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

Absolutely - don"t worry!  For brand-new beginners, even adults, castle are just happy come play something the is recognizably music! 

It is foundational because that skill-building

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


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You will view what i mean if you review to the bottom that this an extremely LONG PAGE.

You are watching: Mary had a little lamb notes piano

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Sometimes friend just have actually to provide them what"s great for them!

Though you would certainly think youngsters might turn up their noses in ~ a nursery-rhyme song, just the sometimes teenager looks mortified...

I always preface the piece with "Now I"m walking to give you a world-famous track I give to all my students, also "grown-ups.""

And the pleasure of mastering a recognizable tune is such the they all end up enjoy it it (for at the very least a small while!) - they are enjoying suffering the skill of your fingers developing a genuine melody.

Why is it loaded with finger numbers?

Above, you see an setup with all the finger number (shades of john Thompson!)

Yes, this is a rote approach, however no, it won"t death your college student to discover a piece by rote NOW and THEN.

In fact, it will boost their lull playing piece by memory, or "by heart," as we sometimes speak to it. It"s an excellent ear cultivate too.

Using lettered notes

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


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There is so lot you can do through this song!  As piano music for kids, that is unbeatable for reflecting them just how to use chords.

Now I"m walk to show you the countless ways I use Mary had a tiny Lamb, again and also again, up to 2 or three years after ~ the piano student has actually learned the the very first time...

Adding a left hand

After the melody is well in hand, we begin trying the end an open up C chord (c & g) v the LH (left hand), pressing the chord on beat 1 of each measure.

Yes, also though the melody might use a G chord as well. (We"re comes to that!)


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

I don"t attract notes because that them, but show them how to do the chord. If they have been doing pentascales, it"s simple for lock to go "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" with the LH, and then fight 5 and 1 together.

Kids love adding the chord come MHaLL; it provides it sound like a genuine song.

Identifying chords

I allude out (many times,generally) that chords start with the pinky, or bottom finger, ~ above the surname of the chord. It seems essential to stress and anxiety that"bottom" and "low" space LEFT top top the piano ("where the males sing"), and also "top" and also "high" are appropriate on the piano ("where the women and also children sing").

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

From major to minor

Now adjust it to MINOR - very cool!


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

That is, I have actually them reduced the third finger the the melody, E, come Eb.

That alters the key from major to minor, and gives the song a sad or melancholy feeling, or even a note of danger.

Some youngsters are electrified by this small change, and also the strength it gives them to create a mood! we re-name our new-sounding tune "Mary shed Her tiny Lamb." an extremely fun. And we get to use the same open LH C chord.

Now contrast significant with minor

When they are comfortable v that, then their assignment becomes to beat "Mary Lost and also Found" -- first sad (minor), climate happy (back to major).

Minor sounds great down LOW, then we jump approximately a greater octave for the happy version. This is really popular with many kids.

Adding in the V7 chord

The next change we make is adding a small G7 chord that I speak to a "pinch" chord.

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

The LH stays in its C chord position, however presses G & F together with the 1 & 2 fingers. This doesn"t occur until students are very solid with the i chord, C.

See measure up 3:


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Don"t bother creating in base staff notes

I don"t write notation onto their music (they wouldn"t check out it if ns did, at this phase of their musical development!), but scratch some icons up above the melody: "G pinch chord" and "G" & "F" through circles and also "1" & "2" attracted inside the circles, for fingering.

Changing chords is much harder than playing just one chord, therefore it will take a little an ext time come polish.  I"ll take end the melody during the lesson at first, for this reason they can emphasis on the brand-new chord change.

This setup adds the chord symbols:


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Transpose and also get familiar with various keys

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

After a couple of months, when Mary Lost and also Found is 2nd nature, ns come back to the again v an entirely new mission -- TRANSPOSING.

From the tricks of C significant and C minor, we move it up to D major and D minor.

This is rote learning - no notation

The ear will be helping out.

First D major -- ns play it for them, v the vital f#, and also ask if they an alert anything different.

I try to be patient, because if they have the right to see what"s walk on there is no me simply telling them, they"ll remember the better.


Students are typically intrigued when you point out the D major and D young are simply the the opposite in appearance come C significant and C minor; C significant (C) is "all white notes," and C boy (Cm) has a black note in the middle.

With D, and also then Dm a mainly or 2 later, ns make a huge deal around how that is the "3" finger that makes all the difference. And also their ear will certainly tell them as soon as it is wrong, almost all of the time.

Go as far as friend can; you can always come earlier again later

We"ll stay with C, Cm, D, and also Dm for a while, climate gradually, together the student is able, start relocating to every the remainder of the tricks or positions. 

