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