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Math, Piano and Kids

Math, Piano and Kids

Math, piano and kids are closely related. The scientific relationship between music and math is undeniable. Every note you hear is an exact ratio of every other note you hear. Carefully measured units of time become “rhythm.” Musical construction is based on numbers. Because of this, we selected numbers as the basis of our teaching system.

For example, the distance between the notes C and G (1 and 5 in Piano By Number) is also called a “fifth” in classical music theory. Piano By Number thus follows exactly the enumeration of the classical intervals (the distances between the notes.) Classical music theory is the basis of all the theory in Piano By Number.

Numbers Are Instinct To Kids
Children dance instinctively. Playing the piano is no more than a very complex dance played with your fingers. Rhythm and counting are the very basis of their leisure activities. Kids count their cookies, their toys, their french fries. Numbers are an integral part of their lives. The piano is a good source of self esteem, and the reason for this is that numbers are second nature to a child.

Piano Is Easy

Math In Every Aspect Of Piano
The mathematical construction of the piano keyboard is in itself a miracle, and easily understood by a child. The black keys are in groups of twos and threes. That’s math to a six year old. The piano keyboard is an analog instrument, so every note has a single, unique key that is the trigger. There are 88 notes corresponding to 88 buttons (keys).

In contrast, three buttons are all a child has to create all the notes on a trumpet. The child must memorize dozens of combinations. But at the piano, all you need is an index finger, and you can play any song you like. Especially if you’re six.

Piano Functions Require Math

Next, the mathematical basis of the keyboard reinforces basic physical concepts. It easy to see that “up” is to the right when you see the numbers 1-12 on the keys. This may be helpful to a child unsure of which is left and which is right, or unclear whether 10 is higher than 8. Piano fingering is another area in which math is essential. The fingers are numbered 1-5. The child is forced to associate the numbers with the fingers, or they are crippled at the piano.

Piano study also leads to an introduction of more advanced, even quasi-algebraic concepts. For example, a child sees the chord symbol C, and later sees the symbol Cm. The child is responsible for knowing that the “m” requires one of the three members of the chord to move from the original position. Thus music begins the process of “interpolation,” where one is asked to infer more information based on what you see.

Interpolation And Procedures
Kids learn that there are “procedures” that one follows when shown certain symbols. Music and math part ways for a child, usually when they can play a recognizable tune, like Pop Goes The Weasel. This is an acceptable, fun use of math to a child. (Algebra, of course, is useless to a child.) Try the song on the online piano below:

| 1 * 1 | 2 * 2 | 3 5 3 | 1 * * |
| 1 * 1 | 2 * 4 | 3 * * | 1 * * |


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!



Our books and videos are created by Emmy Award winning composer and leading children's educator John Aschenbrenner. Get your child happily started at the piano!



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