TEACHING Piano Adventures®

Two Black Ants

Lesson Book page 6

let's get started

  1. (Show how the black keys are divided into groups of 2 and 3.)
  2. Put your LH fingertips together, like a bubble. Touch all the 2-black-keys starting in the middle and going lower.
  3. Let's watch those ants march down the page. Take this pencil in your left hand and point while I play.
  4. Use just two fingers—LH 2 and 3. (Demonstrate playing 2-3-together on the music rack or fallboard.)
  5. 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

Creating an original pattern is evidence that a student understands what a pattern is.

partner pages

Technique & Artistry

pp. 4-5 Five Secrets for Piano Technique
Offstaff notation begins the process of directional reading.

pedagogy pointers

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.

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see it in action

Teaching Video 6

The offstaff notation gives a clear picture of where to look and Olivia points the way while she listens. Warming up the 2-3-together pattern before trying it out on the 2-black-key groups gets her ready to play from the middle to the bottom.

That was so easy, she learns a new pattern. Better still, Olivia creates one of her own.

Then she discovers that she can play back music messages, even with her eyes closed. Those two left-hand fingers can do amazing things!

Ask Yourself

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