Printable piano chord chart -- here's an easy way to help piano keyboard students remember major and minor chords -- group them in look-alike "families."
Call them names!
Call the white-note chords "Snowman" chords; the black-note-in-the-middle chords "Hamburger" chords, and the black-on-the-outside, white-on-the-inside chords "Oreo" or "Ice Cream Sandwich" chords. The others, call them the "Oddballs." The kids catch on very quickly.
These cute names are actually not my own ideas, though I use them all the time with my students. They come from the piano theory books of TCW Resources , voluminous and thorough theory books with lots of really fun worksheets and good ideas. They also have different sets of card games that illustrate the chords on my keyboard chord chart.
You will have to do a bit of drawing on the chart above, to make it look like the one below, which is not printable.
The second graphic, shown below, demonstrates how I hand-draw little circles above the chord families.
This sheet of piano chords is not printable.
I couldn't get a good PDF for this document, so you can do what I do for my students: draw in the circles -- or bars, like piano keys! -- for them, or better yet, let THEM draw in the image you think will help them remember. (Circles seem natural to me, since they look like whole notes.)
Improvise with the chords to build familiarity
I like to ask keyboard students to choose 3 or 4 chords and make up a pattern or a song. This is a fun way for them to get to know chords better. One thing that really stands out to them with this music chords chart, once I pencil in the circles, is that the B chords are wacky! Each one is unique. With the B chords, a common saying in my studio is, "White on the bottom, black on top. Black on the bottom, white on top."
I draw these chord shapes on assignment sheets all the time
Later on, when the kids are learning to do inversions and they have forgotten what the root position of a chord looks like, it really helps for them to have the 3-dots drawing scribbled on their lesson assignment sheet. Jogs the memory.
I hope you find this printable piano chords chart helpful in your music studio!
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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you....I have a lot of books on graded pieces but not a lot of beginner pieces. I use material I have written myself together with books I encourage my parents to buy... but sometimes parents just can't afford a book- and as a teacher you sometimes do find your self searching for material....Thank you thank you thank you once again!
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Helpful Piano Sites
EyeEarRevolution (a blog)
Martha Beth's Piano Site
Piano Music for Boys (Teach Piano Today)
Piano Adventures Forum
Susan Paradis Teacher Resources
Miggy, United Kingdom:
I've just found your website and I think I've died and gone to heaven. I've just taken up the piano again after 35 years absence... buying sheet music was getting expensive/a luxury. The tips are great too. I also live in the middle of nowhere so buying from a shop is not really an option unless I fancy a 120 mile round trip for a piece of sheet music!
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