Lesson 3

Musical Alphabet

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  • Viviane

    Thank you so much, Mr. Hoffman for these awesome lessons!
    I’d like to ask you a question :
    You are using two musical notations : A B C D E F G, alternatively with the ancient or Latin notation : DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI, predominant in Europe.
    May I ask you why you use the term SO instead of SOL. More usually used in your country ?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      You are correct that we use two different musical notations: We use the musical alphabet (A B C D, etc.) as a fixed system and Solfege (Do Re Mi, etc.) as a movable or transposable system. Solfege was created by an Italian monk named Guido about a thousand years ago. To more easily teach and transpose melody lines, he named the tones of the scale. Those names came from a chant that began each line one note higher than the line before, from which he took the first syllable of each line. These syllables were just bits of words and don’t literally mean anything themselves: Ut (which later evolved to Do), Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, and La.

      In most American pronunciation, the l at the end of Sol is silent, so Sol and So are pronounced the same anyway. However, when the final l *is* pronounced, I find that it is usually detrimental to the voice quality because of the way the liquid consonant cuts off the lovely open “O” vowel. In my method I’ve actually chosen to remove the l to encourage my students to stick to the open “so” pronunciation. I realize we’re in the minority on this, but I’ve found it to be a successful tactic. Since “sol” is a nonsense syllable to begin with, and “so” still fits into the pattern of Guido’s original chant (just shorter than what he chose), I think he wouldn’t mind. πŸ™‚

      • Viviane

        Thank you, Mr. Hoffman, for your clear and complete explanation.
        Syllables “do rΓ© mi fa sol la si” are pronounced very differently in both languages: they sound long in English but brief (short?) in French. I understand much better your choice to prioritize voice quality.

        • Hoffman Academy logo
          Hoffman Academy

          You’re very welcome! Happy Playing! πŸ™‚

  • Pablo

    I have a keyboard that starts with C

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      The piano used in our lessons is a standard 88-key size, but pianos and keyboards with more or fewer keys will often start or end on different keys than what is demonstrated in the video. That’s just fine! πŸ™‚

  • Amanda

    Really enjoying your videos, sir! So happy to have found your website. We just got a free piano and are so excited to begin practicing. However, the piano only has 54 keys. Will that be an issue? Thanks so much your reply!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Welcome! We’re happy to have you learning with us. Your keyboard should be just fine for now. A few of the finger power exercises and other things demonstrated in the lesson may need slight alterations, but most of what we learn is easily contained within 54 keys (especially in the early units). A more serious concern with smaller keyboards is that they rarely have weighted keys, which are quite important for developing good technique and finger muscles. If possible, I would encourage you to start saving up for a better instrument down the road, but you can certainly get started using what you have. Also, feel free to check out our blog post, “Does My Child Need a Better Instrument?” I hope that helps!

  • Joshua

    I am new to piano, thank you so much for caring enough to share your expertise with the world!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I’m so glad you found us! Thanks for the encouragement and happy playing to you!

  • Maria G

    Thank you so much, Mr. Hoffmann for these fantastic lessons. I’m in my 40 and always wanted to learn piano and understand the basics of music theory. May I ask you a brief question? I really like how you visualize what you explain: Do the cards that you use (dot cards in lesson 1.1, alphabet cards, etc.) come along perhaps with the material that can be purchased for Unit 1?

    My little 3yro. enjoys your music lessons too; we watch them and then practice together. His favorite part of your lessons are the puppets at the end πŸ™‚ Thank you so much again for this wonderful opportunity. You are an amazing teacher for all ages!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Most of the visuals (or similar versions of those) used in our lessons are included in the PDF files of our supplementary materials, but not all. The materials for Lesson 1 do not have the exact dot cards shown in the video, but do have a lined representation of the notes of “Hot Cross Buns.” The alphabet cards from Lesson 2 are included in our materials, but not quite in the same colors. I hope that helps! Good luck and happy playing. πŸ™‚

      • Darrius Harrius

        this is how much i love it. 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.i have no idea what that number is by the way. anyway, thx!

        • Hoffman Academy logo
          Hoffman Academy

          Wow! You’re very welcome! πŸ™‚

        • Hoffman Academy logo
          Hoffman Academy

          I’m so glad! You’re very welcome by the way. πŸ™‚

  • qing

    i really enjoy this video, thanks a lot!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Great! You’re very welcome.

  • Enoch Adeniyi

    This is so fun!A.B.C.D.E.F.G.A.B.C.D.E.F.G.

  • zhao

    I couldn’t open the Vedio of learning class.I don,t know why.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I’m sorry you’re having trouble with our site. If you ever can’t view a lesson, the first thing to check is to visit our YouTube Channel to see if the video works there. If it doesn’t, then the problem is that YouTube is being blocked by your computer or network. If it works on YouTube, please send an email to Support@HoffmanAcademy.com with which video isn’t working, along with what browser and operating system you are using. I hope that helps!

  • Vincent

    I have learn more about your progression. Especially harmonic, melodic,blues scale.thank you

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      You’re welcome!

