- 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__!”
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.