The Music Alphabet
Lesson Book page 20
- Names for the white keys
- Be able to play and say the music alphabet forward and backward
let's get started
- In music we use only a part of the alphabet: A-B-C-D-E-F-G.
- We begin at the very bottom of the keyboard. (Use a braced third finger. Play several octaves to demonstrate.)
- Make an "O" by bracing LH finger 3 with your thumb. Start on the lowest key. Play and say the names of the keys.
- 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:
Finding the music alphabet on the white keys is a "big idea" that is introduced as a "whole".
explore and create
Alphabet Rap!Here's the chant with a fancier rhythm.
Let's clap and say it. Start low and play to the top. I'll play a cool duet with you. (See video and download duet)
Backward Rap!Let's cheer! Say and clap after me:
Backward Rap on the Keys!Let's do the Backward Rap, starting at the top, then going down the keyboard. I'll make a different jazzy duet with you. (Download duet)
Focusing on small groups is a refinement of the "big idea".
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.