Grade: Elementary
Subject: Music

#852. Keyboard centers with Music You Can Read

Music, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Feb 27 17:09:39 PST 1999 by Jess Buice (
Song formats-"Music You Can Read"
Music Notes, Inc., Riverdale, GA USA
Materials Required: Song Format-Keyboard/Xylophone/Tone Bells
Activity Time: Varies
Concepts Taught: note placement associations, fine motor skill development, transfer of visual stimuli to movement,

Keyboard/Piano Center Development

After the tune is known from reading the formats-beats, rhythm, pitch, note letter names, and text, the student can take a copy of the "Keyboard/Xylophone/Tone Bells" to an instrument and learn to play at their individual pace. Those students who have instruments at home are encouraged to take a copy of the formatted song home for additional practice. Certificates are given to incremental advances, or completion of the whole tune.

Start all students playing the letters provided in the format "Keyboard/Xylophone/Tone Bells" with the intention of using the "Music Only" format as skills progress. Introduce fingerings and chords when appropriate to skills.
For students spending too much time at lower thinking skill centers; paper puzzles, listening center, card games, a challenge to complete an appropriate level song before returning to their favorite center is very useful. Upper grade students should build from lower level selections when motor skills develop more slowly.

Example of skill development progression:

Plays melody with one or two fingers, with no attention to rhythm.
Plays melody with one or two fingers, correcting rhythm.
Plays melody with ALL fingers of the RIGHT hand. (song selection is important)
Plays melody with CORRECT fingers {sometimes suggested in the music}.
Plays melody with mirrored fingers of the LEFT hand. (or/both hands together)
Plays HOME PITCH, in left hand while playing melody with RIGHT hand.

Start introducing the third and fourth of the HOME CHORD, adding the transition from the V and the IV CHORDS, when appropriate to skill development.

Fine motor skills develop at individual rates, thus centers provide the opportunity for success at the student's pace. Having fellow classmates help play rounds as a team, or assisting a friend, keeps everyone moving forward in skill development.

Keyboards are available at most salvage stores. Kindergarten will enjoy the smaller keys, so size can be important in motivating success.