"Mary had a small Lamb is a NURSERY song - will certainly my students pat it?"

Absolutely - don"t worry!  For brand-new beginners, also adults, lock are simply happy to play something the is recognizably music! 

It is foundational because that skill-building

Of every my piano music for beginning students, Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is the most necessary and also the most versatile. Yes, it is simply a nursery rhyme, yet there is so much you deserve to do v it!


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You will see what i mean if you read to the bottom the this very LONG PAGE.

You are watching: Mary had a little lamb keys

Please scroll under to find the complimentary downloadable PDF links.


Sometimes you just have to provide them what"s good for them!

Though you would certainly think children might turn up their noses in ~ a nursery-rhyme song, only the occasional teenager look at mortified...

I always preface the item with "Now I"m walk to offer you a world-famous tune I offer to all my students, also "grown-ups.""

And the satisfied of mastering a recognizable song is such the they all end up enjoying it (for at least a little while!) - they are enjoying suffering the ability of your fingers creating a genuine melody.

Why is the loaded with finger numbers?

Above, you watch an plan with every the finger number (shades of man Thompson!)

Yes, this is a rote approach, yet no, it won"t kill your student to discover a item by rote NOW and also THEN.

In fact, the will boost their comfort playing piece by memory, or "by heart," together we sometimes call it. It"s good ear training too.

Using lettered notes

Now below is a variation even easier to read, if possible, using made-easy notes, well-known as Alpha-Notes:


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There is so much you deserve to do v this song!  As piano music for kids, the is unbeatable for mirroring them just how to usage chords.

Now I"m walking to display you the many ways I usage Mary had a little Lamb, again and again, increase to 2 or three years after the piano student has actually learned that the first time...

Adding a left hand

After the melody is well in hand, we start trying the end an open up C chord (c & g) with the LH (left hand), pressing the chord on win 1 of every measure.

Yes, also though the melody might use a G chord as well. (We"re comes to that!)


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Usually i will have them pat the LH while ns play the RH, simply to display them how it sounds, informing them the we"ll try adding it to Mary had actually a tiny Lamb following lesson.

I don"t draw notes for them, however show them how to do the chord. If they have been law pentascales, it"s basic for lock to walk "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" through the LH, and also then struggle 5 and also 1 together.

Kids love including the chord come MHaLL; it renders it sound prefer a genuine song.

Identifying chords

I suggest out (many times,generally) that chords begin with the pinky, or bottom finger, ~ above the name of the chord. The seems essential to stress and anxiety that"bottom" and "low" room LEFT top top the piano ("where the guys sing"), and also "top" and "high" are appropriate on the piano ("where the women and also children sing").

Frequently kids and also even adults will think that the C is whereby the LH thumb goes. No huge deal---they"ll obtain it eventually. Specifically if they have been doing mirror scales, castle will find that an easy mistake come make.

From significant to minor

Now adjust it to MINOR - an extremely cool!


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I give it another pair of weeks, while other concepts and also pieces are being learned, then come ago to Mary had a small Lamb (they room still playing it) and turn that into scary, sad piano music.

That is, I have actually them lower the third finger of the melody, E, come Eb.

That transforms the vital from major to minor, and gives the tune a sad or melancholy feeling, or even a note of danger.

Some children are electrified by this small change, and also the power it offers them to produce a mood! we re-name our new-sounding track "Mary shed Her little Lamb." an extremely fun. And also we obtain to usage the same open up LH C chord.

Now contrast significant with minor

When they are comfortable with that, then their assignment i do not care to play "Mary Lost and also Found" -- an initial sad (minor), climate happy (back come major).

Minor sounds good down LOW, then us jump up to a greater octave because that the happy version. This is very popular with most kids.

Adding in the V7 chord

The next change we make is adding a little G7 chord the I speak to a "pinch" chord.

It is simply a 2-note turning back of the G7 chord.

The LH stays in that is C chord position, but presses G & F in addition to the 1 & 2 fingers. This doesn"t take place until students are very solid with the ns chord, C.

See measure up 3:


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Don"t bother writing in bass staff notes

I don"t compose notation onto your music (they wouldn"t review it if ns did, in ~ this phase of your musical development!), however scratch some signs up above the melody: "G pinch chord" and "G" & "F" through circles and also "1" & "2" attracted inside the circles, for fingering.

Changing chords is lot harder than playing just one chord, therefore it will certainly take a little more time to polish.  I"ll take end the melody throughout the lesson in ~ first, therefore they can focus on the brand-new chord change.

This arrangement adds the chord symbols:


Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Transpose and also get familiar with various keys

Now it"s time to enlist this track in a brand-new cause - transposing!

After a few months, as soon as Mary Lost and Found is second nature, i come ago to that again with an entirely new mission -- TRANSPOSING.

From the keys of C significant and C minor, we move it approximately D significant and D minor.

This is rote learning - no notation

The ear will certainly be help out.

First D major -- i play it because that them, v the crucial f#, and also ask if they notification anything different.

I try to be patient, since if they deserve to see what"s walking on without me simply telling them, they"ll remember it better.


Students are frequently intrigued when you point out that D significant and D minor are simply the the opposite in appearance to C significant and C minor; C major (C) is "all white notes," and C boy (Cm) has a black note in the middle.

With D, and then Dm a main or two later, ns make a big deal around how it is the "3" finger that provides all the difference. And also their ear will tell them when it is wrong, almost all of the time.

Go as far as friend can; you can constantly come ago again later

We"ll continue to be with C, Cm, D, and also Dm for a while, then gradually, as the college student is able, start relocating to every the remainder of the keys or positions. 

