The Piano Chords Fun Book | Chords and Arranging for Kids

Do you want to teach chords and arranging to your music students?

The Piano Chords Fun Book is a 24 page easy-to-understand resource, including popular left hand accompaniment patterns, tips for accompanying singers and instrumentalists, tips for voicing chords, lead sheets, and the most repinned piano chord chart on Pinterest.

Download and Print Piano Lesson Book

The Piano Chords Fun Book | Chords and Arranging for Kids

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Contents
Easy to Read Piano Chord Chart (2 Pages)
Examples of Popular Left Hand Accompaniment Patterns
Tips for Accompanying Singers and Instrumentalists
Introduction to Chord Voicing
8 Lead Sheets (Jesus Loves Me, Hot Cross Buns, Baby Bumblebee, Mary Ann, Brahms’ Lullaby, Jingle Bells, Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella and Simple Gifts)
Music Manuscript Paper (2 Pages)

This book makes accompanying easy. It begins with the most popular accompaniment pattern – the boom-chick – and builds from there. The first few pages are devoted to learning how to create arrangements of songs for solo piano. The next part shows students how to accompany singers and instrumentalists. To make your arrangements really sound great two pages are set aside for chord voicing – the art of chord inversions, spacing and chord member doublings. The next section is worth the price of the book all by itself – lead sheets. Eight lead sheets are included (listed in the contents above) to help students get started. After that they can print digital download lead sheets and fake books on  sites like SheetMusicPlus.com and MusicNotes.com. Finally, two pages of music manuscript paper are included to write out a few ideas. Students may have a hard time understanding how the music and the accompaniment patterns fit together in their head, so the manuscript paper will be helpful.

Here are a few pages from the book:

The Piano/Keyboard Chord Chart includes 48 of the most popular piano chords. Unless your students are learning a jazz lead sheet (with rich chord extensions) this piano chord chart should be all they’ll need.

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This page is the first page of instruction, introducing students to left hand accompaniment patterns. Example #1 provides students with an easy to play song – Hot Cross Buns – with the boom-chick accompaniment pattern. Since this book is all about the accompaniment it’s nice to have a simple melody to play. Example #2 show students how to adapt the boom-chick pattern for 3/4 meter to accompany Brahms Lullaby.

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This page is one of the 8 lead sheets included at the end of this book. Each lead sheet includes the melody, chords and lyrics. The list of songs is included in the contents (see above).

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The basics of arranging a song is simply applying “vocabulary of ideas” to a song. The Piano Chords Fun Book is a “vocabulary” builder. Choose one of the patterns included in this book that’s right for your song and you’re on your way to a solid arrangement. Refine it a little with the other tips included in this book and you’re well on the way to greatness!

The Piano Chords Fun Book | Chords and Arranging for Kids

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Learn to Write Music – Book and Music Notation Apps

Most kids won’t grow up to be music composers. However, the opportunity to compose or arrange music shouldn’t be overlooked as it will bring a richness of understanding to their musical experience that you just can’t get any other way.

I started writing and arranging music is high school, and my band director had the jazz and concert band read every single thing I wrote. I learned how to building chords, writing counterpoint, and orchestration. All these experiences made me a better listener and helped me to appreciate the music I played.

If you’d like to try composing with your students, but don’t know where to start, you can print this book – Composing with Kids | Fives “Recipes” for Success. Each “recipe” includes ingredients (like “use this ostinato”, “this form”, or “these rhythms”) and directions on how to combine them. If it sounds a lot like baking cookies… it is!

Download and Print Piano Lesson Book

Composing with Kids | Fives “Recipes” for Success

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Music Notation Apps

Seeing your music printed from a professional notation tool is an amazingly satisfying thing. I recently asked one of my students to give Finale Print Music a try, so she download the 30-day free trial. She loved it! One of the big advantages of writing things out with a notation program is that students get to hear a digital performance. Finale’s Human Playback feature is pretty nice. It still sounds like an electronic piano, but sounds very much like a real person is playing.

