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Selecting Children's Songs for the Piano

Selecting Children's Songs for the Piano

There is a general rule for selecting children's songs for the piano. All piano methods begin with songs only on the white keys. 

This makes it easier for children. Leave the black keys for later when they are familiar with the landscape of the piano. Avoid the confusing, irregular pattern of the black keys at first. This allows kids to start easily and without confusion.

Piano Is Easy

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Start With The White Keys

The white keys form a nice, easy-to-navigate stairway. All piano keys are 3/4 inch wide, consistent and inviting. A perfect example is Mary Had A Little Lamb. This song uses the white keys, and almost all the notes are adjacent, a big plus for little kid's fingers.

Mary Had A Little Lamb

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

Start With Very Simple Songs

Remember that, for the very first songs the child plays, you are deliberately choosing a rather modest hill to climb. The easier you can make it, the better. 
Expecting children to immediately adopt and comprehend some complex (to them) piano method is a recipe for frustration. This means delaying fingering and rhythm until they have gotten a good start using their own childish devices.
 As lessons continue, select the songs the child will play carefully, taking care that each choice is a familiar song that is easy to play.

Choose Songs With Simple Hand Movements

What physical movements are difficult for a 5 or 6 year old? We don't mean on a permanent basis, but only at first. Remember that a child's first impression of piano lessons is about all that matters.

Make it too difficult initially and you will lose them right away. It depends on the child, but here are a few guidelines that will help you choose the right songs: Leaping from note to note is rather harder than moving to adjacent notes. Thus, some songs are harder than others. Choose the easiest ones. Find songs with largely adjacent notes. Build up to harder songs with more leaps.

Playing With Both Hands

Playing with both hands at once introduces needless complexities. Avoid it at first, unless they play the single melody with both hands. This is fine, because in using both hands to play a single line, the child is showing their natural tendencies. Make a note of it.

Songs on the white keys include:

Jingle Bells

The First Noel

Twinkle Twinkle

Go with their "fingering flow," no matter how ridiculous the posture.

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