  • Gizem

    Thank you very much for the grear lessons Mr. Hoffman, I have always wanted to learn to play the piano now i am 27! but it is never too late to learn something new is it πŸ™‚

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      You’re right – it’s never too late for learning. I’m glad you’re enjoying the lessons and wish you all the best in your piano endeavors!

  • Trever

    When did you start learning the piano?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I started playing piano when I was six years old. πŸ™‚ – Mr. Hoffman

      • Pablo


        • cadence ni

          and I started when I was 5 years old.

  • Harry

    Puppets at the end are so funny!

  • Chay

    Hi mr Hoffman. We just started following your lessons and so far we are borrowing a keyboard from a friend. I am waiting to see how my kids do and would like to buy our own. Will it be necessary to buy a real piano or is a keyboard enough? Thank you for these lessons.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      For piano beginners, there are a lot of good options out there when it comes to digital pianos and keyboards, but there are a few important features to look for. First and foremost, it’s important to have weighted keys: this means that additional resistance has been built into the keys that mimics the feeling of playing on an acoustic piano; this resistance helps beginning finger muscles to develop sufficiently to play on any type of piano or keyboard in the future. Another feature to note is the number of keys: at least 61 keys are required to successfully complete all the songs and lessons in my program.

      We’ve posted an article with more details, as well as expected prices and recommended brands, which you can check out here: http://www.hoffmanacademy.com/blog/choosing-a-piano-or-keyboard-for-the-beginning-student. I hope that helps! – Mr. Hoffman

  • Dorothee

    I even learned something new today! I learned piano in German, and there is no B! It’s H! CDEFGAHC! I totally confused my daughter, didn’t know the US uses “B” as “H”. LOL, so…. there is an H in the musical alphabet! If you go to Europe πŸ™‚

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Yes, that would certainly be confusing! I have heard of that notation difference. Do you also use the suffix “is” to indicate a sharp and “es” (only “s” after A and E) for a flat (e.g., Fis for Fβ™―, Ges for Gβ™­, Es for Eβ™­)? – Mr. Hoffman

  • mev

    I really like it and it is a good way for me to practise music.

  • Shantel

    Thank you Mr. Hoffman! My 8 year-old refused to play the piano and did not want to take any lessons but after watching the first video and being able to play a song by the end he is now very excited! He has completed two lessons this week and is practicing every day he is so excited :0) Thank you so much!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      You are so welcome! I love hearing that kids enjoy learning with my lessons. That’s what a good balance of challenge, success, and fun can do in any subject! – Mr. Hoffman

  • abdulrahman

    this is the best piano lesson ever had thanks alot

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      You’re very welcome – I’m glad you’re enjoying it! – Mr. Hoffman

  • David Ellis


  • nay

    i want to Learn to know how to play the piano

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      You’ve come to the right place! πŸ™‚ – Mr. Hoffman

  • jean

    I am really eager to learn to play piano. You have a great technique to teach.
    I entend to hang on with you until the last lesson.


    I had stopped playing piano for about 8yrs now, but seeing your lessons online, i’ve developed an interest to continue all over again. Thanks


  • Minahil

    Do black keys also have specific letters to identify them? (i.e The white keys are: A, B, C, D, E, F, G)
    Upon observation, the keys are in a pattern of 2, 3, 2, 3, etc. Do they even need to be identified? One can easily identify them using the white keys’ identifications.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      That’s a great question. The black keys are identified relative to the white keys and the key signature you are using. For instance, the two black keys on either side of the white D key are called either C-sharp and D-sharp or D-flat and E-flat. I hope that makes sense. – Mr. Hoffman

      • Minahil

        Yes, it makes perfect sense. (I’ll hopefully be learning those identifications as I progress through your lessons) Thank you.

  • Bhagya

    I love these lessons. Iam an adult . Enjoy these

  • Bhagya

    I love these lessons. I never wanted to learn piano but somehow I got interest in your lessons n now learning piano. I am an adult I I love it. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate.

  • Carson Owens

    HE HE HE you’re funny

  • Wilson

    Thanks alot, sir πŸ™‚

  • Kayla

    I have a casio piano

    • ramya clark

      me too

  • esther

    this so fun thx

  • Emanuel

    This is a cool way to learn a piano

  • Marquita

    Hot Cross Buns! My 6 year old daughter received a Schoenberg kid’s piano for her birthday and can’t stop playing it. She asked for piano lessons and I found your site. She really likes your lessons.,She wants to keep going to the next lesson! I am learning how to play the piano also. Now, I will get an electric piano (with weighted keys) to use with your lessons! Thanks so much for this!!

    • Marquita

      Schoenberg piano = SchoenHut piano πŸ˜‰

      I just saw your digital piano recommendation – Thanks for that also!

  • Carrie

    This is AMAZING! I took piano lessons myself for 10 years (discontinued taking lessons 15 years ago though) and had NO idea how to teach my own kids. After doing some research with local piano teachers, my husband laughed when I quoted him $95 + per month per kid. This system is wonderful! Its funny setting the laptop on the piano, but it works! My 5 and 7 year olds are completely engaged and encouraged since its easy enough for them to not feel overwhelmed and to actually accomplish what is taught each week. I have them practice 10 minutes a day with one weekly lesson right now. They also love the puppets at the end of the videos πŸ™‚ Thank you Joseph Hoffman!

