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

Absolutely - don"t worry!  For brand-new beginners, also adults, lock are simply happy come play something that is recognizably music! 

It is foundational for skill-building

Of all my piano music for start students, Mary had actually a small Lamb is the most necessary and the many versatile. Yes, it is simply a nursery rhyme, however there is so lot you can do with it!


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You will view what ns mean if you review to the bottom the this an extremely LONG PAGE.

You are watching: Mary had a little lamb piano sheet music with letters

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Sometimes you just have to offer them what"s good for them!

Though you would think kids might rotate up your noses in ~ a nursery-rhyme song, only the occasional teenager look at mortified...

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

And the satisfied of mastering a recognizable track is such that they all end up enjoy it it (for at least a little while!) - they space enjoying experiencing the ability of their fingers developing a genuine melody.

Why is the loaded with finger numbers?

Above, you watch an setup with every the finger numbers (shades of man Thompson!)

Yes, this is a rote approach, but no, that won"t kill your college student to learn a item by rote NOW and THEN.

In fact, the will rise their lull playing pieces by memory, or "by heart," together we sometimes call it. It"s an excellent ear cultivate too.

Using lettered notes

Now below is a variation even easier to read, if possible, utilizing made-easy notes, known as Alpha-Notes:


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There is so much you have the right to do with this song!  As piano music for kids, that is unbeatable for reflecting them exactly how to usage chords.

Now I"m walk to display you the numerous ways I usage Mary had actually a little Lamb, again and again, up to 2 or three years after ~ the piano student has learned that the first time...

Adding a left hand

After the melody is fine in hand, we start trying out an open up C chord (c & g) v the LH (left hand), pushing the chord on to win 1 of each measure.

Yes, even though the melody might use a G chord together well. (We"re comes to that!)


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Usually i will have actually them play the LH while i play the RH, simply to show them exactly how it sounds, telling them the we"ll try adding it come Mary had a tiny Lamb next lesson.

I don"t draw notes for them, yet show them just how to do the chord. If they have actually been doing pentascales, it"s straightforward for lock to walk "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" v the LH, and then hit 5 and 1 together.

Kids love including the chord come MHaLL; it makes it sound favor a actual song.

Identifying chords

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

Frequently kids and also even adults will think the the C is where the LH ignorance goes. No big deal---they"ll acquire it eventually. Especially if they have actually been doing mirror scales, lock will find that an easy mistake to make.

From major to minor

Now adjust it to MINOR - an extremely cool!


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I give it another couple of weeks, while other concepts and also pieces are being learned, then come back to Mary had a tiny Lamb (they room still playing it) and also turn that into scary, sad piano music.

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

That changes the crucial from significant to minor, and gives the tune a sad or melancholy feeling, or also a hints of danger.

Some children are electrified by this tiny change, and also the power it gives them to create a mood! we re-name ours new-sounding tune "Mary lost Her little Lamb." an extremely fun. And we gain to usage the same open LH C chord.

Now contrast major with minor

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

Minor sounds an excellent down LOW, then we jump as much as a greater octave because that the happy version. This is very popular with most kids.

Adding in the V7 chord

The next change we make is including a little G7 chord the I contact a "pinch" chord.

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

The LH stays in that is C chord position, but presses G & F along with the 1 & 2 fingers. This doesn"t occur until student are an extremely solid through the i chord, C.

See measure up 3:


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Don"t bother writing in base staff notes

I don"t compose notation onto their music (they wouldn"t review it if ns did, in ~ this stage of your musical development!), but scratch some signs up over the melody: "G pinch chord" and "G" & "F" through circles and also "1" & "2" attracted inside the circles, for fingering.

Changing chords is much harder than playing just one chord, therefore it will certainly take a little much more time to polish.  I"ll take over the melody throughout the lesson at first, for this reason they can emphasis on the new chord change.

This setup adds the chord symbols:


Please scroll under the web page for the download links.

Transpose and also get familiar with different keys

Now it"s time to enlist this tune in a brand-new cause - transposing!

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

From the tricks of C major and C minor, we move it up to D significant and D minor.

This is rote discovering - no notation

The ear will be help out.

First D major -- i play it for them, with the necessary f#, and ask if they an alert anything different.

I shot to it is in patient, since if they can see what"s going on without me simply telling them, they"ll remember that better.


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

With D, and also then Dm a mainly or 2 later, i make a huge deal about how the is the "3" finger that renders all the difference. And their ear will tell them when it is wrong, almost all of the time.

Go as much as girlfriend can; friend can constantly come earlier again later

We"ll continue to be with C, Cm, D, and also Dm because that a while, then gradually, together the college student is able, start relocating to all the remainder of the tricks or positions. 

