I decided to use the book, and flipped to the first page (about frogs). I made up a cheesy song (but she's only 3 and doesn't care) about how frogs go hop hop hop, and as I sang, she and I went "hop hop hop" on the piano keys, from bottom to top. We continued to do this for each animal throughout the book, and it really was great work for her and her age.
Deer are soft and quiet, so we practiced playing soft and quietly.
Ants crawl along the ground in single file....so we played one note at a time with one finger up and down the keyboard.
After finishing the book, here is what she learned (while not knowing anything about the piano)
- You can play LOUD and soft (we had dogs - that barked loud and deer - that slept quietly)
- There are high notes and low notes (we had birds- that twittered up high and elephants - that clumped down on the low notes)
- You can play with all fingers or one finger (we had bears that growled -with our fists, and ants that crwaled - with one finger)
- You can play smoothly or short (stacatto) (we had fish- that swam smoothly over all the keys, and we had rabbits- that went hop hop hop up and down the keyboard)
- You can play quickly or slowly (we had foxes - that ran over the keys, and turtles - that played one note at a time r-e-a-l slow)
- You can play on black or white keys (we had the dogs barking on the black keys -with our fists, and other animals on the white keys)
I really think this turned out to be a great and useful idea for teaching young beginning students about the piano. When they can't read yet, it's great to use this picture book to explore the keyboard, and enjoy music. I can see using this for teaching tempos and dynamics and hand position....and oh so many things, even before they start the "official" piano books!