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:

Crickets Go Hopping piano reading exercises - steps or skip?

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:

A closeup view of steps and skips in a line of music notes

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!

Printable music notes exercise for steps and skips

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 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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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.