Preschool Piano Games
Preschool piano games are derived from skills kids need to learn. Make games out of these concepts:
- What is left and right at the piano? It has to be second nature.
- What is up and down at the piano? Up/down and left/right are inextricably mixed on the piano keyboard.
- Is it happy music? Does it sound sad? What is mysterious music? Is it dangerous music? Get the child to distinguish these four crucial emotional qualities. Play it yourself or get a CD.
- Try to find Middle C on the piano.
Those are the first skills to explore.
It’s A Game, Not A Lecture
Kids respond to gathering around the piano and playing games with the keyboard rather than listening to a dry lecture or performance. They want “hands on.” It’s not a lesson, it’s a game.
For example, rather than try to start reading music, how about a quick game of finding the groups of two and three black keys, a skill upon which reading music depends?
Or play a simple fingering game, below. Use thumb, index and third finger for every three keys.
Show, Don’t Tell
Show, don’t tell, and get the kids to try playing things, no matter how simple.
For the youngest of kids, the activities may not even occur at the piano, but around it, and reacting to it. Play a jaunty beat, à la Chico Marx, and get the kids to show how you march to a jaunty beat. This makes rhythm physical. Make the music angry and dark, and pretend there is a storm. Do the kids feel the storm? Where can they hide?
Play a glissando up. Sweep your fingers over the white keys as you move to the right/up. Ask the kids what it was like, and if it was up or down.
Now do the same but move down.
The Pattern Of The Black Keys
Now I would concentrate on the two black keys, and get kids to compete to find the most groups of two black keys. Ask if anyone sees a pattern in the black keys. Tell them to come to the piano and show the other kids. Ask someone to find a C. Then ask someone to play every C they can find.
Pretend you’re a carnival barker and have the kids form a line, then each kid has to say “2” or “3” as you point to different groups of black keys.
When you speed up the game, you speed up their brains!