Noteflight
Noteflight is a web-based app that can be used on you iPad or Desktop. They offer a “try before you buy” account, so you can check things out first.  Noteflight is supportive to teachers and students and includes many materials and lesson plans for download.

Finale Print Music
Finale Print Music is a basic version of Make Music’s Finale software. They also offer a “try before you buy” account, so you can check things out first. I began writing arrangements with Print Music and liked it. It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to write simple piano arrangements, or music for full band or orchestra. The only reason I upgraded was so I could switch clefs mid-measure.

 

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Browse Piano Sheet Music and Music Theory Posts:

Ode to Joy | Easy Piano Sheet Music – Play and Learn™ Edition
Teaching Dynamics: Linking the Visual Arts to Music
Music Flash Cards | Treble and Bass Clef
Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music/Level 1
Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music/Level 2
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 3
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 4
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level  5

Music for Little Mozart’s | iPad App Review

Looking for an app to drill basic theory skills? Music for Little Mozart’s iPad app from Alfred Music is a great pick for beginning students.

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Review

The app provides drill and practice activities for:

  • Distinguishing between High and Low Sounds
  • Melodic Direction (Up or Down)
  • Rhythmic Identification (Simple Rhythms)
  • Notes Naming Skill Development

Other notable features for this app include a point system rewards students for correct answers, and cute watercolor animals that are sure to be a hit with kids. It would be nice to see app developed that meet the growing needs of students as they progress through the Alfred series piano books.

Download iPad App

Music for Little Mozart’s App

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Browse Piano Sheet Music and Music Theory Posts:

Flash Frog™ | Music Flash Cards for Beginners
Silent Night | Beginner Piano Sheet Music
10 Beginner Piano Pieces Kids Love to Play
Amazing Grace | Free Beginner and Easy Piano Sheet Music
Free Beginner Piano Duets Sheet Music
Free Sheet Music for Piano | Great Composers for Little Fingers

Treble Clef Kids | iPad App Review

Looking for a fun way to drill note names and keyboard key names? Treble Clef kids has been a go-to solution for my students, and may be just what the doctor ordered for you and your students.

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Music iPad App Review

While the graphics fall a bit short, the value of the drill and practice activities are worth the price of the app. The cheering and the funny sounds for wrong answers add an element of fun. It would also be nice to see a scoring system added to engage the kids a bit more.

Download iPad App

Treble Clef Kids | iPad App

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Composing with Kids (Book) – Learn to Write Music

Composing with Kids is a creative resource for piano teachers who are interested in introducing music composition to their students. It’s provides music teachers with five lessons that make composing music very simple, and kids will feel successful with their very first try.

Composing with Kids | Five “Recipes for Success

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Free Music Lesson Plans Included:

 

  • Hot Cross Buns Remix – This lesson provides you with a simple arrangement of Hot Cross Buns, and asks the students to write a variation on this melody.
  • Walk Like an Egyptian – This lesson asks the student to write a piece with the Egyptian Scale. The accompaniment is provided.
  • Surprise Inside – This lesson asks the student to write a melody that saves a note until late in the eight measure melody, offering a refreshing sound.
  • Ostinato, Ostinato, Ostinato – This lesson asks students to write a D Dorian melody over a provided ostinato accompaniment.
  • Ragtime Mix-n-Match – This lesson asks students to select pre-written musical phrases to form an eight measure ragtime melody with accompaniment. The lesson allows students to access which phrases work well together, and which phrases lend themselves to ending material verses interior material.

Download Music Composition Workbook

Composing with Kids | Five “Recipes for Success

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Alfred’s Basic Piano Library – Piano Lesson Books Review

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library is a leading piano book series for the beginning and intermediate piano student. Throughout each level a wonderful world of excitement is opened for piano students in their first years of study.

