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Piano Stickers Work for Reading Music

Relate notes on the page to keys on the piano

Piano stickers work for reading music because reading music is an inherently confusing system. It’s over 800 years old and was devised by monks to record the chants, not to introduce kids to the piano. The system of five lines was actually devised by a brilliant nun in the 11th century, Hildegard von Bingen.

It is said that she was dyslexic, as the two planes, page and piano, are in opposite planes. Their relationship is very hard to understand. Expecting a six year-old to understand this graphic mess is madness.

Multiple Planes And Dimensions
Reading music requires coordination of horizontal and vertical planes. In addition, you have to understand a myriad of other elements. And that’s before we add the piano keyboard into the mix. The keyboard is an entirely different set of visual elements than the notes on the five lines. Let’s try to decipher this, and thus find a relationship between the page and the keyboard.

The Reading Music Stickers

Five blue stickers are five lines of the musical staff

The purpose of the five blue stickers (and the red one) on the piano keyboard is to give a reference point for children.

Kids must coordinate the keys on the piano to the notes on the five lined musical staff. That is where children become confused. The five BLUE stickers define the location of the five lines of the musical staff and the RED sticker defines the location of Middle C.

This allows kids to relate the notes on the page to the to keys on the piano. We repeat the drawing so you can see the relationship between the page (the five lines) and the piano keys below:

Steps To Reading Music
The first step after applying the removable stickers to your piano is to make the child aware of the circular symbol for Middle C. It is the circle in the above drawing with the little horizontal line through it. This is the piano key that corresponds to the RED sticker. See below for the unique look of Middle C.

Start Finding Middle C

Look through some pages of music and help the child identify the graphic symbol for the note Middle C.

Here is a page with lots of Middle C’s to find:


Play The Middle C Game
Make a game of it, saying “Who can point to Middle C on the page first?” Then let them win every time after a few tries. Go through page after page, making a game of finding Middle C on the page. Ask only for this one note, and don’t confuse kids with the other notes.

After the child can easily find Middle C and distinguish it from all other notes, it’s time to find the relationship between Middle C and the piano keyboard. Specifically, the note Middle C is defined as the white key with the RED sticker.

Explore The Five Lines Of The Staff
Once you have established security with Middle C, it’s time to move beyond it. Now find the FIVE horizontal lines and their relationship to the FIVE blue stickers. The five blue stickers mark the five horizontal lines on the page. Children understand this quite quickly, but you must be patient.

First establish that the lowest of the five lines on the page is equal to the blue sticker furthest to the left on the keyboard. See the drawings above.

Beginning Piano Music Focuses On Middle C
All beginning piano music concentrates on the note Middle C and the five white piano keys directly above that. There is no reason to learn the other lines yet. You’ll find that it is a large enough job simply to get a child comfortable with Middle C and the first two of the five lines (the lowest two lines.)

Some kids take years to really absorb these first five notes. Once they understand, they move very quickly and become very good sight readers.

Lines And Spaces
All of this is introduced slowly in I Can Read Music, whose actual purpose is to get the child comfortable with the first five white keys, that is, Middle C and the four white keys above it. One of the main reasons that most conventional methods are a failure for children is because these methods move too quickly into naming notes and assigning fingers.

You should first make absolutely sure that the child can find the visual relationship between the notes on the page and the keys on the piano.

Why Piano By Number First?
We suggest, however, that you not even attempt the above steps until you’ve first introduced your child to the piano using Piano By Number. The reason for this is simple. It’s easier to teach reading music to a child who can already play dozens of songs at the piano.
You stand a far greater chance of success at reading music, which is, after all, the real goal. Then slowly begin to introduce the elements of reading music using the careful steps outlined above.


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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