The fours piano game was invented to show kids about rhythm in the most basic way possible. What I wanted to demonstrate was the cyclical nature of rhythm, which is easy for young kids to get because the cycle of rhythm repeats again and again.
So it is easy to vary this game into twos, ones, threes, any number a sharp child can devise. I’ve played 14’s with a smile on my face, and the kid made it all the way to the top of the piano (#29, of course.)
It takes a lot of coordination and thought to play this game. Some kids, never having played it, have never counted to a number in their minds, as musicians do, over and over again. 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4. That sequence of events never occurred to them before.
Add to that navigating their way up the white keys at the same time, and you have a perfect, what I like to jokingly call, Marine Coordination Test. It takes about five different skills just to succeed at this simple game.
Doing this is by no means easy, and it is gentle fun to watch their tender minds misfire, playing 123, 1234, 1 2, 1 2, 1 2 3, 1 2 3. We laugh and try again. Here’s a video to show you how.
You can try a variation using both the black and the white keys, any number you wish of each, with the chords:
STUDENT: 1 1 1 1 #1#1#1#1 2 2 2 2 etc
TEACHER : C A7 Dm B7 Em C#7 F#m Eb7 Abm F7 Bbm G7 (repeat)
You can also try the black keys only, which kids really enjoy. Whatever the teacher does, the rhythm must be steady, as the kids like the game-show aspect of having to follow an unforgiving count, failing, and trying again.Share on Facebook