WHY COLORS? WHY ROTE?Studies have shown that brain development from applied music is greater the younger a child begins to learn to play an instrument. So, we need to use a teaching method that young children can understand and proceed in a real step by step process.
In my experience most 3 years olds (and younger) recognize many colors. When we color code those little fingers with a washable marker dot they are able to use a correctly color coded finger on a color coded key.
At this point the child is simply matching the colors. In most cases the pattern of the piano keys is not even noticed - just a color to color match. However, the color pattern of the song is being memorized, the first step to developing the memory reflex. The motion of the hand is also being set into muscle memory - the beginning of thousands of motions for the piano. If the song - like the easy Tick Tock - has been sung (Lyrics are included in SHOW ME.) simple rhythm is also being set in place. Videos for the first 6 songs (plus Jingle Bells) are on youtube: 6 Songs: words and colors.
Matching colors, repetitive hand motions and rhythm can all be taught doing other activities, but when done with the piano, they are the first steps to learning to play the instrument! A child able to play a song on the piano has a real sense of accomplishment as well. They know when they have played a real song. And then there is that incredible brain development from learning to play a musical instrument at a very young age!
When the child is at the level of trying to play the song by memory, key patterning arrives! MIDI keyboards or controllers (25 key OK) may be attached to the tablet or computer to work with the Anybody Can Play Piano app. At the beginning of any song, Busy Buzzy Bumblebee flies over the on-screen keyboard and places color coded dots on all the keys that will be used. The screen remains until the “continue” is touched allowing the user time to color code an attached piano keyboard if needed.
Once a child is at this point, games can be played like…”Why don’t we take off one of the dots on the keys? Video: Making removable stickers What color do you think you don’t need?” I have removable round dots in the five proper colors. Before I actually found square dots in the same colors, I just cut my circles in half for left hand keys. (At this point the arrow and cartoon note assistance on the computer/tablet screen can be hidden if desired, but appears when a mistake is made.)
I have actually had students as young as 3 in the past who wanted to play their own songs - not “my” songs. This can be done as well, but have structure to this activity so the child is not just banging around on the keys and calling it a song. Have them color code a paper keyboard. (I always request that they use only 5 keys in a row so the song will be easier for me to learn.) Then have them “write” their song in colors. This works well and the other children enjoy playing a friend’s song. Usually the child also “writes” words for the song. And, in every case, after writing a song or two they decide to play “my” songs as well as their own because “my” songs show them new things to do with their songs.
This anybodycanplay website has many worksheets, lessons, and videos pertaining to patterning with piano keys. They are not necessary. The app alone is sufficient, but the additional activities reinforce all the learning.
Anybody Can Play PIANO APPTo subscribe to the Anybody Can Play PIANO app in Windows 10 click here.
First week is free - $1.99/mo to continue.
EZPianoNotesEZ Piano Notes (an Apple App) features Busy Buzzy Bumblbee for enhancing the learning of notes. To subscribe click here. First week free - then $1.99 total cost.