Reinforcing counting skills with Piano By Number is one of the best uses of this method for preschoolers.
Many children of preschool age are still sorting out numbers and counting in their minds, trying to get a handle on the order of things.
Yes, there are exceptions, notable ones, in which children of two are able to count and compute, but these are not the qualities of the average child.
Aside from the intellectual benefits that piano study bestows, preschool kids find it a fun way to play with numbers, combining the secure logic of numbers with the fun of pleasing sounds.
In front of the child are the numbers from 1-12, placed via stickers on the white keys.
Many children in the earliest age groups are able to say the numbers from 1-12, and count them, but are only just discovering what the GRAPHIC symbols are for them.
While it is an easy thing to be able to say the numbers, it is another skill entirely, usually developed later, to read them with your eye.
With the numbers in front of them on the keyboard, it is an easy matter to engage them in counting games using music.
Consider MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB, presented here in the Piano by Number format:
Mary Had A Little Lamb
3 2 1 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 3 3
Just playing the opening three notes ( 3 2 1) requires an understanding of the concept of DOWN, and LEFT.
It also instills the pre-reading notion that information on printed pages tends to start, for us Westerners, on the left side of the page.
We suggest that you not worry at first which fingers are used. This is less of a piano lesson and more of a number and counting lesson. Fingering is best approached later when kids have a sense of confidence with the piano.
Try ascending games, playing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. The child will want to go all the way to the top of the keyboard. Go ahead, it’s a game. Go down the keys from the top. Count the white keys. Count the black keys.
Try playing skips, like 1 3 5 7 9 11.
Try playing skips like 2 4 6 8 10 12.
Play “Which Number is Higher?” in which you play a numbered key and ask, “What is the next highest (or lowest) key?” Many intellectual skills start to be learned by playing simple piano number games such as these.
In addition to being mathematical fun for children, Piano by Number begins the process of familiarizing the child with the piano keyboard, and lays the foundation for many basic musical concepts such as up/down, left/right, upon which the architecture of conventional musical notation is based.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press