This piano lesson plan is designed to teach your student the difference between quarter notes and half notes with an introduction to counting using the name of the notes. For additional primer piano level lessons plans you can click here. I will use the Bastien Piano Method for my lesson plans but each lesson can be easily adapted to accommodate other methods.  

1.       Lesson Review

Check your student's assignments from the week before and look for incomplete or incorrect areas. Have them demonstrate playing a high set of two black notes, low set of two black notes, etc. 
  • Fun Piano Lesson Activity – Sometimes the best way to review material and to make sure a student fully understands a concept is through an activity or game. I created this Make a Keyboard Activity to reinforce the pattern of the black keys. Print the activity on card stock. When you cut out the white keys, use the side without the letters on them for this lesson. You will use the other side of the white keys at a later date.

Once you feel your student has a good understanding of the previous week’s material, you can move on to the next lesson as follows:

2.       Bastien Primer THEORY Book page 4 – Rhythm in Music

Explain that different kinds of notes are used to make rhythm in music. Some notes are short, while others are held for a longer time. Ask your student these questions
     -   What difference do you see in the two notes at the top of the page?
     -   What are the names of these notes?
    -       Can you find another quarter note on this page? Another half note?
  • Fun Piano Lesson Activity - Rather than teach my students how to count using numbers at this stage, I have them “count” the rhythm using the name of the note. This helps them remember the names and differences of the notes. For instance, to “count” the song at the bottom of the page it would sound like this:
                                   “quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, half note, half note,
                                    quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, half note, half note.”

Draw out the words “half note” so that the timing is correct.  Have the student practice clapping and “counting” the song by saying the name of the note. For a smaller child, it may be easier for them to pat their leg rather than clap.

3.       Bastien Primer THEORY Book page 5 – Stems on Notes

#11 - #12 only - Explain that stems go up or down. Up stems go on the right side, and down stems go on the left side. Have you student add stems to a few notes. You may have them complete this section during the lesson, or at home.

4.       Bastien Primer PIANO Book pages 8-9

Ask your student the following questions
     -    Can you find a quarter note? A half note?
     -  Which direction are the notes going?
     -  Which hand should play? Which fingers?

Have your student “count” each song by saying “quarter” or “half note” out loud as they clap.
  •  Fun Piano Lesson Activity – rather than just clapping and counting, you can have your student jump for each note, pat their head, beat a drum, tap their nose, etc.
Once you feel they understand the rhythm of the songs, have them try playing each song for you. You may follow Bastien’s practice directions for further instruction.

5.       Bastien Primer PERFORMANCE Book pages 2-3

Ask the same questions as above and have your student try “counting” in their head this time using the names of the notes.
Remind your student not to tuck their unused fingers under like this.

All fingers should be relaxed and hand should be open. 

Bastien Primer THEORY page 4 – Rhythm in music
#8 - #9 You may have them do a couple during the lesson or complete this at home.
#10 - The Moon - This will be your students first opportunity to compose their own piece. Tell them not to write just any finger number underneath the notes, but to play around and create a melody they like. Remind them to look at the note direction to determine which hand should be played and when – hands are not played together at the same time.

Bastien Primer THEORY page 5 – Stems on Notes
#11 - #12 – Remind your student that the stem goes on one side of the note, depending on which direction the stem is going. Many students just put a stem in the middle of the note. 

Bastien Primer PIANO page 8 – The First March
Count out loud using the name of the note

Bastien Primer PIANO page 9 – Balloon Man
Count out loud using the name of the notes

Bastien Primer PERFORMANCE page 2 – Lazy Lion
Count in your head using the name of the notes

Bastien Primer PERFORMANCE page 3 – Buzzing Bees
Count in your head using the name of the notes

If you have already taught this lesson what worked for you? What didn't? What other activities and tips did you use to make this lesson a success?

As always, feel free to ask questions and/or give me suggestions either through the comments or by contacting me. 


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