"Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is a NURSERY song - will my students beat it?"

Absolutely - don"t worry!  For new beginners, even adults, they are simply happy to play something that is recognizably music! 

It is foundational because that skill-building

Of all my piano music for start students, Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is the many necessary and also the many versatile. Yes, the is simply a nursery rhyme, but there is so much you deserve to do with it!


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You will watch what ns mean if you review to the bottom of this an extremely LONG PAGE.

You are watching: How to play mary had a little lamb on keyboard

Please scroll under to uncover the totally free downloadable PDF links.


Sometimes you just have to provide them what"s an excellent for them!

Though you would certainly think children might rotate up their noses at a nursery-rhyme song, just the sometimes teenager looks mortified...

I constantly preface the piece with "Now I"m walk to offer you a world-famous song I offer to all my students, even "grown-ups.""

And the pleasure of mastering a recognizable tune is such that they all finish up enjoy it it (for at the very least a tiny while!) - they room enjoying suffering the ability of their fingers developing a real melody.

Why is the loaded through finger numbers?

Above, you see an plan with every the finger numbers (shades of john Thompson!)

Yes, this is a rote approach, however no, that won"t kill your students to discover a item by rote NOW and THEN.

In fact, that will rise their comfort playing piece by memory, or "by heart," together we sometimes contact it. It"s good ear cultivate too.

Using lettered notes

Now right here is a variation even simpler to read, if possible, making use of made-easy notes, recognized as Alpha-Notes:


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There is so lot you have the right to do through this song!  As piano music because that kids, the is unbeatable for mirroring them how to use chords.

Now I"m going to present you the plenty of ways I usage Mary had actually a small Lamb, again and again, increase to two or 3 years ~ the piano student has learned it the first time...

Adding a left hand

After the melody is fine in hand, we start trying the end an open C chord (c & g) through the LH (left hand), pushing the chord on to win 1 of every measure.

Yes, also though the melody can use a G chord together well. (We"re coming to that!)


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Usually ns will have actually them beat the LH while i play the RH, simply to present them exactly how it sounds, telling them that we"ll shot adding it to Mary had actually a tiny Lamb next lesson.

I don"t draw notes because that them, but show them just how to make the chord. If they have been act pentascales, it"s simple for them to walk "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" with the LH, and also then hit 5 and 1 together.

Kids love including the chord come MHaLL; it provides it sound like a actual song.

Identifying chords

I point out (many times,generally) the chords begin with the pinky, or bottom finger, top top the surname of the chord. That seems vital to stress that"bottom" and "low" space LEFT on the piano ("where the guys sing"), and "top" and also "high" are ideal on the piano ("where the women and also children sing").

Frequently kids and also even adults will certainly think that the C is whereby the LH ignorance goes. No large deal---they"ll obtain it eventually. Specifically if they have been doing mirror scales, castle will find that an easy mistake come make.

From significant to minor

Now adjust it to MINOR - an extremely cool!


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I provide it another couple of weeks, while various other concepts and pieces are being learned, then come earlier to Mary had actually a small Lamb (they are still playing it) and also turn it into scary, sad piano music.

That is, I have them lower the third finger of the melody, E, come Eb.

That changes the crucial from significant to minor, and also gives the track a sad or melancholy feeling, or also a hint of danger.

Some kids are electrified by this tiny change, and the power it gives them to develop a mood! us re-name our new-sounding tune "Mary shed Her small Lamb." very fun. And we get to usage the same open up LH C chord.

Now contrast major with minor

When they space comfortable v that, then their assignment i do not care to beat "Mary Lost and also Found" -- an initial sad (minor), then happy (back come major).

Minor sounds great down LOW, then us jump as much as a higher octave because that the happy version. This is very popular with most kids.

Adding in the V7 chord

The next change we make is including a tiny G7 chord that I contact a "pinch" chord.

It is simply a 2-note turning back of the G7 chord.

The LH continues to be in the C chord position, however presses G & F in addition to the 1 & 2 fingers. This doesn"t take place until student are very solid v the ns chord, C.

See measure up 3:


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Don"t bother creating in bass staff notes

I don"t write notation onto your music (they wouldn"t read it if ns did, in ~ this phase of your musical development!), however scratch some signs up over the melody: "G pinch chord" and also "G" & "F" v circles and also "1" & "2" attracted inside the circles, because that fingering.

Changing chords is much harder than playing simply one chord, therefore it will take a little much more time come polish.  I"ll take over the melody throughout the lesson at first, therefore they can focus on the new chord change.

This plan adds the chord symbols:


Please scroll down the web page for the download links.

Transpose and get acquainted with various keys

Now it"s time to enlist this tune in a new cause - transposing!

After a couple of months, when Mary Lost and Found is second nature, i come earlier to that again with an entirely brand-new mission -- TRANSPOSING.

From the secrets of C significant and C minor, we move it approximately D major and D minor.

This is rote discovering - no notation

The ear will certainly be helping out.

First D major -- ns play it because that them, with the essential f#, and also ask if they notification anything different.

I shot to it is in patient, since if they have the right to see what"s walk on there is no me just telling them, they"ll remember that better.


Students are generally intrigued when you point out that D significant and D minor are just the opposite in appearance to C major and C minor; C major (C) is "all white notes," and C boy (Cm) has a black keep in mind in the middle.

With D, and also then Dm a main or two later, ns make a big deal about how the is the "3" finger that renders all the difference. And their ear will tell them once it is wrong, almost all of the time.

Go as much as friend can; girlfriend can always come earlier again later

We"ll remain with C, Cm, D, and also Dm because that a while, then gradually, as the student is able, start relocating to every the rest of the keys or positions. 

