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  • Writer's pictureChristine Bemko Kril

Why Start With Letters?

A teacher was asking me the other day why I use letters to start piano for beginners? Wouldn't notes be better?

The answer is simple: with beginners and neurodiverse learners I found it most valuable to build on the knowledge they already possess, a learning process called "scaffolding". By applying scaffolding to learning piano, I start with what beginners already know, letters, and teach from there.

The musical system has only seven letters - A B C D E F G. Just these seven letters! With that knowledge and a simple keyboard chart, beginners can easily identify every key across the keyboard. They can learn to play a song in many locations across the keyboard, and it's only a simple and achievable step forward from something they already know.

Popular songs that are familiar and easy to sing also help beginners start playing from the very first step. They have success, and music becomes accessible and fun. "I can do it!" Many famous musicians have started out in just this way - picking out familiar tunes on the piano.

Yes, we will have to learn notation, but in this way the notation will have a foundation that is concrete and just one more step forward.

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