Black Notes Songs for Beginners

Playing on the black notes is a great way to start for small hands.  

Playing up on the black keys helps shape beginners' hands, and songs that are fun to play will induce them to practice lots, hopefully, and strengthen those tiny muscles.  

The songs on this page, you can download FREE. 

Please check out my new book, "JUST THE BLACK KEYS", which has 20 additional songs and TEACHER ACCOMPANIMENTS!

Black keys song - a piano song written to be played only using the black notes of the piano

Please scroll down the page to find the links to the free PDF printouts.

Some of my little ones who are starting to read the notes around Middle C want to have a new "black key song" every week!

Be aware that none of these songs have "parallel" fingerings; all of them place one hand on 3 black keys, and the other on 2 black keys. 

Not so hard once they get the hang of it... now my students, after choosing a song, quickly glance up at the top of the page to see if it's "Grandma's House" or "Dog House" on the right or left, and place their fingers with NO ASSISTANCE from me.  WOW.

Below, see what the Dog House and Grandma's House look like.

These black key symbols are at the top of most of the downloads farther down this page, but the graphics DON'T SHOW THEM.

A closeup of a black notes song, showing the 2 black notes and 3 black notes graphics at the top of the page; what I call the Dog House and Grandma's House.

If you are NEW to this kind of music, please remember:  ONLY FINGERS 2, 3, & 4 ("Grandma's House") will be used in one hand, and ONLY FINGERS 2 & 3 (the "Dog House") in the other hand!

Ogden Nash poem set to music

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

A very simple song - but with such clever words.  Some of my students know the last line as "celery stewed is more QUIETLY chewed."


Now, a song for Christmas!

Christmas song for young beginners

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

"Christmas-time" is pretty easy, and the lyrics - admittedly - pretty obvious!  Everything does not have to be a work of art to please young children. ; )

When the notes are stacked over each other as in the last line of "Christmas Time", you know that it's "hands together."

See what one mother did to help her young son sort his hands out for this song; "lime" for Left Hand, and "red" for Right Hand:

Red and green coloring on piano key notes to tell the hands apart
Go Tell It On the Mountain Christmas song

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Just in time for the Christmas holidays, this song may be familiar already to your students.  I like to prepare students for folk or traditional songs by warning them that it might sound "different" from other versions.

In my "Just the Black Keys" book, there is a boogie pattern going on in the accompaniment part (find a paperback version of this book at Amazon):

Go Tell It On the Mountain piano duet sheet music for the black keys

Every region where the song is known might use slightly different - or VERY different - notes!  This is only half of the piece, but it is probably enough to satisfy your little beginners.

By the way, a fingering error is evident in the graphic (finger 2 bottom Left of the first large graphic of Go Tell It On the Mountain above) - I fixed the PDF, so it's fine!

Now here is a song that one only needs to see the title to instantly desire (at least if you are an 8-year-old boy, as I discovered today!):

Piano song

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Obviously, my students are doing UNIT COUNTING with these beginner songs.  Notice there are no measure lines.  

Sorry!  So when they count a quarter note, it is "Tah", or "One."  A line of quarter notes might be "One one one one..."  Half notes are "one - two," and sometimes "Tah-two."  If there is a word, then the word plus "two."

I prefer for them to sing the song lyrics, but also to be able to count the notes.  Usually, we will practice a new song with "drumsticks" (pencils) on the piano lid, alternating hands as the song calls for one hand or the other.

Halloween song for the piano black keys

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

This piece has some sophisticated techniques: the repeat dots at the end of line one, and the two hands playing together in the second line.  

I think this Halloween song will be a favorite - we'll see!

Update: "Halloween Monsters" has been HUGELY popular!

I'm having good luck rehearsing these songs with PIANO LID DOWN, using pencils for drumsticks, and just playing right and left, to focus students' attention on the note stem directions...

The note stems point "up" for the "up" hand, and "down" for the "downward" hand. This will stand them in good stead even as they begin reading notes on the staff around Middle C.

Usually just once through is enough tapping - if it's a bit rough, then we do it again, FASTER.  Then to the keys themselves.

This next piece, Morning Sun Upon the Mountains, has a bit of an old-timey hymn-like flavor.  The chords formed by using 2 notes at a time have a happy sound, just like the simple lyrics.  This song has two pages!

Black notes song for beginner piano, with chord tones
Pretty black keys song for beginning piano

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

"Morning Sun" is pretty tricky - but I have a little girl who can't leave it alone, and just keeps improving it every week, without much input from me.

Humpback Whale song for beginning piano

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Here in Alaska we really do see whales quite a bit.  Even so, people in my town may pull over to the side of the road and watch from their cars or trucks when whales are passing down the local waterways.  

When their tails come up, you know they are going down for a long dive! 

Kids like to play this song.

Pirate song for beginning piano players

There is a tricky rhythm going on in Pirate, but the lyrics will help with that problem, as the natural emphasis or stress of each word lends itself well to the rhythm.

Like "Morning Sun Upon the Mountains" and "Halloween Monsters," there is a bit of both hands playing at the same time.

In addition, the octava symbol shows up!  There is something new to learn here, along with hand coordination.

A song about pizza for beginning piano students, on the black keys.

This is a short and simple-looking song with two complications: the hands play simultaneously on the last line, and there is a tied note at the end.

