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A History of Piano Numbers

Piano By Number is not a new idea. It has been around since at least the 18th century, in the form of "figured bass" (in Bach's time.) Numbering the fingers was commonplace by the nineteenth century. This helped beginners find the notes because the numbers were a reference point.

But the hard and fast rule for conventional piano teachers is that reading music must be learned first, and the music literature later. As a result, 90% of the students who start piano only reading music quit within a year. The horrible truth is that, by only reading music, you are limited to whatever music you can read. Thus if you are happy playing London Bridge for 10 years, go ahead.

Conventional Piano Methods Are Uninspiring

So who is to blame? The teachers or the students? The fact is that conventional methods fail to inspire 9 out of 10 kids who try the piano. That is the industry statistic. But kids who start with Piano By Number have much greater longevity in their lessons, and this is because they started having fun and making music right away.

Use Both Numbers And Notes

Some kids go on to reading music quite easily, but most kids need the easy cushion of numbers to make piano fun enough to continue, year after year. You have a choice between a student quitting completely, or dawdling along playing at their own comfort level until they wake up and really want to play. Musical notation confuses kids.

In contrast, numbers allow anyone to start constructing viable music immediately. Even three year-olds understand numbers. Sheet music uses dozens of dimensions to express the same musical construction in great detail.

What Reading Music Requires

Conventional sheet music, even of the simplest variety, has four dimensions which must be simultaneously understood. One, find the correct buttons (keys) on the piano. Two, memorize the names for the keys in all 88 positions on the piano keyboard. Three, use the correct finger (a totally separate system) for each key. Four, play every key at the correct instant.

These four elements are difficult for kids to manipulate. This is why kids fail at the piano. Yet it is an instrument at which they could easily succeed. A simplified method produces an entirely different result.

Confusion Reigns Supreme

In conventional piano lessons, kids are "thrown into the water" with the below two elements: five horizontal lines and a piano keyboard.

Five lines above, keyboard below.

The combination of the two graphic systems (above) is utterly confusing to kids. Their brains are not equipped to see the relationship between them. It's like giving algebra problems to a five year-old. Numbers requires only one thing: find the keys ("buttons") that produce a familiar song you like. Music, even in the ultra-simplistic dialect of numbers, is for everyone, not just those who can decipher, at 6 years old, an ancient, complex graphic system.


We've turned notes into numbers for happy beginners at the piano!


Our PLAY ALONG SONGS are produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Castellon of Sesame Street. They're such an important element in making the piano fun for kids and helping get a good start.



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