Lesson 21

The Grand Staff

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79 Comments

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Claudia

    Dear Mr. Hoffman,

    Thank you so so so so so much for your lessons. I started out with Alison M. Sparrow’s method from Youtube. But I got stuck at lesson 9 from her first book. My muscles aren’t that trained yet. She goes too fast too quick. You give much more theory and really take the time to explain everything. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your website. Thanks a bunch.

    One problem: I purchased the materials from Unit 2 last Friday, but unfortunately I can’t access them from my account. I think something went wrong. Could you please e-mail them to me or put it on the account page?

    Please keep up the good work! Greetings from the Netherlands.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Hi Claudia! I am so thrilled to hear that you are enjoying our lessons! If you are having any issues with your materials or account, please use our Contact Us page and our support team will be able to help you with your issue. Happy Playing!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Elizabeth

    Thank you Mr.Hoffman you a are great

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Aneena

    You are an awesome teacher…I have to say! I almost gave up on wanting to play the piano until I watched your videos…I finished the whole first unit today and the way you teach is so good that I am so motivated to learn! God bless you and thank you for doing what you are doing 🙂

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful message! I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying my lessons and are having fun learning! Keep up the great work and happy playing! 🙂

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Megan

    Do you know where we could purchase those colored circles you use on the grand staff for this lesson?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Yes! The colorful, transparent rounds Mr. Hoffman uses in his lessons are called “Magic Notes” and you can purchase them from our friends at MusicMindGames.com. Enjoy!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Corey

    Hi Mr. Hoffman. I’ve been using your lessons to help me learn piano. I began my music career by playing saxophone from elementary through high school. As a result, treble clef is firmly planted in my mind, but I am very weak on bass clef. For example, when I see bass F on the bass clef, my mind quickly and automatically thinks of that note as a D, because of my experience with treble clef. Do you have any suggestions for drills or practice techniques I can use to help me learn bass clef better?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Learning to read notes on the staff is like learning a brand new language! It takes time and patience for anyone. I suggest taking a step back to work on “re-calibrating” your brain to think about the treble and bass staves in a more unified way. Instead of thinking of them as two separate concepts to master, think of them both as part of one unified system, with Middle C being the “border” or “bridge” between the 2 staves. Please re-watch lesson 21 completely to allow the basic concepts of the grand staff to really sink in. Then, watch lesson 82 on Guide Notes. Each staff has certain “landmark” or “guide notes” that I encourage you to master thoroughly. Those guide notes working from lowest to highest are: ground G, bass C, bass F, middle C, treble G, treble C, then flag F. Whenever you see a note on the staff, rather than trying to figure it out by thinking “hmm, that’s the 3rd line, bass clef…must be D!” Instead think of every note in relation to one of the Guide Notes like this: “Hmm, that note is a step above Bass C, and a step above C is D!”. The strength of the Guide Note system is that it relates each note to a specific note or key on the piano. It’s important to know not just that a note is “D” (there are many Ds on the piano), but to know WHICH D… in the case of this example, bass D. I should note (excuse the pun!) that this approach requires a great working knowledge of the musical alphabet, thinking both forward and backward, and even in skips.

      For drills, you may want to try flashcards or a sight-reading app like the Piano Maestro iPad App. I hope this helps! Please keep me posted about your success with these suggestions.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Thanh Thien Luong

    Thanks, anyway.In the past, I have already played the guitar-both modern and classical music-so I get through your instructions smoothly.I hope I will progress in my study of piano lessons with you.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Jack

    Oh, and by the way, what the heck is that little yellow thingy up in the corner of the Grand Staff paper thingy?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      It’s a little person, watching us learn about the grand staff!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Jack

    Hey, Mr Hoffman, I have a question. How did the monk(ey)s wright letters like A, B, and C a long time ago?

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Nerissa Thomas

    I really enjoy refreshing the basics of piano and music notes with you. You are a great teacher with a great sense of humor. I did play keyboard at younger age. I enjoy the grand piano sound better and taught myself again with an upright Baldwin piano. It was a little out of tune. I been out of practice for awhile since I lost my home and my piano too. :(. I am hoping to get a Yamaha portable keyboard with real piano sound and begin anew again. Thank you so ever so for making me laugh while remembering how much I enjoyed playing piano. God Bless you.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Thanks so much for sharing that! I hope you have a wonderful experience refreshing your piano skills, and I’m happy to be your piano teacher! – Mr. Hoffman

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Araceli

    You are fantastic person! Thank you 🙂

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    mm

    Mr. Hoffman, do you teach any other instruments besides piano? Im just wondering because i really want to learn violin but we havent found any teachers close to where we live.:( But i really like your lessons! I enjoy playing piano!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I’m so glad you enjoy my lessons! I’m sorry, but I don’t teach violin. We do hope to someday post lessons for other instruments, but the focus for now is just piano. As you search for a violin teacher, you may want to consider some of the principles in this article we posted about How to Find a Piano Teacher. Although referring to different instruments, the basic concepts apply in both situations. I hope that helps! – Mr. Hoffman

      • Hand-drawn avatar
        mm

        Thanks alot! I’ll be sure to read the article. God bless!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Ana

    Mr. Hoffman, thank you for everything and I am going to tell you more about me, I am nine years old, and I am mormon, and you are great and I would love to meet you someday!!!