If they are not however grasping the formula for building a pentatonic significant scale (Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole) then ns draw tiny hollow one on your lesson sheet to represent the 5 notes of MHaLL, and color in the ones that need to be black tricks with pen or pencil (or permit them do it).

Even if the "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," is hard for them, us still speak it together and also make the range at the lesson. Periodically they"ll forget just how to carry out it at home...we just do it again.

The pentascale the B is the biggie!

Getting to the an essential of B is a big deal, and we have a Transposing Chart that a star go onto when they have finished v the white note tonic keys. (This helps me store track, as well as giving lock a feeling of accomplishment.)

If they have really understood the concept of transposing well, and memorized "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," we may go on to the black-note keys.

But, if they are burned out on this song, we may really well switch to something else and start over again at the vital of C.

Now because that the "black" keys!

Gb may be the best an essential to start with, as Mary had actually a tiny Lamb doesn"t call for the 4 finger, and so there will be only black notes, no white notes blended in. (Except for the "pinch" chord!)


The tricks of abdominal and Db will feel similar to every other, yet Bb and also Eb will certainly be a little of a challenge.  

(Whenever we space playing in B or B flat, I have a little mantra ns say to them that helps lock remember: "B is white top top the bottom, black on the top.  Bb is black on the bottom, white ~ above the top.  The B"s are different than every the others!")

Some kids really love transposing. However, I frequently wait for the 2nd or 3rd transposed song before I have them try transposing right into the black-note keys, especially if there to be a struggle finding out it!

Even older move students that read into Level 3 music have been known to have actually difficulties.  

But transposing is so good for learning the finger fads of the different keys, and for sharpening the ear.

More songs for transposing

When they"re with with Mary had actually a little Lamb, I constantly have them assist me choose the following piece come transpose.

Ode to Joy, solder Bells, and also any piece that stays in a 5-finger pattern is typically a great bet.  and even the boy pieces, such together "Snake Charmer" and "Irish Wedding," can be an extremely satisfying.

A couple of of the songs in your lesson books lend us well to transposing, too, together as pieces at the finish of their Primer, and also "Firefly," "Girl ~ above a Bicycle" and also "Boy top top a Bicycle" in the Faber Piano Adventure Level 1 book, and also "Ice Cream" in the 2A book.

For a minor piece, "Forest Drums" is a most fun. 

Starting to learn beautiful chord patterns

The last thing I usage MHaLL because that is chord sample practice. The melody is so easy, that once it comes time because that them come stretch themselves a little and begin using broken chords in the LH, MHaLL is the perfect song.


The RH deserve to be placed on "autopilot" and also attention given to coordinating the 2 hands.

This is the song I usage when children are all set to begin playing the pattern I speak to "broken chord stretch," i beg your pardon will open up up the civilization of play really beautiful chord song to them.


It is a stepping stone to higher things!

One of my favorite piano studio stories happened the year the movie "Titanic" came out.

It seemed that every week, yet one more young girl would concerned her lesson and ask plaintively, "Can i play Titanic?"

Usually, the technique involved in the plan of the Titanic ns was providing my students to be just beyond where many of them were -- the was, in fact, complete of "the broken chord stretch."

Eventually I known this desire in mine students for the fabulous possibility it was.

I post a authorize on my studio door the said,

"Yes, ns will offer you Titanic, but only ~ you deserve to play Mary had actually a small Lamb with broken chord large in all the keys!" 

Let me tell you that what previously stretched out over month - the finding out of C, climate D, climate E, then... Well, you obtain the idea - what had actually previously taken months took just a couple of weeks come learn!

Such is the power of a encouraging piece of music that students lengthy TO PLAY.

Of course, this is for kids whose hand are big enough to make the octave stretch.

First they find out the chord pattern: a C open chord (C and also G notes) plus one more C ~ above top.

The 2 finger goes where the 1 has always gone, ~ above G. Usage it like an anchor or a hinge, ns tell them -- the 2 finger is a pivot...and don"t try to organize the pinky (5th finger) down!

A new level the coordination

"5-2-1-2, c-g-c-g..." i play the melody to Mary had actually a tiny Lamb when they do the C chord.

Just the C chord, not the G chord. That"s because that later, as soon as they"ve become pretty solid with the technique.


They will typically come ago to their next lesson having played this LH pattern every week lengthy with their favorite hand,the right hand.

Oh well! We simply do the again, and also maybe have THEM shot the melody that Mary had a tiny Lamb to it ideal then,so there will certainly be no mistaking i m sorry hand go which.

"Can you obstacle your tummy and also pat her head in ~ the very same time?" ns ask them, demonstrating.

This is constantly fun come do, and also illustrates because that them that this requires a brand-new kind of hand coordination.

Physical an abilities like this room fun come learn... That takes work, however I call them come just try it v Mary had actually a tiny Lamb 1 time (1x) or 2x a day in ~ first.

And come treat it just as when they learned to ride a bike... As soon as they "crash," just start end again and also see if castle can get a little farther.

Some children will gain it right away. Rather will struggle a bit.

But they will all gain it, specifically when girlfriend ask lock to put the pedal down and play it up high.

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Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is TRANSFORMED.

Here are the paper music PDF links:

Download Mary had a small Lamb, with level notes in the treble clef

Download Mary had a little Lamb through easy-to-read keyboard music notes with the names inside the note-heads

Download Mary had a little Lamb through chord symbols over the melody

More 5-finger song at benidormclubdeportivo.org:

Cat Came ago (easiest version) - with fun-to-sing lyrics, plenty of verses!

Erie Canal - component I has actually only 5 notes, yet is a satisfying introduction to this song