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Starting To Play Piano By Number

Starting To Play Piano BY Number

Starting to play Piano By Number is an easy way for a child to get the idea of the piano keyboard. Reading music makes a poor start for most kids. Most piano teachers will say that piano cannot be simplified. They believe that conventional music notation is the only way to properly start a child at the piano.

Regardless of the truth of that statement, the grim statistics don't support the teacher’s view. 9 out of 10 kids who start piano today via these methods will quit within a year.

Read Too Early And You Will Quit

Do kids quit piano because it is inherently difficult, or because the teachers are following an outmoded methodology? Examine the statistics from Piano by Number, and you will see the opposite. 9 out of 10 kids who start piano using numbers are still playing happily a year later, most having discarded Piano by Number for the more sophisticated language of musical notation.

So what is it about musical notation that kids and almost all adults find so confusing, especially in the beginning? The problem is dimensional.

Piano Is Easy

Piano Is Easy Printed Book

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Reading Music Is Multi-Dimensional

Conventional sheet music requires the child to immediately think in several, abstract dimensions. These include  left-right, up-down, time-space, plus a myriad of other conceptual problems. Consider where your fingers go, what finger do I use, what shape should my hand be in?

The list is endless, at least to a six year-old. Teachers make almost no allowance for a child’s confusion and push these concepts at them, repeating the ideas again and again until the kids are dazed and confused. Then, the lesson is over and we do it all again next week. And you wonder why the kids quit.

One Dimension Instead Of Many

Numbered Keyboard

Piano by number is extremely one-dimensional and easy for even disabled children to pick up immediately. Numbers are the first system that kids use to order their universe. I get three cookies. I want two pieces of chicken. Numbers are also the basis of all musical construction.  The relationship between one note and another is expressed as a number: thus the key numbered “1” is a “fifth” away from the key numbered “5.”

Try A Simple Song On Our Online Piano

Here's TWINKLE TWINKLE in numbers so you can see how easy Piano By Number is:

| 1 1 5 5 | 6 6 5 * | 4 4 3 3 | 2 2 1 * | 
| 5 5 4 4 | 3 3 2 * | 5 5 4 4 | 3 3 2 * |

Piano By Number Is Based On Classical Theory

All the concepts in piano by number will be used again when learning how to read music. It is not a system that is “discarded” but rather “modified. Thus the child already has an understanding of the inner workings of music before they ever attempt to read music.

Without this “easy start” that piano by number affords, children are prone to frustration and a sense of worthlessness because they simply cannot get the “hang” of sheet music quickly enough to please an often impatient teacher. How does piano by number work? Just like sheet music, piano by number asks the child to decipher a line of information, moving from left to right, and play it on the piano keyboard.

No Confusing Symbols

All musical symbols such as clefs, rhythm, and expression marks are eliminated. The child can concentrate on the real job, producing the tones of the song on the piano. If you’re setting up the piano for your child to try it, play a few songs yourself so they get the idea. If they see you doing it, they will want to try it themselves. Don’t worry about which hand or finger you use. Just start playing.

I know from experience that every child allowed this “finger freedom” in the beginning will be able to master real fingering when the time comes. In fact, children taught initially by number will learn fingering faster because they are at ease. They have already tried and conquered so many other elements.

Kids Play Willingly

You will start to see the following in your home. Your child will plunk out a little tune when they pass the piano. They’re not practicing; they’re just noodling around, playing as they would with any toy. Never ask them to practice at first. Sit down by the piano with a book and ask them to play you something. No matter how they play it, praise them sincerely.

Then ask for another song. Here’s a trick that always works: ask them to teach you what they know at the piano. Nothing will make them feel more important than to teach you something. Children who play the piano are doing something very difficult and are worthy of praise just for trying.


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!



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