Good practice counting the basic notes which beginners are first exposed to!

A song about snowflakes falling for beginning piano, on the black notes

How to read this song?  Point to the stems going up and the stems going down, and help your student interpret the notes.  

This song poses a bit of a challenge, because it moves up an octave (and stays there for the rest of the song) after just 8 beats.  

Then there is a repeat at the end, and to end the song, students should GO UP AN OCTAVE again.  Where to end?  I point to the "Fine", and tell students that means "finish" or "ending."

I haven't put any dynamic markings in this song (or any of the songs) but expressive playing, ritards, and pedalling will make a difference in how musical the pieces sound.

I suspect that the lyrics of these short pieces will only seem interesting to children 4 - 7 years old, but we will see...

I welcome your feedback as well!


UPDATE: I AM SEEING EXCITEMENT and expectation from my students.  Almost every week they say, "I want a new song!" and we leaf through the stack again. 

And children OLDER than my target group like the songs as well, when they are beginners.  They pick up the songs so quickly that they enjoy having a new one every lesson.

I think they like that these songs have a VERY SHORT learning curve!  In fact, once they understand hand placement, some of the songs can be played instantly.  Then they can pay more attention to counting...

Don't forget to check out the list of songs & accompaniments - just the thing to get little ones involved in recitals - in my new book, JUST THE BLACK KEYS!

Below, you can view the list of songs in the Table of Contents.



The links to the black key songs:


Download "Celery," a poem by Ogden Nash


Download Christmas Time is Almost Here for beginners


Download Go Tell It On the Mountain for black keys


Download Growling Growling Growling Tiger


Download Halloween Monsters


Download Morning Sun Upon the Mountain


Download Once There Was a Humpback Whale


Download "Pirate!" for beginning piano players


Download Pizza Night


Download Snowflake in Your Eye



More songs especially for new beginners:


ABC & CDE - Two little 3-note songs focused on the Middle C area, one for left hand and one for right


Black Keys songs - a whole page of songs set to lyrics and poems, all on black keys!


C&B  & C&D - Left hand, then right hand, play little songs with lyrics that make them fool-proof.


Dueling C's - a short song with 3 notes: B, Middle C, & D.  The thumbs of each hand are "fighting" for the Middle C - but the music makes it plain which hand really owns it.


Fuzzy Wuzzy - this song is about a bear that WASN'T fuzzy.  Quarter rests form part of the action! One-handed & two-handed arrangements.


Indian Dance - Though it sounds powerful (and even difficult with an added repetitive chord in left hand), it is very intuitive and repetitious, easily conquered in several lessons.


Jingle Bells - Is there a child who doesn't know this happy tune?  Its repeated notes make up for the "tricky" skips in the melody - plus there are lettered notes in some of the arrangements!


Lavender's Blue - this pretty song forms part of the drama of Cinderella's rescue by the prince in the newest Cinderella movie with Lily James...  little girls love to play this song!


Mary Had a Little Lamb on the white keys - even adults benefit from having this tune "in hand" - later they will learn much about using chords from simple little songs like this.


Music Alphabet Song - from A,B, & C in the left hand, through C, D, E, F, & G in the right hand, this song travels scale-wise through all the notes, to help a logical thinker conquer this concept.


Ode to Joy - like Mary Had a Little Lamb and Jingle Bells, this melody is well-known, and starts with finger 3 on E.


Peck! Peck! Peck! - a "shared-hands" melody, this cute song about chickens pecking on the ground to find their breakfast only moves by steps.


Pizza Please - Using just 3 notes, this song for left hand or right hand is actually Hot Cross Buns in disguise.


Sharks - Wait until kids have started working on the bass clef before you give them this dramatic 3-note song.


Snakes - the next step after students have conquered Wormies, this more intricate set of exercises is longer, with smaller note heads, but still moving just one step at a time in either direction


Snakes Go for a Walk (also called "Crickets Go Hopping") - More exercises like Wormies and Snakes, but with "skips" hiding amongst the steps in each line.  Line 1 has one hidden skip; line 2 has 2 hidden skips - you get the idea!


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - this song is so familiar that children will conquer it easily, especially because it moves by repeated steps.  Excellent for memorizing and transposing.


When the Saints Go Marching In - just 5 notes, with no stretches or replacements, make up this familiar song!


Wormies - This little set of exercises asks beginners to choose ANY white key, and then decide whether to move up, down, or stay there, by looking at the next note.  EASY.








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Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

Just the Black Keys

This book is available as a digital download  from this site, and also from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!"  They will be spending more time at the piano.

The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

The Adventures of Tonsta

A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls. 

The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.  

With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.

Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!

Available at Amazon

My First Piano Adventure Christmas Book B for beginners!

Kitana:
Hi! I'm teaching my little brother to play the piano and this is really helpful. 

Patriotic songs for beginning piano

Kim in Washington:
My son is hooked...I've been introducing piano to my son on and off for a year or so, but he's not had much interest. Then I gave him "Monsters Everywhere". He loved playing it with the organ sound on our piano. He memorized it that week and I'm printing off the other Halloween songs to keep him going. I love the detailed instructions on teaching since he is my first student! Thanks so much.
Dana:
That is so neat that your son has experienced the magic and mystery of music through this little song. That is so exciting to me! Thanks for writing, Kim!

Sports songs for piano music book

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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.