"Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is a NURSERY song - will my students beat it?"

Absolutely - don"t worry!  For new beginners, even adults, they are just happy come play something the is recognizably music! 

It is foundational because that skill-building

Of all my piano music for beginning students, Mary had a tiny Lamb is the many necessary and the many versatile. Yes, that is just a nursery rhyme, however there is so much you have the right to do v it!


You will view what i mean if you read to the bottom that this really LONG PAGE.

You are watching: Mary had a little lamb piano letters

Please scroll down to discover the cost-free downloadable PDF links.

Sometimes friend just have to offer them what"s great for them!

Though you would certainly think children might turn up their noses at a nursery-rhyme song, just the sometimes teenager looks mortified...

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

And the satisfied of mastering a recognizable song is such that they all end up enjoying it (for at least a small while!) - they room enjoying enduring the skill of your fingers producing a genuine melody.

Why is it loaded with finger numbers?

Above, you check out an arrangement with every the finger number (shades of man Thompson!)

Yes, this is a rote approach, yet no, that won"t death your students to learn a item by rote NOW and THEN.

In fact, that will boost their lull playing piece by memory, or "by heart," together we sometimes speak to it. It"s an excellent ear cultivate too.

Using lettered notes

Now right here is a version even simpler to read, if possible, making use of made-easy notes, recognized as Alpha-Notes:


There is so much you can do through this song!  As piano music because that kids, it is unbeatable for mirroring them exactly how to use chords.

Now I"m walk to show you the countless ways I use Mary had a tiny Lamb, again and also again, increase to two or three years after the piano student has learned it the very first time...

Adding a left hand

After the melody is well in hand, we start trying out an open C chord (c & g) v the LH (left hand), pressing the chord on beat 1 of each measure.

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


Usually ns will have them play the LH while ns play the RH, just to present them how it sounds, telling them that we"ll try adding it to Mary had actually a small Lamb next lesson.

I don"t draw notes because that them, but show them how to make the chord. If they have actually been act pentascales, it"s straightforward for castle to walk "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" v the LH, and also then hit 5 and also 1 together.

Kids love adding the chord come MHaLL; it makes it sound choose a actual song.

Identifying chords

I allude out (many times,generally) that chords start with the pinky, or bottom finger, ~ above the name of the chord. The seems vital to tension that"bottom" and "low" space LEFT on the piano ("where the guys sing"), and "top" and "high" are appropriate on the piano ("where the women and children sing").

Frequently kids and also even adults will think the the C is wherein the LH thumb goes. No big deal---they"ll obtain it eventually. Specifically if they have been doing mirror scales, lock will uncover that straightforward mistake come make.

From major to minor

Now change it to MINOR - very cool!


I offer it another couple of weeks, while various other concepts and pieces room being learned, then come earlier to Mary had actually a tiny Lamb (they space still playing it) and turn the into scary, sad piano music.

That is, I have them lower the 3rd finger the the melody, E, come Eb.

That alters the key from major to minor, and also gives the song a sad or melancholy feeling, or even a note of danger.

Some kids are electrified by this small change, and the strength it gives them to develop a mood! us re-name ours new-sounding tune "Mary shed Her tiny Lamb." an extremely fun. And we get to use the same open up LH C chord.

Now contrast major with minor

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

Minor sounds great down LOW, then we jump up to a greater octave because that the happy version. This is really popular with many kids.

Adding in the V7 chord

The next readjust we make is including a little G7 chord that I call a "pinch" chord.

It is just a 2-note inversion of the G7 chord.

The LH stays in its C chord position, yet presses G & F in addition to the 1 & 2 fingers. This doesn"t take place until student are very solid v the i chord, C.

See measure 3:


Don"t bother creating in bass staff notes

I don"t compose notation onto your music (they wouldn"t read it if ns did, at this stage of their musical development!), yet scratch some symbols up above the melody: "G pinch chord" and also "G" & "F" v circles and "1" & "2" attracted inside the circles, because that fingering.

Changing chords is much harder than playing simply one chord, for this reason it will certainly take a little more time come polish.  I"ll take over the melody during the lesson at first, so they can focus on the brand-new chord change.

This setup adds the chord symbols:

Please scroll under the page for the download links.

Transpose and get familiar with various keys

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

After a few months, when Mary Lost and Found is second nature, ns come ago to the again with an entirely new mission -- TRANSPOSING.

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

This is rote learning - no notation

The ear will be helping out.

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

I shot to it is in patient, because if they have the right to see what"s walk on without me just telling them, they"ll remember it better.

Students are typically intrigued when you point out the D major and D young are simply the opposite in appearance come C major and C minor; C major (C) is "all white notes," and C boy (Cm) has a black keep in mind in the middle.