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The Collection

Piano Lessons – Core Study

The Lesson Books are carefully designed to progress in a smooth and consistent manner. Supplemental books in the Alfred’s Basic Piano Library series are correlated with the core lesson books.

The Theory Books are filled with a wide selection of fun activities designed to reinforce the musical idea presented in the lesson books. They are clear, effective, and engaging for the young learner.

The Technic Books work to develop coordination of the hands. The exercises are short, with repetitive rhythms that make reading very easy.

Piano Lessons – Supplemental Study

The Recital Books include well-written solos which are perfect for recitals.

The Ear Training Books provide additional reinforcement through rhythmic, melodic and intervallic drills.

The Repertoire Books provide the piano student with popular works from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras.

Overview

Strengths: The series is well organized and the music generally well written.

Weaknesses: Some of the arrangements could be reworked to achieve a more pleasing sound.

Overall: Highly Recommended

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Faber and Faber Piano Methods are Fantastic!

Faber and Faber Piano Adventures Series has set a high standard for piano methods. The arrangements are generally well written and the music selected for this series right on target, providing kids with resources that give them a desire to practice.

Below are a few examples of that series. Each one is sure to be a hit!

Piano Adventures Popular Repertoire, Level 2B

Piano Adventures Popular Repertoire, Level 2B contents include Ashokan Farewell, Ding-Dong!, The Witch Is Dead (from the Wizard of Oz), Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina, I Want to Hold Your Hand, The James Bond Theme, Linus and Lucy, Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz), and The River. The arrangements of the James Bond them and Linus and Lucy are reason enough to get the book. You can purchase this book at SheetMusicPlus.com.

PlayTime Piano Popular

Playtime Piano Popular is a great choice for the Level 2 student. All of the selections include a teacher accompaniment part that make it all the more exciting for the student once they have sufficiently practiced their part. The book includes This Land Is Your Land, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, Rocky Top, (Meet) The Flintstones, On the Good Ship Lollipop, Toyland, La Bamba, Star Wars (Main Theme), and Music Box Dancer. You can purchase this book at SheetMusicPlus.com.

PlayTime Piano More Popular

PlayTime Piano More Popular contents include The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle, Chim Chim Cher-ee, The Dog Kids Love to Bite, The Green Mosquito, I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Scooby Doo Main Title, A Spoonful of Sugar, Telstar, Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips with Me, You Light Up My Life, and You’re a Grand Old Flag. All arrangements are written for the Level 2 piano student, and include teacher accompaniment parts that make it all the more exciting for the student once they have sufficiently practiced their part. . You can purchase this book at SheetMusicPlus.com.

ShowTime Piano Favorites

ShowTime Piano Favorites contains a collection of familiar melodies and folksongs. All arrangements are written for the Level 2 piano student. Contents include The Ash Grove, Bill Groggin’s Goat, Boom Boom (Ain’t it Great to be Crazy), The Centipede and the Frog, Five My Regards to Broadway, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Irish Washerwoman, Lil Liza Jane, Michael Finnegan, Music Alone Shall Live, My Ma Gave Me a Nickel, Off to Bed Now, The Old Gray Mare, Old King Cole, Peter Peter, Shave and a Haircut, The Three Doughs. You can purchase this book at SheetMusicPlus.com.

ChordTime Piano Classics

ChordTime Piano Classics is best suited for the Level 3 student. Contents include arrangements of some of the great symphonic and operatic works. March Militaire, Trumpet Concerto Theme of Haydn, Surprise Symphony Theme, Trekpak from The Nutcracker, Largo from New World Symphony, Pizzicato Polka, Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus, Aria from Bach’s Peasant Cantata, The Little Man in the Woods from Hansel and Gretel, La Donna E Mobile from Rigoletto, Rage over the Lost Penny by Beethoven, Polovetzian Dance by Borodin, William Tell Overture, and Roses from the South. You can purchase this book at SheetMusicPlus.com.

Have Fun Practicing!