    ????

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    anya

    I love doing this in the middle of the day because i’m home-schooled.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Nick T.

    Mr. Hoffman,
    First, thank you so much for what you do. I’m teaching my 11-yr old and 8-yr old to play and they are loving it. Secondly, I always try and sign in with my login but it doesn’t seem to recognize my info. I end up watching as guest but wanted you to know in case there is something wrong with that part of your site.
    Sincerely,
    Nick

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I’m so glad your family is enjoying my lessons! Thanks so much for letting us know that you’re having trouble with our site – Would you be so kind as to email our technical support team at Support@HoffmanAcademy.com and let them know what operating system and browser you are using? We would love to get that working for you. – Mr. Hoffman

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Dominic

    I managed to play a hymn. Thank you.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Sara

    I also think that the bass clef kinda looks like a chat-speak frownie face: ]: I did the best I could to demonstrate my point XD.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Sara

    I am super happy, Mr. Hoffman! These lessons are super duper great! The special logo is cool. I was reading some comments and noticed one of the students saying the logo was the treble clef, and I agree! It certainly looks like a treble clef!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying my lessons. You are all correct – our logo was designed by Brittany Hoffman with the beautiful swirls of a treble clef in mind. – Mr. Hoffman

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    inese

    Hello,
    today I started to watch your lectures. Your way of teaching is a very interesting and exciting . First of all, sorry for my mistakes in English . Since I have a foreign language and I do not speak it well enough.
    I have some questions that interest me. Why do you start training in 1.lesson with musical names Do, Re, Mi ( as it is in my experience )- then however you go to the alphabet , which generally represents musical piecework harmony – for example ” J.S.Bach Toccata in f moll “, or letters used to denote harmony , playing guitar. I am interested in the question of how children in this case are taught properly intone correctly intervals and at all – sing? Can intone Do – Mi (thirds), as the same music note title is already helping to do it … but how can properly intone C – E, or F – B?
    When taught to sing it is used in classical music notation symbols?
    Previously thank you if you answer me.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      In some countries, a fixed Do system is used, where Do always means C. However, I find it most helpful as a teacher to teach using both a fixed system (ABCDEFG) and a movable system (Do, Re, Mi, etc). Some kind of fixed system is essential to provide structure and certainty. D is always a D on the piano or on any instrument. However, a movable system is best for helping students easily hear and recognize the function of each note in a scale and relationships between each note in a melody or intervals, no matter what key the music is in. So, I try to give my students the best of both worlds by actively using letter names as a fixed system and solfège as a movable system.

      I hope that helps, and that I’ve understood you correctly. Feel free to follow up here or by emailing Support@hoffmanacademy.com if you have further questions. – Mr. Hoffman

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    andy

    iv been practicing everyday you are a great teacher thank you

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Daniel

    Mr Hoffman, why don’t you do something like uh, lol I have to go! bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Joshua

    Thanks for the lessons sir. Absolutely amazing stuff!!! now understand to read music in the grand stuff…… wow! I lack words. Thank you thank you thank you….!!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    diana

    do u think doing about 2 to 3 lessons each day is enough?

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      If you are a beginner, doing 2-3 lessons each day is probably going too fast. I suggest that kids start with 2-3 lessons per week, spending the other practice days on finger power exercises, reviewing old songs, working on activity pages, etc. If you move through the lessons too quickly, you can’t really master the new material; then, if you haven’t mastered the basics, you will probably find it frustrating when the lessons become more challenging. However, if you have a background in music or have taken piano lessons before, you can certainly pick up the pace. Here’s an article we posted that gives more information: When to Move on to the Next Lesson. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

      • Hand-drawn avatar
        diana

        its just i did the the whole unit one, then i stopped for like 6 months so we had to over unit
        one so we did about 2 to 3 lessons per day

        • Hoffman Academy logo
          Hoffman Academy

          That’s great. When you’re reviewing lessons you’ve already done, it’s ok to go faster. Keep up the good work! – Mr. Hoffman

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Tracy

    I love the lessons! thank you:)

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      Isaac

      Mr. Hoffman what is the purpose of the two dots after the base clef.

