Teaching for the First Time

by Nish

I'm 11 (I'm not kidding!) and am supposed to teach my 6 year old brother to play a song on the piano while his two friends sing to it. His friends are both 7. My brother and I both know how to play the piano and we're good at sight-reading. I'm doing this job for a 2 year old's birthday party but I don't want a birthday-ish type of song because that's just normal. I want something unique. Plus... here comes the big problem... I DON'T KNOW HOW!!!


Hi, Nish. Well, if you want a song that boys of 6 and 7 will like to sing, you'd better go for something energetic and hopefully kind of funny. I'm going to suggest a song that is on my website right now -- Old Joe Clark. Look at the page and you will notice that there are several different versions your brother could play, starting with very easy and working up to RH melody and LH boogie chords. But what would probably be the best is if you treated it like a duet, with YOU playing the boogie chords along with him.

Other possibilities are Yankee Doodle (although this is a very short version -- you could google the lyrics in order to have more words to sing), and Wabash Cannonball, though the melody is kind of low for young boys! Look over those pages and the "duet" chord accompaniments I suggest, which make the melodies sound very full.

As far as "teaching" him to play the songs, let him sit beside you and start singing along as YOU play the song at first. Once he's gotten the melody in his head, the notes will follow much more easily (though if he is a good sight-reader, as you say, these songs should all be a breeze for him).

Good luck!

P.S. You will need to practice a lot in order to get a smooth performance out of 6 and 7-year-olds!

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