UNIT 1 Lesson Book page 10

Two Black Ants

  • 2-black-key groups
  • 3-black-key groups
  • Finding 2-black-key groups
  • Using LH fingers 2 and 3
  • Playing a piece in the lower range of the keyboard

let’s get started


Show how the black keys are divided into groups of 2s and 3s.


Ask the student to bring all the LH fingertips together, like a bubble. Start in the middle of the piano and touch all the groups of 2 black keys going lower.


Look at the music that shows two black ants marching down the page. While I play the song, you point to the numbers as they go lower. Say aloud with me, “2-3, together__!”
see video


We could say, “2-3, together” can be called a musical pattern. How many times is this pattern played? (4) The student may circle each time it occurs.
see video

Creating an original pattern is evidence that a student understands what a pattern is.

explore & create

  • The Ants Crawl Up
    Start at the bottom and play fingers 2-3 together, going up to the middle.
  • Ear Training
    Use LH fingers 2-3. Close your eyes! I’ll play a short pattern. You play it back!

    (Note: First, play fingers 2-3 together using a simple rhythm pattern (        ). Then try individual fingers. Tell the student you will always begin the pattern with finger 2. Ex. 2-2 3-3)

  • Compose a Piece on the 2 Black Keys
    Use LH fingers 2 and 3. Make up your own short pattern. Play it on the middle group of 2 black keys. Then play it on each lower group of 2 black keys. You composed your own piece!
    see video
  • Review Technique Secrets 1-3 and their Exercises for Two Black Ants. Pose questions and remind students of the names of the Exercises as needed.

    “Which Exercise helps us to sit with Good Posture?” Then ask, “Can you do Karate Pose?”
    Secret 1: GOOD POSTURE
    Exercise: Karate Pose

    “Which Exercise helps us form a rounded hand shape?” Follow with, “Can you do Blooming Flowers?”
    Exercise: Blooming Flowers

    “Which Exercise helps us with firm fingertips?” Then ask, “Can you do Making O’s?”
    Exercise: Making O’s

  • Many students find keeping a firm fingertip to be a challenge. Realize that Two Black Ants is a first piece. It is an ongoing skill to develop firm fingertips. Because the two black ants are quiet creatures, the student may play softly to prevent the fingertip from collapsing.

pedagogy pointers

We find our way around the keyboard by means of the black keys. So learning those two and three black keys is a natural introduction to piano “geography.” The student is introduced, at the same time, to directional reading that is off the staff.

Using pre-reading notation, a student can begin to see that music is made up of patterns—note or melody patterns, fingering patterns, rhythm patterns, and aural patterns. This is the best way for a beginning piano student to learn to read— in groups, rather than note-by-note.

Guide the student to read patterns, not individual notes or finger numbers.
Pre-reading notation (off the staff) begins the visual process of directional reading.