Piano Builder – Seeing Black Key Patterns

This is one of the first things I do with a new student between the ages of 3-8. After we have loosened up, playing (or hitting!) the keys anywhere on the piano and talking about what different sounds we can make on the piano, we discuss the patterns of black and keys.

With a teenage or adult student this is obvious, but with this young age group this needs to be reinforced as it is essential for them to start to identify notes later on. Kids this age need a lot of help recognising patterns.

Keyboard builder

Learning about keyboard patterns with black key groups

So we take to the floor! I scatter the cards in front of the student and we start to build our own piano together.

If the student needs more help, and isn’t yet able to immediately see the groups of twos and threes I organize them in separate piles, rather than randomly scattered. Then I ask them which one is next, the big one or the little one?

Keyboard builder

After the preschooler becomes pretty good at building the piano – we add the dogs and gates to make the groups even clearer. We use these cards again later when we’re learning the musical alphabet, matching up the alphabet animal to the correct key.

You can download these printable piano builder cards to use yourself by entering your details below, print out as many copies as you like and cut them apart. I laminated mine to make them more durable.

Keyboard builder

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Do you have any games you use to teach this concept?

Any questions about how I use these cards? Leave them in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “Piano Builder – Seeing Black Key Patterns”

  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing! I especially love your video , so clear and encouraging.
    I would love a copy of the piano keys cards.
    Thanks again!

  2. Gahh. I know this isn’t your fault at all but I keep printing out your worksheets/printables and then realizing they aren’t for Letter sized paper. Just a warning to anyone else out there… change the printer settings to “fit to page.”
    Anyhow, I’m looking forward to using these with my new student tomorrow! Thanks for your wonderful ideas Nicola. =)

  3. That is a good idea as a teaching aid. Another indicator how learning music can accelerate the development of young minds. I had not really considered music as a form of pattern recognition, but of course it is. Makes sense.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Phyllis, that’s great to hear…just fill in the box above with your email address and your name and hit ‘Subscribe’ and we will get that to you!


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