet cards, then use them. IF not, you can easily make flashcards for these letters. Lay out the flash cards, and get your child singing the alphabet song, but only up to G, pointing to each card as they sing. When they get to the end, instead of going on to H, I J, etc, teach them to then sing it back from G to A. This might be a little confusing to them at first, but stick with it. Then, make a fun memory game out of singing this song by turning over some of the flash cards each time they sing, and see if they can remember the notes in between. Eventually, you want to be able to turn over all the cards, but your child can still sing the notes both forwards and backwards.
I know what you’re thinking. This article is about the piano, and my kids aren’t even touching it in this activity. We know, but trust us here. Getting familiar with the notes on the piano is a major first step to learning the instrument, and it can be a fun singing game at the same time.
2. Finding the notes on the piano itself
Now that your little Beethoven has gotten to grips with the names of the different notes, its time to find them on the piano itself. First of all, you need to find each note yourself. Don’t worry, you don’t need any music training for this. The diagram below will help you find them
Also, this helpful you tube video is a good way to make sure you have the correct notes. Listen to the notes in the video and then make sure you have the right notes on your kids piano. (don’t worry about the sharp or minor notes now)
So now we’ve found the notes, we need to mark them for your child. We recommend getting some little stickers and putting them on the keys. A great way to do this is with a sticker with the note and a picture of an animal which starts with that name i.e. D = Dog, C = Cat.
Once the stickers are on the keys, start with a simple game of calling out the animal’s names and ask your child to play the correct note, i.e. call out ‘Dog’ and they should play a D. Once they get good at this, you can even make it a little bit more complicated. For example, you could call out ‘Nemo is a’ and they would play F or fish. Not only will your child have an absolute blast with these games, but they will be learning were all the notes are on the piano.
3. Learn some very simple songs
Keep those stickers on the keys, because your toddler wants to play the piano and is now ready to start learning their first song! There are a lot of great songs to teach younger children which have only a few notes in them. You can start by calling out the notes very slowly, and getting your child to play them. Better still, find something that your children are already familiar with so they have a good start. Remember, you have to be very slow and patient with your child. Don’t expect them to be able to play these songs perfectly. It is going to take many weeks and months of practice for them to get the hang of it, and as parents, you need to keep encouraging and nurturing them though this so they don’t get discouraged and build their confidence
Why not start with Mary Had a Little Lamb?
Mary had a little lamb
E D C D E E E
Little lamb, little lamb
D D D E G G
Mary had a little lamb
E D C D E E E
Its fleece was white as snow
E D D E D C
We hope these methods will be of help to you in teaching your child the basics of playing the piano, and we hope they can have fun with these games at the same time.