"Snakes" piano sheet music for beginners makes reading notes easier by focusing on just one question: which way does the note go? It can only go up, down, or stay the same. And it doesn't matter where they start!
Pick any piano key!
"Snakes" is the next step after Wormies, another piece of free kids' sheet music. Pick any key on the piano to be the starting note, use only your pointer finger, and you're off to the races!
Make it easy - just one problem at a time!
This piano sheet music for beginners helps by focusing on just one question: which way does the note go? With no clef sign or time signature to muddy the waters, students only need ponder, "Line note? Space note? Moving up -- or down? Or the same!"
Just one finger
Kids like a challenge that calls on a single skill. No finger numbers to worry about -- just use the pointer finger. And you can pick any key to be the starting note! So this is an easy exercise to get perfect.
Quick success is fun for students
It makes them feel smart, and tells me instantly if there's comprehension in their note-reading. Writing big fat notes (an exercise we do frequently as part of learning to read notes) on a whiteboard is one thing -- somehow the notes don't look the same printed small on a page.
Only a bit at a time
For young kids, I might assign just #1 the first week, to be played 2x a day. Next week, #2. Very often, the kids will go ahead on their own, because they find this piano sheet music for beginners so easy.
Don't let them memorize it!
With older kids, I almost always suggest that each day they do a different Snake. This way, they don't quickly memorize the way each exercise sounds. (Memory, though a wonderful asset in itself, can work against sight reading.)
Using the metronome
Sometimes I ask students to play these exercises with the metronome, giving them a Slow, a Medium, and a Fast speed to try. (Tell them NOT to count four beats for each note even though the notes look like whole notes -- but as beginners, they probably won't think of doing that unless their mother is helping them! Just one tick for each note. And set the speeds slower than you might think.)
Playing with a group
When I ask for solos in a group setting of new beginners, kids frequently wish to play a Snake. The other kids and I will follow along (keeping their attention from wandering) by calling out, "Start," (that's what we call the first note, as this is an exercise only about reading steps and not real staff notes), "up - up - up - down, up -" etc.
This idea works with skips (3rds) too
When kids have mastered these exercises, they are usually ready to go on to "Snakes Go for a Walk," which introduces skips into the mix. The skips are "hidden" -- that is, I don't tell them where they are. It can be surprisingly hard to spot them for beginners, so I start it slow; #1 has 1 hidden skip, #2 has 2 hidden skips, etc.
Tips from Martha Beth
I'd like to thank a teacher I know only as Martha Beth for the concept of Worms and Snakes. She has a wonderfully helpful website filled with suggestions on the substance of piano teaching, from how to set up a studio, to piano technique, to piano repertoire. Her site is well worth multiple visits.
I hope your students enjoy this piano sheet music for beginners!
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