TEACHING Piano Adventures®

The Music Alphabet

Lesson Book page 20

let's get started

  1. In music we use only a part of the alphabet: A-B-C-D-E-F-G.
  2. We begin at the very bottom of the keyboard. (Use a braced third finger. Play several octaves to demonstrate.)
  3. Make an "O" by bracing LH finger 3 with your thumb. Start on the lowest key. Play and say the names of the keys.
  4. When you get to the middle, switch to the right hand. Go all the way to the top! Keep saying the notes aloud. Use this alphabet rhythm over and over:
    quarter quarter quarter quarter quarter quarter half-note
Finding the music alphabet on the white keys is a "big idea" that is introduced as a "whole".

explore and create

Focusing on small groups is a refinement of the "big idea".

pedagogy pointers

Since the music alphabet uses only seven letters, they can all be learned at once. What makes it even easier is that the lowest keyboard note is A. So zooming up the keyboard from bottom to top, saying the letter names, does the trick. It's a good idea to practice them backwards, too.

This is primarily just an orientation to the white-key names, but it gives the student the satisfaction of covering the entire keyboard.

Repeating the seven-letter series also unlocks some of the mystery of keyboard geography. The association of certain key names with black-key groupings will be demonstrated in the pieces to come.

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see it in action

Teaching Video 19

Kai uses braced third fingers—another way to reinforce a rounded hand shape. But the fun really begins when she gets to "rap out" the music alphabet as part of a groovy duet.

Saying and playing the alphabet backwards does not come so naturally. Another chant, one that breaks up the alphabet in sections, gets Tatiana ready to play and say the key names in reverse. The jazzy accompaniment keeps everything swinging and hopping—including Tatiana's whole body! Who doesn't like to be a cheerleader?

Ask Yourself

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