The easiest and most logical way to introduce a new student to the piano is by learning the keyboard. While note reading and recognition on the staff and keyboard are quite a challenge, it might as well be postponed until the second/third lesson. Getting to know the white and black keys pattern could be a great way to start playing the piano! Do you need activities for your 4-year-old pianist? Well, here is what I use with my students.
Observe the obvious / Learn keyboard layout
Look at the piano, what do you see? The keys are grouped together. If the white keys are just a bunch of keys. Then the black ones are congregated in groups of two and three. This gives us a great opportunity to start exercising and playing rote pieces using the black keys as a focal point.
Take the first shot
- Count the groups of two black keys then the groups of three.
- Play the black key pairs going up. Then all groups of three went down.
- When playing, press one set of two black keys together and one group of three one by one.
- Play “Ball on the stairs” – starting from the right play all black keys down to the left with your RH (LH) and finger #3 imagining a ball jumping down the stairs
Use props with very young students
Explaining the pattern to the 4-5-year-olds can be fun if you use a reasonable amount of hands-on material.
- Decorate the piano. This exercise is fun for youngsters. Prepare 7 bouncy balls and 7 rubber caterpillars and decorate a group of two black keys with balls and a group of three with caterpillars.
- Make a snake – using cards of two and three black keys make a snake alternating between the groups. To augment the exercise, you can ask the student to close their eyes and make 1 or 2 mistakes by misplacing the group of keys.
- “Chinese Lanterns” – play two and three black keys going up and down
- Using black key cards, ask one to choose one card and play the note shown on the card. You can amplify the exercise by encouraging them to play a given key with RH or LH with a specific finger.
Where to Find
You can find Printable Flash Cards here. If you want to use these cards for a long time please read Piano Studio Office Helpers of how can other helper tools be useful. If you are looking for a fun printable, please visit our shop. Games, cards, worksheets and free printables will sparkle the imagination of your little learner!