Two Black Ants
Lesson Book page 6
- Finding 2-black-key groups
- Using LH fingers 2 and 3
- Playing a piece in the lower range of the keyboard
let's get started
- (Show how the black keys are divided into groups of 2 and 3.)
- Put your LH fingertips together, like a bubble. Touch all the 2-black-keys starting in the middle and going lower.
- Let's watch those ants march down the page. Take this pencil in your left hand and point while I play.
- Use just two fingers—LH 2 and 3. (Demonstrate playing 2-3-together on the music rack or fallboard.)
- Let's play this pattern on each group of 2-black-keys going down the keyboard. (Begin in the middle.)
Guide the student to read patterns, not individual notes or fingers.
explore and create
Crawling UpThe ants might also crawl up the keyboard. Start at the bottom and play 2-3-together up to the middle.
Ear Tunes!Keep fingers 2 and 3 over the 2-black-keys. Close your eyes! I'll play a little pattern. You play it back!
Test the Teacher!I'll close my eyes and you make up patterns for me to repeat.
Composing!Make up your own short pattern for fingers 2 and 3 on the 2-black-keys. Play this pattern from the middle going down the keyboard. You just composed a piece!
Creating an original pattern is evidence that a student understands what a pattern is.
Technique & Artistry
pp. 4-5 Five Secrets for Piano Technique
- Two Black Ants uses Technique Secrets 1-3: Karate Pose, Blooming Flowers,and Making O's.
- All students should be able to maintain good posture and a rounded hand shape. Many students, however, will find keeping firm fingertips a challenge.
- Realize that this is a first piece and that it is an ongoing skill to develop firm fingertips.
- Because ants are very quiet creatures, the student may play softly which can help prevent the fingertip from collapsing.
- Some students may enjoy making a round "ant hill shape" as they move to each lower black-key group. This image will help them use relaxed arm movements.
Offstaff notation begins the process of directional reading.
We find our way around the keyboard by means of the black keys. So learning those groups of two and three is a natural introduction to piano "geography". At the same time, the student is introduced to offstaff notation and directional reading. The fingering groups move down the page, and going to the left on the keyboard is associated with lower sounds. Since the left hand often gets less attention, it gets the first chance to play a piece.
Using offstaff notation (pre-reading), a student can begin to see that music is made up of patterns—note or melody patterns, fingering patterns, rhythm patterns, and aural patterns. That is the best way to learn to read—in groups, rather than note-by-note.