If they room not however grasping the formula for structure a pentatonic significant scale (Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole) then i draw small hollow one on their lesson paper to represent the 5 note of MHaLL, and color in the ones that have to be black keys with pen or pencil (or allow them perform it).

Even if the "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," is hard for them, we still to speak it together and also make the scale at the lesson. Periodically they"ll forget just how to do it in ~ home...we simply do that again.

The pentascale of B is the biggie!

Getting to the an essential of B is a large deal, and also we have actually a Transposing Chart that a star walk onto when they have finished through the white note tonic keys. (This help me store track, and also giving castle a sense of accomplishment.)

If they have really interpreted the concept of transposing well, and memorized "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," we may go on to the black-note keys.

But, if castle are burned out on this song, us may very well move to miscellaneous else and start end again at the crucial of C.

Now because that the "black" keys!

Gb might be the best crucial to start with, together Mary had actually a small Lamb doesn"t call for the 4 finger, and also so there will certainly be only black notes, no white notes combined in. (Except for the "pinch" chord!)


The tricks of ab and Db will certainly feel comparable to each other, however Bb and also Eb will be a little bit of a challenge.  

(Whenever we are playing in B or B flat, I have a little mantra ns say come them that helps castle remember: "B is white top top the bottom, black color on the top.  Bb is black color on the bottom, white on the top.  The B"s are various than all the others!")

Some youngsters really love transposing. However, I regularly wait for the second or 3rd transposed song before I have them shot transposing right into the black-note keys, particularly if there was a struggle finding out it!

Even older move students who read into Level 3 music have been recognized to have difficulties.  

But transposing is so good for discovering the finger trends of the different keys, and also for sharpening the ear.

More songs for transposing

When they"re v with Mary had a small Lamb, I constantly have them assist me choose the next piece to transpose.

Ode to Joy, solder Bells, and also any item that remains in a 5-finger pattern is generally a good bet.  and even the minor pieces, such as "Snake Charmer" and also "Irish Wedding," can be really satisfying.

A few of the songs in your lesson publications lend themselves well to transposing, too, together as pieces at the finish of your Primer, and "Firefly," "Girl on a Bicycle" and also "Boy top top a Bicycle" in the Faber Piano Adventure Level 1 book, and "Ice Cream" in the 2A book.

For a minor piece, "Forest Drums" is a many fun. 

Starting to discover beautiful chord patterns

The last thing I usage MHaLL because that is chord pattern practice. The melody is so easy, that as soon as it comes time because that them come stretch us a little and begin using broken chords in the LH, MHaLL is the perfect song.


The RH have the right to be put on "autopilot" and attention provided to coordinating the two hands.

This is the tune I use when children are ready to begin playing the pattern I speak to "broken chord stretch," i m sorry will open up up the people of play really beautiful chord song to them.


It is a stepping rock to greater things!

One that my favorite piano studio stories happened the year the movie "Titanic" come out.

It seemed that every week, yet an additional young girl would involved her lesson and ask plaintively, "Can ns play Titanic?"

Usually, the method involved in the setup of the Titanic i was offering my students was just beyond where plenty of of them were -- the was, in fact, full of "the broken chord stretch."

Eventually I recognized this desire in my students because that the fabulous chance it was.

I post a authorize on mine studio door that said,

"Yes, i will provide you Titanic, however only after ~ you deserve to play Mary had a small Lamb with damaged chord large in all the keys!" 

Let me phone call you the what previously stretched the end over months - the finding out of C, then D, climate E, then... Well, you gain the idea - what had previously taken month took just a couple of weeks to learn!

Such is the strength of a inspiring piece that music the students long TO PLAY.

Of course, this is for kids whose hand are large enough to make the octave stretch.

First they learn the chord pattern: a C open up chord (C and also G notes) plus one more C top top top.

The 2 finger goes whereby the 1 has constantly gone, top top G. Usage it prefer an anchor or a hinge, ns tell lock -- the 2 finger is a pivot...and don"t shot to organize the pinky (5th finger) down!

A brand-new level that coordination

"5-2-1-2, c-g-c-g..." ns play the melody to Mary had a small Lamb while they perform the C chord.

Just the C chord, no the G chord. That"s because that later, as soon as they"ve come to be pretty solid with the technique.


They will commonly come ago to their next lesson having actually played this LH pattern every week lengthy with their favorite hand,the best hand.

Oh well! We just do that again, and also maybe have actually THEM try the melody of Mary had a tiny Lamb to it ideal then,so there will certainly be no mistaking which hand does which.

"Can you rub your tummy and also pat her head in ~ the very same time?" i ask them, demonstrating.

This is always fun to do, and also illustrates because that them that this needs a brand-new kind the hand coordination.

Physical an abilities like this room fun come learn... That takes work, but I call them come just shot it with Mary had a small Lamb 1 time (1x) or 2x a day in ~ first.

And come treat it simply as as soon as they learned come ride a bike... When they "crash," just start over again and also see if castle can acquire a small farther.

Some children will acquire it best away. Others will battle a bit.

But they will all enjoy it, especially when you ask castle to put the pedal down and also play it increase high.

See more: How Many Weeks Is 2 Years ? How Many Weeks Are In A Year

Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is TRANSFORMED.

Here room the sheet music PDF links:

Download Mary had actually a small Lamb, with level notes in the treble clef

Download Mary had a tiny Lamb with easy-to-read keyboard music notes through the names within the note-heads

Download Mary had a little Lamb through chord symbols over the melody

More 5-finger song at betterworld2016.org:

Cat Came back (easiest version) - through fun-to-sing lyrics, many verses!

Erie Canal - part I has only 5 notes, however is a satisfying advent to this song