I often see students in India paste sticky tapes with letter names on their keyboard. Some even write on the keys (I don’t know if this happens abroad too). This not only makes your beautiful white keys look dirty, but actually handicaps your playing because you start depending on the tapes.
As a matter of fact, there is absolutely no need to do that. You can easily learn the names of the keys in less than 10 minutes. It’s that simple.
This is how I teach my students
- The keyboard is made up of Black Keys and White Keys.
- The Black Keys occur in series of two’s and three’s.
- I ask the child to touch the set of “Two Black Keys” on the entire Keyboard
- I ask the child to touch the set of “Three Black Keys” on the entire Keyboard
In fact, the entire keyboard is nothing but a repetition of the pattern shown below
I take a piece of Card paper and fold it to form a little roof that I place over the “Two Black Keys” …and then I tell them a little story.
This my friends is a Kennel. Of course you know who lives there, don’t you ?
“D” for Dog. So all you have to do to locate your “D” notes on the Keyboard is to find the other Kennels on the keyboard i.e. “Two Black Keys”.
Please be careful not to place your roof on the three Black Keys.
Now I take an unfolded card paper and place it upon the “Three Black Keys”
Now this is my Fruit Shop.
I have “G” for grapes inside the first compartment…
…and I have “A” for Apple inside my second Compartment.
- Now play all the “G” notes on the Keyboard.
- Then play all the “A” notes on the Keyboard.
The Three Keys we learnt to identify so far are the ones that lie between the Black keys. The two Black Keys help us to identify all the “D” notes and the Three Black Keys help to identify all the “G” and the “A” Notes.
Children love stories. So here is my silly little story.
The Dog in the Kennel is asked by his master to Guard the fruits in the Fruit Shop. There is a frog who wants to steal the Grapes and Apples. So Mr Frog picks up his cell phone and calls his friend “C” for Cat to distract the “D” for Dog.
The Cat sneaks in from the Left side of the Kennel and tries to distract the Dog. The Cat goes “Meow” and the Dog says “Bow Wow”…and Mr “F” for Frog could not steal the Grapes and Apples because the Cat stood to the left and there was no way he could sneak in without being noticed by the Dog in the Kennel.
Now I ask the students to locate all the “C” notes on the Keyboard. Can you show me where the Cat stood?
The story continues…
Now “F” for frog thinks to himself, “I need someone really BIG to come and stand on the Right side of the Kennel so that the Dog won’t see me steal the Grapes and Apples”.
So again Mr “F” for Frog picks up his cell phone and calls another of his friend…”E” for Elephant.
“E” for Elephant comes and stands to the “Right” side of the Kennel blocking the view of the Grapes and Apples.
Now I ask the students to locate all the “E” notes on the Keyboard. Can you show me where the Elephant stood?
The story continues…
Now Mr “F” for Frog is very happy that the Dog cannot see the Grapes and Apples since the Elephant is standing on the Right of the Kennel. Mr Frog slowly hops to the Left of the Fruit Shop and is ready to steal the Grapes and Apples.
Now I ask the students to locate all the “F” notes on the Keyboard. Can you show me where the Frog stood?
The story continues…
Mr Frog is about to steal the Grapes and Apples and suddenly a sound…Bzzzzzzzzzz. There was a “Bee” hiding to the Right of the Fruit Shop.
“Don’t you dare steal the grapes and Apples or I’ll sting you”, says the Bee to the Frog.
“I’m sorry” says the Frog. “I’ve been such a Bad Frog, I know its a bad thing to steal. I promise I will never steal again ”
“That’s Ok” says the Bee.
“I want to be good. How can I be a good?” asked the Frog to the Elephant.
“I have an idea” say’s the Cat. “Why don’t we all stay right here and make some MUSIC”.
They all agree and they made Music happily ever after.
Now I ask the students to locate all the “B” notes on the Keyboard. Can you show me where the Bee Flew?