If they room not however grasping the formula for building a pentatonic major scale (Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole) then i draw small hollow one on their lesson sheet to stand for the 5 notes of MHaLL, and also color in the ones that have to be black keys with pen or pencil (or permit them carry out it).

Even if the "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," is hard for them, us still say it together and make the range at the lesson. Periodically they"ll forget just how to perform it at home...we just do that again.

The pentascale that B is the biggie!

Getting come the crucial of B is a large deal, and we have actually a Transposing Chart that a star goes onto once they have actually finished v the white keep in mind tonic keys. (This helps me save track, and also giving them a feeling of accomplishment.)

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

But, if they are burned out on this song, we may really well switch to something else and start over again at the crucial of C.

Now for the "black" keys!

Gb may be the best crucial to begin with, together Mary had actually a little Lamb doesn"t call for the 4 finger, and also so there will be only black notes, no white notes blended in. (Except for the "pinch" chord!)


The keys of abdominal muscle and Db will feel similar to each other, but Bb and Eb will certainly be a bit of a challenge.  

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

Some children really love transposing. However, I often wait for the second or third transposed song prior to I have them shot transposing into the black-note keys, especially if there to be a struggle discovering it!

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

But transposing is so good for learning the finger trends of the different keys, and for sharpening the ear.

More songs because that transposing

When they"re v with Mary had actually a tiny Lamb, I constantly have them aid me choose the next piece come transpose.

Ode to Joy, solder Bells, and also any item that remains in a 5-finger pattern is commonly a great bet.  and also even the young pieces, such together "Snake Charmer" and also "Irish Wedding," can be very satisfying.

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

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

Starting to find out beautiful chord patterns

The last thing I usage MHaLL for is chord sample practice. The melody is for this reason easy, that as soon as it come time because that them come stretch us a little and begin using broken chords in the LH, MHaLL is the perfect song.


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

This is the tune I use when children are ready to begin playing the sample I call "broken chord stretch," i m sorry will open up up the people of playing really beautiful chord songs to them.


It is a stepping rock to higher things!

One that my favorite piano studio stories happened the year the movie "Titanic" came out.

It seemed that every week, yet an additional young girl would involved her lesson and ask plaintively, "Can i play Titanic?"

Usually, the method involved in the setup of the Titanic ns was providing my students was just beyond where many of them were -- it was, in fact, full of "the damaged chord stretch."

Eventually I recognized this desire in my students for the fabulous opportunity it was.

I post a sign on my studio door the said,

"Yes, i will offer you Titanic, but only after you deserve to play Mary had actually a tiny Lamb with broken chord big in every the keys!" 

Let me phone call you the what formerly stretched out over month - the learning of C, climate D, climate E, then... Well, you acquire the idea - what had actually previously taken month took just a pair of weeks to learn!

Such is the strength of a motivating piece the music the students long TO PLAY.

Of course, this is for kids whose hands are huge enough to do the octave stretch.

First they find out the chord pattern: a C open up chord (C and G notes) plus one more C on top.

The 2 finger goes wherein the 1 has always gone, on G. Usage it like an anchor or a hinge, i tell them -- the 2 finger is a pivot...and don"t try to organize the pinky (5th finger) down!

A new level that coordination

"5-2-1-2, c-g-c-g..." ns play the melody to Mary had a tiny Lamb if they do the C chord.

Just the C chord, no the G chord. That"s because that later, when they"ve come to be pretty solid with the technique.


They will typically come earlier to their following lesson having played this LH pattern all week lengthy with your favorite hand,the appropriate hand.

Oh well! We simply do it again, and also maybe have THEM try the melody of Mary had actually a small Lamb to it best then,so there will be no mistaking i beg your pardon hand does which.

"Can you rub your tummy and pat your head in ~ the exact same time?" i ask them, demonstrating.

This is always fun come do, and also illustrates for them that this needs a new kind that hand coordination.

Physical skills like this room fun to learn... It takes work, however I call them to just try it with Mary had actually a little Lamb 1 time (1x) or 2x a day at first.

And come treat it just as as soon as they learned come ride a bike... When they "crash," just start end again and also see if castle can obtain a tiny farther.

Some youngsters will gain it appropriate away. Others will struggle a bit.

But they will all gain it, particularly when girlfriend ask castle to placed the pedal down and also play it up high.

See more: What Is A Group Of Bears Called, Why Is It Called That

Mary had a little Lamb is TRANSFORMED.

Here are the paper music PDF links:

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

Download Mary had actually a tiny Lamb through easy-to-read key-board music notes v the names within the note-heads

Download Mary had actually a tiny Lamb through chord symbols above the melody

More 5-finger songs at chrischona2015.org:

Cat Came earlier (easiest version) - v fun-to-sing lyrics, plenty of verses!

Erie Canal - component I has only 5 notes, yet is a satisfying introduction to this song