      Isaac

      • Hoffman Academy logo
        Hoffman Academy

        The 2 dots are to help you identify the ‘F’ line in the bass staff, and are part of the “evolution” from an old-fashioned way of drawing the letter ‘F’ into the bass clef we have today. To see this evolution demonstrated by the Hoffman Academy finger puppets, watch the end of lesson 21, after the credits (start at 10:56). – Mr. Hoffman

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    moriah

    I noticed that your Hoffman academy symbol is a treble clef! how did you decide to do that?

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      moriah

      by the way, before, I was logged in as Rachel, now I decided to use my real name, Moriah.

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Thanks for noticing, Moriah! Our logo was designed by my brilliant sister-in-law Brittany Hoffman, who is a freelance graphic and web designer. She thought that the treble clef was such a cool and interesting shape that it would make for a great logo.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    STEPHEN

    Where are the puppets? I really like them

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      Ashi

      People people people, calm down! I’m sure that Mr. Hoffman is aware of the fact that the puppets don’t appear in all the videos, wait patiently – I am convinced that he is taking care of this..

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      anya

      If you want to buy the puppets they are from IKEA so you could get them.

      p.s. I know some locations : San Fransisco , San Diego and Costa Mesa, all in California

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    lia

    I practice this website every day for my homeschool thank you!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Good for you, Lia! Practicing every day can be tough, but it makes a big difference in improving your piano skills. Congratulations and keep up the good work! – Mr. Hoffman

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      rachel

      I’m homeschooled too! my mom gives us (us means me and my 7 siblings) lists of what to do each day, and these lessons are on every list!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Andrea

    Mr. Hoffman Thanks a lot! Im learning so much and doing so much better everyday. Also you are helping with my therapy which is amazing :)!! thanks for making me happy again :,)

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Rose

    Great lessons! I am trying my best at this so that I can help my family by playing some cheerful music! And for the hallidays! Thank you so much that this is free!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    zaiah

    these lessons get harder and harder but they’re still totally rad!! : )

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    William

    You have an excellent program that teaches the piano slowly and with easy to understand methods. I truly think you are a good teacher and a even greater person for doing this to help people.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Isaiah Halaman

    This is a great start for me and my little brother elijah, also with my older sister Shane. We just started the lesson and it’s really helpful and easy to follow. Thank you very much.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Haydee

    I never comment on any websites but I feel compelled to write and thank you for an amazing series. I have always wanted to learn to play the piano but whenever I have looked online I have been overwhelmed by all the music jargon. Your lessons are broken down to introduce key concepts in an easy to understand way that is fun at the same time. You really are a fantastic teacher. Thank you for letting this be free!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Lucas

    My dad won’t let me touch the screen.

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      Rose

      How about you point to the screen but not touch it. That’s what I do

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    THE_EPIC_GAMER

    YAY I’m on piano unit 2 now! Great lessons!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      Congrats on making it to Unit 2! Keep up the great work! -Mr. Hoffman

        • Hoffman Academy logo
          Joseph Hoffman

          The puppets joined our team very recently, and I haven’t had time yet to re-film Lessons 12-60 to add the puppets at the end. But don’t worry, the puppets come back in Unit 4! So, keep moving through the lessons, and you’ll have something to look forward to! 🙂

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    david

    I can only repeat what others are saying: You are a very good teacher of the piano.

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Holden

    These are excellent lessons that are really helping me learn to play piano, but once I finish the basic lessons, I was wondering; do you provided advanced ones as well? I really do want to commit to this instrument as I’ve always had a passion for music, and piano is the perfect way to translate what I am feeling to music. It would be really great if you do because I want to learn the most I can. Once again, thank you for the top notch lessons!

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Joseph Hoffman

      Glad you are enjoying the lessons! I don’t have any advanced lessons online at this point, but maybe down the road. Once you finish my online lessons, I recommend that you find a great live teacher in your area to help bring you to the next level. Here are some ideas I have about finding a great live teacher: https://www.hoffmanacademy.com/blog/how-to-find-a-piano-teacher/

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    GERALDO

    Mr. Hoffman, I’m a 66 year old man and I’m very excited with this marvelous Piano for Kids of yours. And I have a dream. I want to teach poor children piano for free in the future, so I’m studying very hard get my dream come true. I study by myself and I’ve been learning a lot with Piano Kids for free of yours. God bless you!

    • Hand-drawn avatar
      Valeria

      WOW!!! that’s a really great thing you’re doing! GREAT JOB!!

  • Hand-drawn avatar
    Samuel

    Great teacher and great lesson