For the Younger Pianist

"Just the Black Keys" piano book, just in time for the beginning of a new year of music lessons!

Check out this new book for young beginners who need more time with simple music.  Make that simple music FUN!

Find the paperback version at Amazon, or download a digital book here:



Just the Black Keys, a book for beginning piano students just learning to read music, and how to use their fingers on the keyboard


What's NEW about this book that you won't find in the songs currently on my Black Notes page?

Teacher accompaniments! and many more songs!

In the paperback (available at Amazon), these accompaniments are on the facing pages, with teacher accompaniment on the left side and student music on the right side. 

A sneak preview:

Table of contents for the book
Illustration of the piano black keys as
How to read right hand versus left hand on piano

These short songs all on the black keys are SO EASY TO READ!



Just the Black Keys, a book for beginning piano students just learning to read music, and how to use their fingers on the keyboard


Perfect for your little beginners and even older beginners, who will strengthen their fingers along with their counting abilities as they focus on just finger placement, and counting rhythm. 

If you look closely, you will see that my student's fingers have 2, 3, and 4 drawn in ink on them with red ink, to match the black keys diagram of the printed page "Hot Cross Buns."

How to know which hand is used?

Keyboard graphics help them decide where to place their hands.  Very soon, they will be reading these little songs without any assistance from you!

(Check out the page "Black Notes", where I have a few songs available for free download, and a number of ideas for making them easy to remember when your student goes home!)

Here is "Bad Dog", showing just the first half of the song:

A song from the book

The teacher accompaniment part, and the "standard notation" of the student music, also just the beginning:

Could this book function as a child's first piano book?

Indeed it could (and has).

The single-hand songs "Hot Cross Buns" and "Pizza Please" (the same music, but with different words) are actually EASIER TO READ than what my students have been accustomed to start with in the piano method I have favored for years:

Hot Cross Buns for piano, left hand or right hand

A recent letter from another piano teacher:

 "Just to let you know that this book is a life-saver for me. 

"We are in "lock-down" here in ________, MA and are having to move to virtual piano lessons at my music school. By a quirk I was handed all beginning students - and one of the pieces I use of course is the Hot Cross Buns to get them going, and now I was looking for something to use which was similar to that!  Thank you"



Just the Black Keys, a book for beginning piano students just learning to read music, and how to use their fingers on the keyboard


What order should I teach these songs in?

Don't start at the beginning of the book!  The songs are arranged alphabetically - and "Bad Dog" is NOT an easy song to start with.

Here is my recommended order of learning these songs:

  • Hot Cross Buns/Pizza Please
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb - just one note is added
  • Sandhill Cranes, or Once There Was a Humpback Whale
  • Morning Song (by Grieg)
  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm

But in actuality, after the first two or three songs, I usually just start asking kids what they'd like to CHOOSE from a selection of three or four songs that I may offer them that week.

Mary Had a Little Lamb piano music with teacher duet part

"Once There Was a Humpback Whale" is an early favorite of my students.  It sounds happy:

Lyrics in all but one of the songs help with the counting. 

Some of the songs are old-fashioned poems, such as Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky".

Jabberwocky, a song on the black keys to go with Lewis Carrolls' poem from Alice in Wonderland

Jabberwocky has been a great favorite, especially with my home-school students who enjoy memorizing poetry.  It has an ominous minor sound, which changes to an ebullient major sound every two verses as the player's hands shift position.

The teacher's part, below, was just barely doable for one of my more capable but younger students last year, who wished to accompany his little sister in a recital.  Those black key chords take some skill:

Jabberwocky piano accompaniment duet part

See the second page of Jabberwocky, as the parts appear in the paperback:

"Ooey Gooey" is a traditional poem, and might seem to be unlikely for a favorite song, but no... 

Kids LIKE Ooey Gooey once they have played through it a couple of times!

Many of the pieces have original lyrics written just for that song, such as "Bad Dog" and "Pirate!"

Some of the music is traditional ("Old MacDonald," "Go Tell It On the Mountain,") and some is classical (Grieg's "Morning Song" from Peer Gynt).

I have been surprised how many of my little boy students like Morning Song, even wanting to play it at recitals:

You can see that I've added chord symbols to the teacher's part in this song...

Some of the pieces are downright lovely, with harmony, even without the teacher accompaniment ("Morning Sun Upon the Mountain" and "One Star in the Darkness").

See page two of Morning Sun... musically, it is very satisfying for the accompanist as well:

A very thick texture in One Star in the Darkness seemed "scary" and too hard at first to some of my young piano students, but the notes are a bit mesmerizing, so they work at it... 

Their finger coordination comes a long way with this very pretty piece:

My students enjoy using the pedal with "One Star in the Darkness."

Some of the accompaniments are very beautiful, some of them are ominous-sounding, and some are bouncy and cheerful!  Together, the student parts and the teacher parts make great recital duets.

Many of the most popular method books start children on the black keys.  That's excellent for hand posture and for learning basic music principles... but for some students, they need more reinforcement and time before moving on to the treble and bass staff notes.

The feeling of success that comes with learning a new piano song quickly, with little teacher input, helps build confidence in young students.  My young pupils love to add another song to their "Repertoire List" every week or two, a page we keep in their Lesson Notebooks (3-ring binders) listing the pieces they can play well.

Lots of songs to choose from; your students will ask for a new one - or two - each week!



Just the Black Keys, a book for beginning piano students just learning to read music, and how to use their fingers on the keyboard


Very young beginners and special-needs students, too, will benefit from the relaxed pace possible with the songs in "Just the Black Keys."

This SONG BOOK/ DUET BOOK is available immediately as a digital download onto your computer.  (The paperback version is also available at Amazon.)

So why should you buy "JUST THE BLACK KEYS" from me?

Along with the free music on my site, I've been selling sheet music to satisfied customers since 2009.

"JUST THE BLACK  KEYS" is my first music book, and I want you to be happy with it!

Do you need a letter of permission in order to use this music at a competition? Write me through the Contact Me form at Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and I will email you a personal letter.

Any problems downloading?  Sometimes that can happen in the online world! 

If it happens to you on MY site, please contact me and I will personally make sure you get what you paid for!  

Paypal, the payment system I use, is a secure and recognized payment system. You can pay by credit or debit card, or your bank account. E-Junkie delivers the PDF document, working as a partner with PayPal... your purchase is guaranteed.



Just the Black Keys, a book for beginning piano students just learning to read music, and how to use their fingers on the keyboard


Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

SingTheBibleStory.com clickable logo link

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A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!

This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.

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.  Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.

It is also available 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.

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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, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have 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.