Stepping and Skipping on the Keys in Preschool Piano Lessons

Steps and skips is one of the first concepts we need to cover in preschool piano lessons. I prefer to start this long before we reach staff notation, practicing steps and skips on the piano first.

These two exercises are both favourites in my studio and ones that I return to again and again to work on steps and skips with preschoolers.

Practicing Patterns in Preschool Piano Lessons

I love my alphabet blocks for this activity (you may have noticed me using these a lot lately!). But you could use flashcards or other manipulatives you have on hand just as well.

The point is to start a pattern, and ask your preschooler to finish it. Start with very easy patterns such as  B C _ and gradually progress to more tricky stepping patterns like E F_ A  and eventually on to skipping patterns like the ones below.

Skipping patterns for preschool piano lessons

Don’t rush this, it will happen over several weeks or even months of preschool piano lessons.

Step and Skip Keyboard Races

Another of my favourite ways to practice the steps and skips is directly on the piano using the Decide Now app.

Set up the app with the labels step, skip and same. Then grab two tokens such as little erasers, coins or buttons and you’re good to go.

Step and skip keyboard race

Start your tokens facing away from each other in the centre of the piano. If you want to give your student an advantage, start at middle C with their token facing towards the bottom. 😉

Then simply spin the spinner and move forward in steps and skips until one player reaches the end. You can also make this time based and just declare the closest to the edge to be the winner.

Steps and Skips on the Piano Flipped Learning Video

In these videos, I teach students about steps and skips on the keyboard. Feel free to send these videos to parents for their kids to watch, use it in group lessons or as part of lab time.

These videos are designed to be clear and concise so that students can watch them – and then get on with some writing work for reinforcement. Saving you time to do fun activities during the lesson time.

These videos correlate directly to Thinking Theory Prep Book page 31. View the full Thinking Theory series here and see what makes these workbooks so special.

More Flipped Thinking Theory

If you liked this music theory video, you might also like these others:

Do you practice steps and skips on the piano?

Do you find your youngest students need lots of review of steps and skips? Tell us your thoughts in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers community on Facebook or in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “Stepping and Skipping on the Keys in Preschool Piano Lessons”

  1. Nicola – these are such great resources. I only teach a few beginner piano students, but not having had a solid technical and theoretical education myself, I am very passionate about getting this stuff nailed down as well as building lots of positivity around the instrument. Lifelong love of playing is what I want, and the ability to teach themselves after a point. Your blog and materials are INVALUABLE and I have spent hours reading them over the last few days. I work with some homeschoolers who loved playing several of your games today. Thank you so much, and congratulations on building such a great, thoughtful, fun and intelligent piano studio. You have some very, very lucky students. Gratefully yours – Rhiannon

  2. Holy Guacamole! Thanks a zillion for mentioning the Decide Now! App! OH MY. I am going to have so much fun with it! I have already entered loads of options: having students clap back Ta Titi Ta Ta and other variations, have my singing students sing back Do Re Mi Do and other options, have the piano students find the notes on the piano as quickly as possible, adding Skip/Step Up/Down too…. Oh my, thanks to you, my students are going to LOVE this! 🙂 I’m definitely putting a link to your website on my Links page! 🙂


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