Many of my students, the younger ones and the ones with special needs in particular, find it hard to remember the names of the white piano keys. They mix the C's with the G's the G's with the D's and they go back to the C and count their way up to find the correct names of the keys. If you have a similar problem, read on, this post will surely be helpful.
Here are 3 steps that I use to make this process easy, fun and make the concept stick.
Teach the black key pattern:
You may be surprised, but not all children can see this pattern clearly, and unless the child can see the pattern easily, you can teach nothing. One of the students with down syndrome that I taught needed 3 lessons to see the pattern and find the different groups of black keys easily.
Play games and race with your student finding the groups of twos and threes up and down the piano. First with the right hand, then with the left hand. Many times until it becomes fast, automatic and without hesitation. Use popsicle sticks and be as creative as you can.
Tell the big house and small house story
Print out a copy of the image above, laminate it to use it over and over again.
Explain how the three black keys make a big house and the two black keys make a small house. After that, tell a story of GRANDMA who is living in the big house with a FRONT door and a BACK door. She is baking an APPLE pie. Next to her big house there is a small house where her pets, the CAT, the DOG and the ELEPHANT live.
Play colored popsicle sticks games to make the concept stick
Here are a few ideas of what you can do:
Place the yellow sticks on the groups of 3 black keys and orange on the groups of 2 black keys.
Place the red sticks on the C's.
You compete with the student, you use purple and the student yellow sticks. The winner finds more E's.