UNIT 1 Lesson Book page 11

Two Blackbirds

  • Playing 2-black-key groups in the higher keyboard range
  • Using RH fingers 2 and 3
  • Going up the keyboard equals playing higher
  • The RH should float up from group to group, flexing gently at the wrist.

let’s get started


Bring all your RH fingertips together, like a bubble. Start in the middle and touch all the 2-black-key groups going higher.


These two blackbirds fly up the keyboard—higher to the sky. The musical pattern is the same as Two Black Ants. How many times does the pattern repeat? (4) The student may circle each pattern.


Use RH fingers 2-3. On the closed keyboard lid, try the pattern, “2-3, together___.”


Now let’s begin in the middle and play this short pattern on the 2-black-key groups going up the keyboard.


Let your RH float gently up to each group.
see video

explore & create

  • The Birds Fly Down
    Start at the top and play RH fingers 2-3, going down to the middle. (Note: Coach the student to always begin the pattern with finger 2.)
  • Ear Training on the 2 Black Keys
    Use RH fingers 2-3. Close your eyes! I’ll play a short pattern. You play it back!

    Now I’ll close my eyes. You make up a short pattern for me to repeat.

  • Transposing to the White Keys
    Turn the blackbirds into two snowflakes. Slide RH fingers 2-3 down to the two white keys (C-D). Try it with a duet.
    see duet appendix
  • Improvise a Snow Storm
    Create a swirling snow storm. You can play any white keys with my duet.
    see video see duet appendix
  • Technique Secrets Review
    Two Blackbirds uses Technique Secrets 1-3. This time can you demonstrate the Exercise and I will tell you the name of it? (The student may refer to pp. 4-5 in the Technique & Artistry Book.)

    Secret 1: GOOD POSTURE
    Student does Karate Pose
    and teacher names it.

    Student does Blooming Flowers
    and teacher names it.

    Student does Making O’s
    and teacher names it.

theory book

  • Low and High Sounds (p. 3)
    Blackbirds and ants are a visual guide for coloring the groups of black keys from low to high. On the white keys below, ants and birds set the pace for coloring either a lower or higher key.

pedagogy pointers

Now the RH has an opportunity to play a piece that moves up the keyboard. The fingering and rhythm patterns are the same as Two Black Ants, making it easy to focus on the new concept— to go higher up the keyboard.

Take the necessary time to establish an easy wrist-arm-shoulder connection—key to a fluid technique! Some children do this in a natural way. Others will need specific guidance and time to judge for themselves whether they are moving gracefully from octave to octave.

A creative change can transform drill into a musical experience.