How to Learn a New Song

Learning a new song on the piano can be challenging, especially for a beginning student. Once the piano lesson is over, how do you help your child take the next step? Here are some tips for learning new songs:

Listen

Before your child tries to play a song, have them listen to it several times. In fact, if you have the listening tracks from the Hoffman Academy Lesson Materials, it would be a good idea to start listening to a song at least a week before watching the lesson that introduces it.

Sing

Have your child sing the song along with the lesson or listening track, sing along with you, and then try singing it alone. For many kids, being able to sing a beginning level song is all it takes for them to be able to play it.

Try It

Learning anything new requires some trial and error, and that’s true for new piano songs too. Have your child try playing the song. After playing through, go back and listen or sing it again. Ask them if what they played sounded right, and if not, what needs to change the next time they play.

Sometimes, even after listening and singing, a child might still be struggling to play a song. If that happens, here are some other things you can try:

  • Have your child sing out loud WHILE playing.
  • Using the sheet music, take a measure or two at a time, and have your child walk through, note by note, and tell whether notes are repeating, stepping up or down, or skipping up or down.
  • Instead of singing the lyrics, sing the solfège or the finger numbers.
  • Watch the lesson again.

After a child is able to play a song from start to finish, but is still making a few mistakes, here are some ways to help them improve:

  • Day 1: Play your age. Have your child play through the song as many times as their age in years.
  • Day 2: Earn your age. Now the goal is to see if your child can play the song with no missed notes. Every success earns a point. Any missed notes and you lose a point. When you earn as many points as your age, you win!
  • Super Challenges: Once your child can play the melody of a beginning song well with one hand, try playing it the other hand, or with both hands. You can also try changing to a different position, for example if a song is in C position try playing it in G position.

Learning new songs is one of the most fun and exciting parts of music lessons. Remember to take it a step at a time, and approach the song through listening and singing before playing. Before long, a new song will feel like an old friend.

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