Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

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Basic Piano Chords for Kids

 

 

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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

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BASIC PIANO CHORDS FOR KIDS

Piano chords are important for children to learn not only because chords are the DNA of music theory, but because chords will allow children to play a simple accompaniment with their left hand without having to read left hand piano music (the bass clef.)

Think of chords as three piano keys, one on top of the other. Take any white piano key and skip a white key. Play the next key. You now have two white keys separated by an unused white key in between. That is a chord in its most simplified form for children's use.

Kids readily understand this, just as they understand how to create with blocks and Legos. Stack them on top of each other.

Chords taught as an abstract, single-handed game, are an easy idea to pick up.

It is when you want to have the child play chords in one hand and then a melody in the other that you run into problems.

Children's brains are in varying states of hemispheric separation and this accounts for the difficulty some (younger) kids have in playing with two hands. It is best to separate the two skills, playing with both hands, and chords, to prevent this confusion.

For a child who has difficulty with two hands, it is excruciating to watch. The discomfort is palpable and real: they are in mental distress and the teacher needs to find ways to dilute the suffering or they will become "allergic to left hand," as one child put it.

But you can and should embark on an exploration of chords, one-handed if necessary.

All chords are played in root position, and you should allow the child to play two-note chords (omitting one of the three members) if that is what comes easily to them.

The C chord is the center of the child's harmonic universe. Next come F and G.

Work with those three chords and the literally billions of songs that use primarily only them.

I often explain that the three chords C, F and G are like the primary colors, blue, yellow and red. Children readily understand that analogy.

When the child is comfortable with the "Big Three," teach the D chord, which has a black key in the middle. Once again, a two note D chord is all that most children's hands can reach.

Once you have taught the D chord, and teaching those first four chords could take a year for it to be automatic, you are ready for minor chords.

Calculating the minor chord is a difficult task for a child at first. It requires several levels of learning. They must know the major form of the chord, and then move the middle key down one, a move that is fraught with peril for kids, especially if you have not cemented the black/white and up/down skills securely.

If not, secure those skills first before learning minor chords.

Once the child is over the hump of playing with both hands, playing chords and melody becomes an excellent way of developing the interaction of the brain hemispheres, especially for children who haven't become proficient with reading music for the bass clef (the left hand.)

Sometimes you have to reduce the two-handed act to a ridiculous level. To demonstrate that there is nothing to fear, I ask them to play a C chord in the left hand, and the key numbered one (Middle C.)

This is very simple and they do it readily. Then I explain that really playing with two hands is like that, but a billion times more difficult. Don't force them to play with two hands, convince them that it is easy if you do it a bit at a time.

In fact, developing the interaction of the hemispheres is one of the most valuable activities that piano can provide to a child.

It has been shown that the ganglia connecting the two hemispheres of the brain are 40% larger in musicians.

Piano training is brain training. 

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2011 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: 

1. 107 page illustrated THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT Book with 44 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers   

2. 120 page illustrated PIANO IS EASY Book with 50 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers 

3. 50 page I CAN READ MUSIC Book 

4. 132 page TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP Book, 56 minute DVD Video and removable stickers 

5. 141 page THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER Book with 130 songs, and removable stickers 

6. 88 page EASY CLASSICAL PIANO BY NUMBER Book with 10 songs, and removable stickers, and 29 minute Play Along Audio CD 

6 BOOKS, DVD AND 3 PLAY ALONG AUDIO CDS 

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