Saturday, August 17, 2013

Teaching Toddlers & Preschoolers How to Play Chords on the Piano

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I was inspired by this post on Living Montessori Now, where she used stickers to encourage the kids to play major and minor scales.  So I used that technique for this chord activity.

Teaching toddlers and preschoolers how to play chords on the piano from And Next Comes L

I began by placing stickers on what would be the C Major chord (C-E-G).  I later moved to other white keys only chords (D-F-A, then E-G-B, etc.).  If you have knowledge of the major and minor keys, you could work on major and minor chords separately, but for those of you who are self-proclaimed "unmusical," this will make it easier for you.  Just remember to skip over a white key when building your chords.

Teaching toddlers and preschoolers how to play chords on the piano from And Next Comes L

Right away, K, with J supervising, started to play the notes with the stickers on them.

Playing chords on the piano using dot stickers from And Next Comes L

Playing chords on the piano using dot stickers from And Next Comes L

Playing chords on the piano using dot stickers from And Next Comes L

The boys played the notes one at a time, which, as I told them, is a broken chord.  I then illustrated how to play all three notes at the same time, telling them that I was playing a solid chord.

As you work through the chords, encourage your child to describe the sound.  Does the chord sound happy?  Or sad?  Or just plain weird?  Those happy sounding ones are the major chords, while the sad sounding ones are the minor keys.  And the weird one...well, that's a diminished chord (like B-D-F).

And K, being the toddler that he is, tried to pick the stickers off...

K playing chords from And Next Comes L

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4 comments:

  1. I'm an "unmusical" parent of children who want to learn how to play the guitar and piano. I, also, don't have the $$ to pay for thirty minute lessons most of the time. I went online to Youtube and found a virtual "teacher" and taught my eldest son to play "Happy Birthday" and a Christmas song that I cannot remember which one. Just like you, I put stickers on the keys to help my son learn the song.

    It worked! I'm happy to say he can play the birthday song from memory. Glad to see you use the stickers too. I thought I was somehow cheating.

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't call it cheating. I would say it's just a different teaching method, one that appeals to those that are more visual learners. :)

      And it worked great for K who isn't quite two years old!

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    2. I am a college student who teaches private instrument lessons to kids, some as young as 2/3. I used animal cut outs to help learn the names of the natural keys but never thought to apply the same kind of concept to chords! Thanks for sharing!

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