Category Archives: Preschool Piano

Teaching Complex Rhythm to Preschoolers: Preschool Camp Part 3

In part one and two of the preschool summer camp posts, I focused how I introduced the staff and middle C to preschool students. Now I would like to explore the rhythms games we played to reinforce the complex rhythms I find it important to have preschool students learn.

For preschoolers to understand challenging rhythms these rhythms need to be associated with something all student’s can connect with. Wondering what all student’s can connect with that helps rhythm? Stay tuned for next week’s post with a resource all kids absolutely love!  

Once children have been introduced to complicated rhythm they need to practice this skill many times. Because rhythm is such as important skill in learning piano, I spent part of each day at the camp working on rhythm with fun games. 

Planning a Preschool Camp Part 3. Three fun games to teach advanced rhythm to preschool students.


Below are three games for working with students on learning complex rhythms.

 Little Lost Duck Rhythms:

I purchased small rubber ducks from the party store and with a permanent marker I drew a rhythm on the bottom. I asked the students to close their eyes while I hid all the ducks around the room. I then told the students that the ducks were lost and needed help getting back to the pond (a plastic bucket). To return the ducks to the pond students need to find each duck and clap the rhythm on the bottom. The students thought this was so much fun and loved the little ducks so much they kept asking to take one home!

Clap and Listen:

On colorful card stock I drew different rhythmic combinations such as sixteenth notes, two sixteenth notes and an eight note, and other challenging rhythms. (Curious how I teach preschooler’s challenging rhythms? then you will want to check out next week’s post with a super cool resource.) I then clapped each of the rhythms showing students what each card sounded like. After demonstrating each card to the students I again clapped one of the cards and asked them to figure out which card I had clapped and run to stand by the corresponding card.

Though this was such a simple game, it was a great game for students to move around and get their wiggles out while also learning to listen and identify rhythm.

Drums and Cards:

One of the crafts we made at the camp was drums for use in our class. I made these drums out of empty oat meal containers and allowed the students to spend a few minutes decorating their drums. After students were finished with their drums, we returned to the floor and practiced beating rhythms. I had students copy the rhythms I beat on my drum and use preschool rhythm cards to create and beat their own rhythms. Curious about preschool rhythm cards and how to add a ton of fun to any rhythmic practice? Then check back next week!  


Preschool Music Camp: Part 2

As I was planning this summer’s preschool camp, I knew I wanted to introduce middle C to the preschool students. Because preschool students need concepts broken into small manageable pieces for them to grasp concepts, I decided the first step in introducing middle C would be to lay a solid foundation for understanding the musical staff. In part one, I covered how I laid a solid foundation for the musical staff and began preparing students to learn middle C.  On the following camp day I introduced middle C.

An important skills in learning and remembering middle C is the ability to identify middle C versus other notes. For young children all the notes on the staff can look similar which causes confusion. Preschool students can often think that any note on a line is middle C. With this knowledge I planned games for camp that would help students learn to determine the difference between middle C and all other notes.


camp part 2 middle C

After I briefly introduced middle C on a large staff board and had each student to make their own middle C on the staff board, we the two games below.

Treasure Hunt:

For this game I printed flash cards and taped them to large foam squares. Many of the cards were middle C but some were other notes. I then laid the cards out to create a maze with different path choices but only one correct path. To determine the correct path, students needed to find only the middle C cards. When they came to a path choice one path had a middle C while the other path had another note. The goal was for students to reach the end of the maze where I put a small prize, such as a sticker or other fun item, for each of the students. This game was a huge hit with the students.

Apple Picking:

The second game I played with the students was apple picking. For this game I created a tree out of cardstock and taped it to the wall. On the tree I taped apples that I had printed with either middle C or another note on them. The goal of the game was to gather all the “sweet apples” (middle C) and discard all the “sour apples” (not middle C). Each student took turns picking one apple off the wall and deciding it was “sweet” or “Sour”. Though this was a simple game I was surprised by how popular it was. Due to the simplicity of this game I actually plan to add it to my regular weekly games with students.


If you would like to use either of these games in your studio here and here are sheets of apples you can print and here and here are sheets of middle C flash cards with a few other cards as well.

Add Some Easter Fun to your Piano Lessons this Week

As of recently the blog has been very quite. Blogging has been a new adventure for me this year and I am still learning to balance teaching, life, and posting regularly. In addition, not only did I double my studio the spring but my husband and I also recently moved. Now that all the boxes are unpacked and things have fallen into a bit of a routine I feel I can finally start devoting more time to the blog.  I have some great posts coming in the next few weeks I hope you will enjoy and a regular posting schedule!

Around the holidays I often enjoyed incorporating holiday themed games for the concepts my students are working on. For Easter I was specifically looking for a simple game idea to use with my preschool piano students. A few weeks ago I picked up some plastic Easter eggs knowing that somehow I could use them with my students. I knew I needed something simple to prepare and I wanted to provide students with an opportunity to review what we have been learning. I decided to send my preschool students on a simple egg hunt. Inside each egg is either an activity, a song, or name of a key they are learning on the piano.Add some Easter Fun to Piano Lessons This week

For example, my preschool students are working on naming the white keys and finding two or three groups of black keys. I cut several index cards in half and either put a song they are working on, a letter from the musical alphabet, or a picture of two or three black keys. I placed the index cards in about eight eggs with a surprise sticker or temporary tattoo in one egg. I am planning to start each lesson with the review game, by having them find all the eggs and then go through each egg completing each assignment.

I am looking forward to trying this game with my young preschool beginners this week. For older students working on note recognition I have put note flashcards in each egg. I will be having these students name the note and play the correct key on the piano. There are endless options for using Easter eggs in lessons this week by putting different cards in each egg. You could review songs in preparation for recital time, practice rhythm, sight reading and much more.  If you need a quick inexpensive way to add some fun to lessons this week I hope this gives you some ideas.

Search and Find for Preschool Piano Students

Simple and fun Preschool Piano GameRecently I started teaching a preschool boy. In the past I have always had a small handful of preschool piano students. When I first started teaching children ages 4-5 there were very few resources for teaching preschoolersso I always had to start from scratch. Since then I have found a few resources to use as guides.  Andrea and Trevor Dow over at Teach Piano Today have created WunderKeys, an excellent resource for preschoolers which I am currently usuing. I am enjoying using this program  and as always I enjoy adding to excellent resources with my own games.  This week I created a search and find for my preschooler. The game way huge hit, and since we played it before the lesson it helped get the after school jitters out.  I printed cards with treble clef, bass, clef, quarter notes, whole notes, and half notes. I then hid them around the room. I then instructed him to find 3 quarter notes etc until all the notes/symbols were found. (I do not call the notes by their proper names with this age. Instead I use One, Too-oo and No no won’t go. More on this later)


Download the search and find cards here.