Keyboard/Piano First Position

When I teach students how to put their hands on the keys of the keyboard I refer to in as “Finding First Position” because first position is a term used in ballet to indicate the starting body position.

I introduce the process in a set of steps outlined on the pdf below.  Please feel free to print it or allow your child to refer to it when practicing.

thumbnail of 3 Steps To First Position Keyboard

Kumbaya Songwriting

Folk songs provide a unique opportunity for students to experience the art of songwriting.  The simple, repetitive nature of folk music makes it the perfect platform to explore.

Kumbaya is a song that originated in the Congo and the word ‘kumbaya‘ means ‘come by here‘ or ‘come over here‘.  Think of it as what a friend might say when they are inviting you over for a play date.  The rest of the song is different based on who is singing it and what they are singing about.

Some example lyrics are as follows:

Kumbaya, ya Kumbaya (3x)
Ah, ah, Kumbaya

We can play here, Kumbaya (3x)
Ah, ah, Kumbaya

We’ll have fun now, Kumbaya (3x)
Ah, ah, Kumbaya

Sing a song with me, Kumbaya (3x)
Ah, ah, Kumbaya

As you can see, there is a pattern to the verses.  Simply follow it, and you can write your own version of this classic folk song.  All you have to do is pick a topic, and think of some things to sing about that topic.  In my example, my topic could have been Things To Do During A Playdate.

Use the player below to sing along with!

Use this worksheet to organize your thoughts.  You don’t need to fill the whole thing up, either.  Just use your imagination and have fun!  For extra excitement, change the speed and style of the song.  It doesn’t have to be slow and simple.  You could rock it out, or recite it as poetry or rap or strum a ukulele, or any number of other possibilities.  Be creative!

thumbnail of Kumbaya Song Writing Sheet

Ode To Joy

This is a video I show in class to introduce the students to the melody of Ode To Joy, by Beethoven.  The performance builds, one section at a time until the end, when the chorus joins in with the words.  The video is so full of JOY, it is a great introduction to what the piece is all about.