Children are often confused when they try to correlate the notes on the page to the keys on the piano.
Below is a depiction of the elements with which a child is expected to start reading music: five horizontal lines, and a piano keyboard.
Above, there is no visual reference point on the piano. To a child, the piano keyboard is an ocean of white and black buttons with no apparent organization, not to mention the series of five lines (on the page) which have no apparent pattern and bear no apparent relation to the confusing, different pattern of the piano keys.
Then, when given a reference point, as in the drawing below, children relax and start developing visual habits and confidence.
Above you'll see a piano keyboard with the colored stickers applied as in our book I CAN READ MUSIC.
Above that you'll see a diagram of a "musical staff," which is the group of five horizontal lines.
Each black arrow in the diagram above points down to a white piano key with a blue sticker, except for the black arrow on the far left, which points to "Middle C," which is the white key with the RED sticker.
WHY PIANO STICKERS WORK FOR CHILDREN
The BLUE stickers define the location of the FIVE lines of the musical staff (the FIVE lines are the "musical staff") and the RED sticker defines the location of Middle C.
The stickers reduce uncertainty about note reading to a minimum.
With the stickers in place, kids will fumble much less at reading music, and you can get more done than just finding notes on the page, like playing music and exploring the piano.
CONCENTRATE ON MIDDLE C AT FIRST
The first step after applying the stickers is to make the child aware of the circular symbol for Middle C, which is the circle in the drawing below with the little horizontal line through it:
You need to look through some pages of music and help the child identify the graphic symbol for the note Middle C (the symbol directly above this, the circle with the little line through it.)
Make a game of it, saying "Who can point to Middle C on the page first?" and then let them win every time after a few tries.
Play some games in which the child sees the note Middle C on a page, and then has to play it on the piano keyboard, finding the white key with the RED sticker. You can try it on the keyboard below by using your mouse to click on the keys:
All that is necessary for quite a while is for the child to be familiar with three basic elements: 1) the location of Middle C, 2) the location of the lowest of the five lines, the first blue sticker, and 3) the location of the second of the five lines, the second blue sticker.
The reason for this is that all piano lessons for beginners concentrate on the note Middle C and the five white piano keys directly above that.
It's not necessary to name the notes, nor is it necessary to make the child use a certain finger to play a certain note.
In fact, naming notes and using certain fingers (at first) actually deflects kids from the REAL task, which is to become comfortable with finding the relationship between the five notes on the page and the five keys on the piano.
WHY PIANO BY NUMBER FIRST?
You stand a far greater chance of success at reading music, which is, after all, the real goal, if you first make the child comfortable with playing the piano using a simple, transparent and immediate method such as PIANO BY NUMBER.
Then SLOWLY begin to introduce the elements of reading music using the careful steps outlined above on this page, or in our fun book for kids, I CAN READ MUSIC.