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Month: May 2021

Piano Keys Letters for Beginners

Beginners always need help figuring out the piano keys letters. Often in piano lessons I will print out some piano keys letters on cardstock, cut them into cards, and send them home with students. This helps parents and students when practicing at home.

I designed these piano keys letters for my students because:

piano keys letters
  • They fit over the groups of two and three black keys nicely. By grouping the letters in the two and three black key groups, students are able to identify and memorize the piano keys letters more easily. Memorizing the alphabet letters is important when note reading begins.
  • The cards are removeable. When the pandemic began, I shifted to online piano lessons. During our online lessons I got to look inside my students’ home piano set up. I was shocked! Many students didn’t have adequate practice set ups. I was even more surprised at how many students had letters written on their actual piano keys in permanent marker.
  • Perfect size for not impeding the student’s ability to play the white notes. The cards can be placed on the piano and left there as they learn their songs.
  • Useful for playing beginning games with students at the keyboard.
  • Useful for playing beginning piano games away from the piano For example, if you download my Piano Race Game, you can use the piano keys letters to create a long piano keyboard on the floor. You can play the race game away from the actual piano keyboard. Piano Match Game is another game that can be played away from the piano with these cards.
  • Songs that are written with music alphabet letters help teach kids music right away. Students are familiar with alphabet letters and can learn dozens of songs on the piano before they begin reading music notation on the staff.

Piano Keys Letters for Parents and Teachers

The Music Time Kid resources are not only helpful for music teachers, but also for parents. One of the biggest questions I see over and over is that parents are unsure what their beginning piano students should be doing for practice at home. Youngest beginners are much more successful when parents are involved in their music making and there is plenty of play-based and rote learning.

Piano based games teach so much without the required note reading skills. Piano alphabet letter songs help new students learn songs quickly so they feel success! These can be incorporated into practice at home with parental help.

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    Piano Keys Letters Instructional Video

    Piano Lessons for Beginners ROTE MUSIC

    Piano lessons for beginners start at the very beginning. Think of a very first piano lesson. Everything is new! And because it takes time to learn rhythm, counting, notes on the staff, the keyboard geography, where the notes on the staff are located on the piano, high and low notes, soft and loud notes and so many other things, it can be a little overwhelming.

    What is Rote Music?

    Rote music is definitely something I teach right in the first piano lessons.

    It’s music that is learned through imitation. A teacher (or other person) SHOWS the student how to play the song on the piano and the student copies it. Early songs I learned by rote when I was a beginner were “Heart & Soul,” “Chopsticks,” and “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater. I still teach these songs if a child doesn’t already know them. But there are so many other songs you can teach!

    Many preschool or young school age kids are not reading fluently, so teaching rote songs can really launch kids in piano technique and musicianship while they develop their reading skills.

    Easy Rote Songs for Beginners

    These are some of my favorite songs to teach beginners, but there are many other songs kids can learn. One of the most popular songs students have usually learned to play before coming to their first piano lesson is the Baby Shark Song. Kids LOVE to play songs they know and they love to learn by rote!

    Sources for Rote Music

    Because of Youtube, I find many students continue learning songs by rote. Synthesia videos and other Youtube video tutorials are in abundance and help kids learn the music they are really desiring to learn.

    Youtube is where I post songs for my piano students work on. When the pandemic started, I knew my students would have difficulty making progress without seeing my demonstrations. Watching others play and imitating them is an important part of learning piano. And it is an easy way for brand new students to feel good about playing music, practicing at home, and playing music that is above their reading level.

    There were many times my students wanted to play a song that I knew was too difficult for them, but they spent hours learning from Youtube videos and mastered the songs they loved. Every time I was in awe! It’s proof… you can achieve whatever you put your mind to achieving.

    Rote music is not only for beginners. But it should be included in all piano lessons for beginners!

    Rote Music Video Series for Beginners

    Below you will find my first video in the series “Piano Lessons for Beginners ROTE MUSIC”. If you are interested in learning some songs you can teach to someone else, then subscribe to my channel and hit the notification bell. You will get the updates when new videos are released.

    First Game for Beginner Piano Lessons!

    I teach this game at every first piano lesson. We play it over and over, week to week, until students can play without the black key letter cards on the piano (this will take a while). You can get this game for FREE when you sign up for my mailing list. Members on my list will have access to the members only free content I create. These free resources will help you prepare your child for future piano lessons and help them learn skills they will need to succeed in school.

    Get My First Preschool Piano Game for free!

