For many kids, weekly piano lessons can be alternatively a source of joy or a chore imposed by their parents. The piano is a common first instrument since children need to learn both the treble and bass clef, along with the chords and arpeggios that span the two note ranges. This knowledge of musical theory rolls over to playing different instruments. For actually producing music, there are a number of easy pieces of sheet music for kids.
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"Mary Had a Little Lamb"
A musical rendition of this kid's rhyme uses the first few notes children learn on the piano, making it ideal for them to use to begin making music they recognise as such. This will be a welcome break from the simple scales and technical exercises upon which children cut their musical teeth. While the song can be played using single notes, the teacher can also modify the music to include simple chords at the end of each verse.
"Ode to Joy" Theme
The "Ode to Joy" theme, from the climax of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, is one of the more famous movements in classical music. While the entirety of the symphony's score is an imposing undertaking for advanced musicians, the melody of the "Ode to Joy" theme can be broken down to a simpler version which kids can play after taking lessons for a few weeks. The song can either be played with one hand in the treble clef, or adding notes to the left hand in the bass range.
Another Beethoven composition, "Fur Elise," is a composition for kids becoming comfortable using both hands while they play. The majority of the tune is played with the right hand in the treble range, but has a number of notes for the left hand in the bass range for musical emphasis as the tune develops. Playing the musical piece can mark a point of accomplishment for the child, as he will be playing his first piece of "real" music, instead of watered-down tunes.
"Waltzing Matilda" is a folk song from Australia. The song is about a "swagman," a transient Australian temporary worker or nomad. "Waltzing Matilda" refers to him travelling with his sack. The song can be either played in the key of C, which students will probably have the most experience with, or in the key of D. Playing the song in D will let the child practice the B-minor chord.
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- Music For Music Teachers: "Waltzing Matilda"
- Music For Music Teachers: "Fur Elise" for Beginner Piano
- Music For Music Teachers: "Ode to Joy" Piano Music for Beginners
- Music For Music Teachers: "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
- National Library of Australia: "Swaggies, Tuckerbags and Jumbucks" --- What The Words Mean