Given the opportunity to play the piano or keyboard, young students either bang away at the keys or stare at the keys, wondering how to play it. To provide structure in exploring the keyboard for both types of students, I use the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
I tell the story and have students copy me in playing the low notes for Papa Bear, middle notes for Mama Bear, and high notes for Baby Bear. Our fingers walk along the keys when the bears go for their walk. We play a few high notes of the birds that the Bears hear on their walk. We play each low, middle, and high section of the keyboard as Goldilocks try each of their porridges, chairs, and beds. We use our hand to smash several keys when Goldilocks breaks the chair. We play soft when Goldilocks goes to sleep. Our fingers run along the keys when Goldilocks runs out of the Bears’ house.
Throughout the story, students work on finger play, finger isolation, and finger dexterity. Lots of great fine motor work at the keyboard! For some students, I have them tell the story with me and speak the different voices while they play. It is great to have students start hearing the difference in high and low sounds. Overall, students learn the different sections of the keyboard, work on imitation, and to be comfortable at the keyboard.