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piano keys

How to Memorize Piano Keys

It’s your new piano student’s first lesson and they need to memorize piano keys.  Thinking about how to get your piano student to learn the keys is crucially important, but once mastered they will be well on their way to the fun part – playing music. The next 5 steps, taught in order, make for a great first lesson and will make memorizing easy for the child.

Step 1

Have them count the keys on the piano—yes, all of them.  Hopefully they get to 88.  This will give them something to do right away that they can be successful with as well as give you a measure of how long they can maintain basic concentration.

Step 2

Ask them to describe the pattern marked by the black keys on the piano.  (Answer:  Alternating groups of three and two)


Step 3

Explain that the groups of two black keys forms the “dog house” and the groups of three black keys forms the “big house.”


Step 4

Show them this diagram:

memorize piano keys


  • Walk the through the explanation that goes like this:
    1. The family that lives in the “big house” has 3 pets; a dog, a cat, and an elephant.Memorize Piano Keys
    2. The (D)dog lives in the dog house
    3. The (C)cat is on the outside left of the dog house
    4. The (E)elephant is on the right of the dog house.
    5. To get into the big house you have to go through the (F)front doorMemorize Piano Keys
    6. (G)grandpa’s room is first, and (A)auntie’s room is second.
    7. After auntie’s room is the (B)back door of the house.


Step 5

  • Once the “story of the keys” has been told, have the student immediately tell it back to you.
  • Next, go through the following activities:
    1. Have them find every D on the piano
    2. Have them find every G on the piano
    3. Go through steps 1 and 2 with every note
    4. Finally, tell them that although there are many C’s on the piano, there is only one C that is “middle C.”  Have them guess which C is “middle C.”


For homework, have your new student explain the “story of the keys” to a different person everyday for 6 days, or, until their next piano lesson.

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