Snakes Go for a Walk, or
Crickets Go Hopping!
Snakes Go for a Walk, now re-christened "Crickets Go Hopping" by a student with more imagination than I.
These piano music note exercises move up and down on the staff with an occasional skip to challenge students!
Here's the newest version:
Scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.
This free piano music for beginners is a cute and fun page of reading exercises that get progressively harder.
Every movement is either one step away, or a skip away. Here's a closeup view:
Almost the same as "Snakes," in which the notes move only by steps, "Snakes Go for a Walk" / "Crickets Go Hopping" differ by craftily inserting surprise skips into each set of music notes.
And not too many -- students only have to spot 1 skip (or interval of a third) in line 1, 2 skips in line 2, 3 in line 3... you get the idea!
First one skip, then two, then three, and at last four skips are hidden in the lines of notes. Kids like the challenge of spotting them. The "tunes" are quite un-singable, helping prevent the Snakes/Crickets from being memorized!
By the time kids have played these at home for 2 weeks or so, the exercises are usually too easy to do again... So I assign the page by asking for "Just one a day" to prevent memorizing.
This is important.
You don't want these non-melodies to become tedious, and you want each exercise to demand full attention, so I recommend NOT requiring students to go through the whole sheet every day. And to play each chosen exercise-of-the-day just twice only.
Try these exercises as solos to be performed in group classes, with the other kids looking on.
Another way to add some "pressure" to the game is to set the metronome to a slow speed...most kids enjoy trying to "win" against the metronome by not getting behind.
These little exercises can also be used (with some imagination) with non-keyboard instruments.
You will know at once if your students understand the principle of reading notes, when you give them Snakes or Snakes Go for a Walk (or Crickets Go Hopping!).
The links to the piano reading exercises:
Download Crickets Go Hopping piano reading exercise
Download free printable music notes Snakes Go for a Walk
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 arrangments!
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 treble and bass clef with 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 - 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.
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.
Gabriel's Message: "The Angel Gabriel from heaven came" is a beautiful Christmas song that is almost unknown. It makes a lovely vocal duet. - now updated and SIMPLIFIED.
Teaching young singers: what do you do with a non-musician who can't even read their own language, much less music notes? Here is some QUICK ADVICE!
Coventry Carol, a beautiful and somber English Christmas Carol. With EASY piano duet parts for elementary and early intermediate students.
"All You That in This House" Christmas sheet music is a quick-to-learn song I'll bet you've not heard before! Now with a stirring piano arrangement. This is a beautiful minor melody with 10 verses of…
Masters in This Hall is a fast-moving old English carol, with several new arrangements to tempt your piano students! Very few people are familiar with this pretty song, but it sounds like it comes fro…
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