    Do you want your child to learn preschool piano?

    This is the first game I play with every one of my students. Now you can play at home!

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      Easy Songs to Play on Piano: HOT CROSS BUNS

      There are many easy songs to play on piano. But most beginners start with the song, Hot Cross Buns. This simple three note song can easily be taught to even preschool piano students.

      Activities for Easy Piano Songs

      When I first began teaching piano to preschoolers I was always watching for easy songs to play on piano and ideas to extend the concepts that were being taught. There were few resources that actually focused on teaching piano to young children. So when I created this blog I wanted to share resources and teaching ideas that I wished I had when I first began teaching young children.

      For Hot Cross Buns, I am including a music alphabet song sheet, a movement activity, a play-doh mat for a finger building activity, and sweet treat cards to inspire children to think of other foods they can change to words to.

      I created a YouTube video to demonstrate these activities. The video can be found at the bottom of this blog post!

      More detailed instructional video on learning to play Hot Cross Buns and how to teach this song to your child is found below!

      Music Alphabet Song Sheet

      The Music Alphabet song sheet gives young students an instant win. This song is easily taught by rote (rote= watching how someone else plays this on the piano). But a music alphabet song sheet shows the notes on the piano that are to be played and give young students and parents a visual of the song. Because young students do not read music, but ARE learning their alphabet letters and beginning to learn to read words, the music alphabet song sheet is very helpful (but completely necessary if the student has an adult that can show them how to play the song).

      Movement Activities for Hot Cross Buns

      The words to Hot Cross Buns have this pattern: Hot Cross Buns = short, short, long. So I recommend moving the body like this: step, step, jump. One a penny, two a penny = pitter patter, pitter patter OR tippy toeing, tippy toeing.

      You can even have the child move like certain animals. What animals walk? Or jump? And what kind of animal makes a little pitter patter or tippy toeing sound?

      Young children learn by moving so this movement activity is VERY important!

      Play-Doh Finger Building Activity

      Children of all ages love Play-Doh. Squeezing play-doh helps strengthen the hand. Poking little fingers into play-doh helps to make fingers work independently (very important for piano playing) and strengthens the joints in the finger making curved fingers stronger.

      Rolling Balls, poking balls, rolling a couple flat pieces and smashing balls is a lot of fun!

      Sweet Treat Cards

      Kids love to tell you their favorite foods. You may hear foods like Mac & Cheese, Rice & Beans, Cheese Pizza, Spaghetti, and more. I have created little Sweet Treat Cards (there are also a couple healthy options like broccoli and tomato) to help springboard three-syllable food ideas.

      Sweet Treat Cards will give that tangible element to extend practice time. Because most easy songs to play on piano take virtually seconds to play, imaginative practice is required for little hands to strengthen up.

      If you place the cards upside down and you draw five different treats, the student can play five times (once for each treat).

      There are also blank cards for students to draw their favorite three-syllable treat. And of course, you make a really silly treat that is waaaay too many syllables. Just have fun!

      Hot Cross Buns

      & More Sweet Treats

      This easy piano song has a movement activity, a finger building component with Play-Doh, and Sweet Treat Cards to extend practice time!

      Get this easy song, movement, finger builder and sweet treat practice extender for only $4.95 and it is on sale now for a limited time. Get your copy for only $3.95.

      easy songs to play on piano

      Music and Movement Songs for Toddlers on a Rainy Day

      In another blog post I list my top 10 favorite music and movement songs for toddlers that I have curated for my in-person early childhood music classes. Today I am sharing a list of songs that you can use on a rainy day to help with giggles and get the wiggles out!

      Rainy days are often long days for parents. Children love to be outdoors and play. So parents can PLAN for these rainy days by collecting special musical instruments or other toys that only come out on rainy days. Children then look forward to these special rainy day activities!

      I always look for musical instruments I don’t already have at garage sales or consignment shops. But if you don’t have access to these I will leave a list below of some instruments I find most families do not have that you may interested in adding to your “Rainy Day Basket”. I also have a free 20 minute toddler online music class that would perfect for a rainy day!

      Music and Movement Songs for Toddlers

      Here is the list of music links.

      If You’re Happy and You Know It

      Skip to My Lou


      15 minutes of Laurie Berkner

      Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

      Robin in the Rain

      Move and Freeze


      You Are My Sunshine

      Jungle Boogie Dance

      Shoo Lie Loo

      Apples and Bananas


      The Tickle Bug

      Do you have some favorites that I can add to my collection? Leave the title and the artist in the comments!

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