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

Go as much as you can; you can constantly come earlier again later

We"ll remain with C, Cm, D, and Dm because that a while, then gradually, together the student is able, start moving to every the rest of the secrets or positions. 

If they room not yet grasping the formula for structure a pentatonic major scale (Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole) then i draw little hollow circles on your lesson paper to stand for the 5 note of MHaLL, and color in the people that must be black secrets with pen or pencil (or let them do it).

Even if the "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," is hard for them, we still speak it together and also make the scale at the lesson. Occasionally they"ll forget how to perform it in ~ home...we just do that again.

The pentascale of B is the biggie!

Getting come the key of B is a big deal, and we have a Transposing Chart that a star go onto as soon as they have actually finished v the white note tonic keys. (This help me keep track, as well as giving them a sense of accomplishment.)

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

But, if castle are burned out on this song, we may really well move to other else and start end again at the vital of C.

Now for the "black" keys!

Gb might be the best vital to begin with, as Mary had a small Lamb doesn"t call for the 4 finger, and also so there will certainly be only black notes, no white notes combined in. (Except for the "pinch" chord!)

The secrets of abdominal and Db will feel comparable to each other, but Bb and also Eb will be a little bit of a challenge.  

(Whenever we room playing in B or B flat, I have a tiny mantra ns say come them the helps lock remember: "B is white on the bottom, black on the top.  Bb is black on the bottom, white ~ above the top.  The B"s are various than all the others!")

Some kids really love transposing. However, I frequently wait because that the second or third transposed song before I have actually them shot transposing right into the black-note keys, particularly if there was a struggle discovering it!

Even older deliver students who read right into Level 3 music have been known to have difficulties.  

But transposing is so an excellent for discovering the finger trends of the different keys, and also for sharpening the ear.

More songs because that transposing

When they"re with with Mary had actually a small Lamb, I constantly have them aid me choose the following piece to transpose.

Ode come Joy, jingle Bells, and any item that remains in a 5-finger sample is commonly a good bet.  and even the boy pieces, such as "Snake Charmer" and also "Irish Wedding," have the right to be very satisfying.

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

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

Starting to learn beautiful chord patterns

The last point I use MHaLL for is chord sample practice. The melody is so easy, that when it comes time because that them to stretch us a small and begin using broken chords in the LH, MHaLL is the perfect song.

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

This is the song I usage when kids are all set to begin playing the sample I call "broken chord stretch," which will open up up the people of play really beautiful chord song to them.

It is a stepping stone to higher things!

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

It appeared that every week, yet another young girl would pertained to her lesson and also ask plaintively, "Can i play Titanic?"

Usually, the an approach involved in the arrangement of the Titanic ns was providing my students to be just past where countless of them to be -- the was, in fact, complete of "the damaged chord stretch."

Eventually I well-known this desire in my students because that the fabulous opportunity it was.

I posted a sign on my studio door the said,

"Yes, ns will give you Titanic, however only after you have the right to play Mary had a little Lamb with damaged chord large in all the keys!" 

Let me tell you the what formerly stretched the end over month - the discovering of C, climate D, climate E, then... Well, you get the idea - what had actually previously taken month took only a couple of weeks come learn!

Such is the strength of a inspiring piece of music that students lengthy TO PLAY.

Of course, this is for youngsters whose hands are large enough to make the octave stretch.

First they learn the chord pattern: a C open chord (C and also G notes) plus an additional C top top top.

The 2 finger goes where the 1 has always gone, on G. Use it prefer an anchor or a hinge, ns tell castle -- the 2 finger is a pivot...and don"t try to host 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 small Lamb if they perform the C chord.

Just the C chord, no the G chord. That"s for later, as soon as they"ve become pretty solid through the technique.

They will typically come ago to their next lesson having actually played this LH pattern all week long with your favorite hand,the best hand.

Oh well! We just do the again, and maybe have THEM try the melody of Mary had a small Lamb come it best then,so there will certainly be no mistaking which hand does which.

"Can you obstacle your tummy and pat her head at the same time?" i ask them, demonstrating.

This is constantly fun come do, and also illustrates for them that this requires a new kind the hand coordination.

Physical skills like this room fun come learn... That takes work, however I tell them to just shot it v Mary had a tiny Lamb 1 time (1x) or 2x a day in ~ first.

And to treat it simply as as soon as they learned to ride a bike... When they "crash," just start end again and also see if lock can obtain a little farther.

Some youngsters will obtain it ideal away. Others will struggle a bit.

But they will certainly all reap it, especially when you ask lock to put the pedal down and play it increase high.

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Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is TRANSFORMED.

Here space the sheet music PDF links:

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

Download Mary had actually a small Lamb through easy-to-read key-board music notes with the names inside the note-heads

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

More 5-finger song at ubraintv-jp.com:

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

Erie Canal - part I has actually only 5 notes, but is a satisfying arrival to this song