If they space not however grasping the formula for structure a pentatonic major scale (Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole) then i draw tiny hollow one on their lesson paper to represent the 5 notes of MHaLL, and color in the ones that have to be black secrets with pen or pencil (or let them carry out it).

Even if the "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," is tough for them, we still speak it together and make the scale at the lesson. Sometimes they"ll forget exactly how to perform it at home...we simply do that again.

The pentascale the B is the biggie!

Getting come the key of B is a big deal, and we have actually a Transposing Chart that a star goes onto when they have finished with the white keep in mind tonic keys. (This help me store track, and giving castle a feeling of accomplishment.)

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

But, if lock are burned out on this song, us may an extremely well move to other else and also start over again in ~ the vital of C.

Now because that the "black" keys!

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


The tricks of abdominal muscle and Db will feel similar to every other, however Bb and also Eb will be a bit of a challenge.  

(Whenever we room playing in B or B flat, I have actually a small mantra i say to them that helps them remember: "B is white top top the bottom, black color on the top.  Bb is black color on the bottom, white ~ above the top.  The B"s are various than all the others!")

Some kids really love transposing. However, I regularly wait for the 2nd or third transposed song prior to I have actually them try transposing right into the black-note keys, especially if there to be a struggle learning it!

Even older transport students that read into Level 3 music have been known to have actually difficulties.  

But transposing is so an excellent for learning the finger patterns of the different keys, and for sharpening the ear.

More songs for transposing

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

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

A couple of of the songs in your lesson books lend us well to transposing, too, together as piece at the end of your Primer, and also "Firefly," "Girl ~ above 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 young piece, "Forest Drums" is a most fun. 

Starting to find out beautiful chord patterns

The last thing I usage MHaLL for is chord sample practice. The melody is therefore easy, that once it comes time because that them come stretch themselves a small and begin using damaged chords in the LH, MHaLL is the perfect song.


The RH deserve to be placed on "autopilot" and also attention given to coordinating the 2 hands.

This is the tune I use when children are ready to start playing the sample I call "broken chord stretch," which will open up the people of play really beautiful chord song to them.


It is a stepping rock to greater things!

One of my favourite piano studio stories happened the year the movie "Titanic" come out.

It appeared that every week, yet one more young girl would concerned her lesson and ask plaintively, "Can ns play Titanic?"

Usually, the an approach involved in the arrangement of the Titanic ns was providing my students was just beyond where countless of them to be -- the was, in fact, full of "the broken chord stretch."

Eventually I well-known this desire in my students because that the fabulous chance it was.

I posted a sign on mine studio door the said,

"Yes, i will offer you Titanic, yet only after you deserve to play Mary had a tiny Lamb with damaged chord stretch in every the keys!" 

Let me tell you that what previously stretched out over months - the finding out of C, then D, then E, then... Well, you obtain the idea - what had previously taken month took just a pair of weeks to learn!

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

Of course, this is for children whose hands are big enough to make the octave stretch.

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

The 2 finger goes wherein the 1 has always gone, on G. Use it prefer an anchor or a hinge, i tell them -- the 2 finger is a pivot...and don"t try to host the pinky (5th finger) down!

A new level of coordination

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

Just the C chord, no the G chord. That"s because that later, when they"ve end up being pretty solid v the technique.


They will typically come back to their next lesson having actually played this LH pattern every week lengthy with their favorite hand,the right hand.

Oh well! We simply do it again, and also maybe have THEM shot the melody of Mary had a small Lamb come it appropriate then,so there will certainly be no mistaking which hand does which.

"Can you obstacle your tummy and pat her head in ~ the same time?" ns ask them, demonstrating.

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

Physical an abilities like this are fun to learn... It takes work, yet I tell them come just shot it with Mary had actually a little Lamb 1 time (1x) or 2x a day in ~ first.

And come treat it simply as as soon as they learned to ride a bike... Once they "crash," just start over again and see if lock can acquire a little farther.

Some youngsters will acquire it right away. Others will struggle a bit.

But they will certainly all gain it, particularly when you ask castle to placed the pedal down and also play it up high.

See more: How Many Quarts In A Peck ? How Many Quarts Are In A Peck

Mary had a small Lamb is TRANSFORMED.

Here space the paper music PDF links:

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

Download Mary had actually a small Lamb through easy-to-read key-board music notes through the names within the note-heads

Download Mary had actually a little Lamb through chord symbols above the melody

More 5-finger song at jajalger2018.org:

Cat Came ago (easiest version) - through fun-to-sing lyrics, countless verses!

Erie Canal - component I has actually only 5 notes, yet is a satisfying development to this song