Itsy Bitsy Spider First Piano Song

Itsy Bitsy Spider is a great first piano song. Young children are very excited to learn to play a song they know.  I love teaching preschoolers this familiar song, because their ear will guide them as they learn which notes to play.  Children naturally know where the long and short sounds are in the song because they can sing the song.  Often, young children only need to be shown which piano keys need to be played, or they can learn by seeing the alphabet letters.

Traditional piano lessons require students to learn to read notation.  Learning to read notes is important, but many other experiences are more important than note reading when teaching preschool students.

Is learning to read music hard for beginners?

When reading music notation, a lot of things must happen simultaneously.

  • Students must identify the note name on the music staff.
  • They need to know which piano key the note on the paper corresponds to. 
  • Students must also recognize the note value.
  • There is a finger number associated with that note.
  • Students have to make their finger cooperate and press the piano key.

Reading the notation, figuring out which piano key it refers to, and then pressing the correct piano key with the correct finger for the correct amount of time… Whew! This is a lot! And this is difficult! But it is even more difficult for preschoolers. So how can we make this simpler? Let’s focus on the music alphabet. 

What is the music alphabet?

What is the music alphabet?  The music alphabet is A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  That’s it.  Each letter coordinates to a white key that is positioned between other white and black keys.  The piano keyboard is set up as a repeating pattern. When you know the name of the white key, it is identical up and down the keyboard.

Why is the music alphabet beneficial to preschoolers?

Many students are eager to play songs they know. Often these songs are more difficult than the preschooler’s ability to read notes. But, because their ear can guide them, preschoolers can easily learn songs using the music alphabet letters.

Children want to feel successful from the very beginning.  They want to play songs they know, AND they don’t want to wait years to play these songs. Kids can reap the benefits of music early! Often, teachers feel familiar songs are too advanced or beyond the student’s reading ability. What they don’t realize is that there is more than one way to teach the piano. And to get preschoolers playing songs they are excited to learn means we should teach what they already know… the ABC’s.

How can children benefit from playing familiar songs?

If the first piano song a preschooler learns is a familiar one like Itsy Bitsy Spider, children can springboard from that song. Meaning… they can build upon what they learned from that song and creatively learn many new things. They can take a rhythm pattern from the song to play musical instruments or use the pattern to make a new song. They can create more verses to the story. They can explore the sounds on the piano by having the spider crawl up the piano. They can learn about the spider’s web and learn to play a glissando on the piano as a spider would go down its dropline. There are so many ways to springboard from this first piano song.

Are there songs for my preschooler?

One of the biggest requests I have seen from parents and piano teachers who desire to teach preschoolers is the lack of music available to teach. Teachers are begging for simple first piano songs, coloring pages, activity pages, and games that reinforce the concepts beginners are learning. 

At this age, children need so much repetition. Additional activity pages and games allow children to experience the lesson over and over in new ways which help them internalize the ideas being taught.

Where can I find piano music for my preschooler?

First Piano Song

Most preschool methods only teach a concept once, expecting a child to learn it and understand it in one week. But preschoolers need more time. They need more repetition. These methods also focus primarily on note reading. But, because most kids this age are not ready to learn to read, focusing on note reading seems silly. Let’s let young children explore the piano and figure out songs using the abilities they already have which includes knowing the alphabet.

My own preschool students rush through the door excited to show me a song they figured out at home… a first song, like Baby Shark or Chop Sticks. They want to play songs they know.

I decided to create preschool piano activities that are different. First piano songs which allow children to learn and re-learn all the foundational skills that need time to be mastered. Every time a new song is introduced, they can re-learn, remember, go into greater details and have new games and worksheets to explore.

Itsy Bitsy Spider is a wonderful first piano song. The song is introduced using alphabet letters. Activities and games included in the pack help teach and reinforce all the basic skills of the first year piano student. Because these skills are repeated as they learn additional songs, there is less of a progression, but more of an introduction, repetition, and mastery, while children are doing what they love… learning songs they already know.