  • maria

    ok i got it now abcdefgabcdefgabcdefg and repeats again ….

  • scott

    I’m having such a great time learning with you Mr. Hoffman I am an adult finally learning how to play, thank you for teaching this program!!!

    • maria

      i always wanted to learn piano πŸ™‚

  • Bria

    Thank you!

  • Hannah

    How do you start a lesson? I’m new to Hoffman Academy

  • Betty Stan

    I really enjoyed my first two lessons though i am an adult.

    • Primrose

      How old are you when you start learning piano?

      • Hoffman Academy logo
        Hoffman Academy

        I was about six years old when I started learning piano. Thanks for asking! – Mr. Hoffman

  • ery

    I love your lessons, thank you so much!

  • xuhui

    I love your lessons, It is fun and cannot wait to get to the next lesson, However, got practice before next lesson…

  • Daniel

    The alphabet is harder then the musical alphabet!Why is it like that?

  • Ahmed

    Very nice lessons!!!! Thanks Mr.Hoffman

  • Ahmed

    Thanks!!! Hoffman

  • Killin it


  • Cor Mariez

    the lessons are interactive and creatively done!im just starting anyway!!

  • Cor

    the lessons are interactive and creatively done!
    great ive found hoffman academy.im just starting anyway!

  • Javina

    How many lessons should I watch a day?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      These lessons are designed to go at your own pace. Just be sure to take some time to practice what you learn in each lesson before going on to the next one.

    • Eddie

      I play different instruments,but this is exciting

  • Arlene

    I really like how you teach. I like the puppets at the end of each lesson. Thank you very much. I can’t wait to go to the next lesson. πŸ™‚ —-Noah

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      I’m glad you are enjoying the lessons! Thanks for watching and learning with me! -Mr. Hoffman

  • LYNN

    Amazing wonderul great music and piano teacher I’ve ever met. May God bless you! This course is so fun and genius, supercool on the top of the world! Thanks from Australia/Perth.

  • Josie

    omg i always wanted to learn piano but its way to expensive so i fond tho and use my iPad omg thank you so much

  • LaNice


  • Claire

    I am really determined to play the piano! Thank you for helping me by making this easier! “A, B, C, D, E, F, G! A, B, C, D, E, F, G! A, B, C, D, E, F, G! A, B, C, D, E, F, G! ” Psst..my family are wondering why I am chanting this part of the alphabet πŸ™‚

  • Melissa

    hi evrybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rumeysa tasdemir

    i almost said h then i remembered a too but ur a reaaly good teacher thank u

  • AnastΓ‘cio

    The greatest piano teacher I have ever met. Learning with this method is crazily fast.

  • Kaysha

    My 7 yo daughter loves the puppet shows at the end and the piano st. stories. She is enthusiastically learning from you. Thanks you!! From her: “Mr. Hoffman, you are crazy awesome!”

  • Rebecca

    Hi. My daughter and l are delighted to start playing with your lessons. Greetings from Paraguay.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      Hello! So glad you are learning with me in Paraguay!! Happy Playing, Mr. Hoffman

  • Tamara

    this lessons are so wonderful but can you learn piano with an online piano mr,?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      It is possible, but I hope you can save up for a real keyboard or piano soon! I think it’s much more enjoyable! Happy playing! Mr. Hoffman

  • Holly

    Great lesson! My daughter loves the finger puppets. I love the games we can practice together, especially the application of the games in playing the piano.

  • Ahmed

    Thank you vary nice ,vary good

  • Sophie

    Hi. I watch ur video and then teach my own kids. Have yet to get a piano teacher for her.

  • Joseph

    “Daddy, you can just call me ‘Correct’!”

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      That’s hilarious. I do say “you’re correct” a lot, don’t I! πŸ™‚

  • Melissa

    Mr. Hoffman, Thank you! I am homeschooling my 7 year old. He had music in school and hated it. We bought him a keyboard for practice and since you’re his teacher, he loves it.

    • Florence

      I am homeschooling my 3 children age 12,6,4 !

      maybe we could get in contact?

      • Florence

        i mean my mom

  • Zoe

    ABCDEFG ya! I got it boom

  • Ali

    Are these lessons for kids?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      These lessons are for anyone who wants to learn! We have both kids and adults using my lessons. Since I teach mostly kids in real life, it may sound like I am talking to kids in my lessons, since that is what I am used to! πŸ™‚

  • Kassem

    A.b.c.d.e.f.g. ok I think I got it.

  • Jason

    Mr. Hoffman, you rock! My daughter is totally hooked! And me too! Keep up the finger puppets!!

  • Mabel


  • Carrington


  • Teresa

    yay I got it right a,b,c,d,e,f,g,a,b,c,d,e,f,g it took me some time πŸ™‚

  • ahyen


  • MJ

    A B C D E F G H-

    Oh wait. Scratch the H.

  • Sarah

    i almost said h !