Lesson 1

First Song

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Hello and welcome. I'm Joseph Hoffman,
and today we're going to be learning about some piano basics,
and by the end of this lesson,
you'll be playing your first song on the piano.
So let's come to the piano to get started.

One nice thing about the piano
is how visually the keys are organized.
These things you push are called the keys,
and they come in just two simple colors, black and white,
and the further you go to the left, the lower the sound they make.
So this is the low area of the piano,
but if we come up to the right, we get the high notes.

Now let's experiment with your own piano.
I want you to try this along with me.
Find any key in the high area of your piano,
and play each key one at a time, moving to the right,
black and white keys,
and listen to the sound getting higher and higher
until you get to the very highest key of your piano.
Did you make it to the highest key on your piano?
You're always welcome, of course, to pause the video
if you need extra time to try something.

Now let's go back down to the low area of your piano,
and this time find a low key, any key,
and play each one moving down to the left, one key at a time,
and listen to how the sound gets lower and lower,
until you get to the very bottom note, the bottom key of your piano.

Good, now let's take a look at the patterns of the black keys.
Can you tell me about how the black keys are grouped together?
You probably noticed that there are groups of two and three.
Let's say how many are in each group that I point to.
Can you say it with me? Two, three, two, three, two, three, good.
Now let's try the pattern going down.
We have two, three, two, three, two, haha, the pattern changes here.
This really should be a group of three,
but way back when they invented the piano,
they decided to make this the lowest note,
so this black key has to be all by itself. Sorry little black key.

Now that you know where the high notes and the low notes are,
and about the groups of two and three black keys,
you're ready to learn your first song, "Hot Cross Buns."
This song comes from hundreds of years ago in England.
Back when kids used to have to help their families
earn enough money to live,
the kids might go around town selling bread.
A hot cross bun is a special kind of roll
that would have a cross shape on it.
And you know how these days when an ice cream truck comes,
and you can hear the sound of the truck coming?
You know it's time to go buy some ice cream.
Well, back hundreds of years ago, in England,
the kids would sing this song, "Hot Cross Buns," around the streets,
people would hear it, and that's how they would know
it was time to buy some hot fresh bread.

Here's the song "Hot Cross Buns."

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny, Two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

Now, this time can you sing "Hot Cross Buns" along with me?
I know you might be thinking, whoa wait a minute,
I thought this was a piano lesson, and now you’re asking me to sing?
Well, remember that singing is one of the very best ways
to develop the musical areas of your brain.
You actually become a better pianist faster
if you sing each song before you learn to play it,
so we're going to sing "Hot Cross Buns" together,
and here are some hand signs to go along with it.
If you were to touch some bread right out of the oven,
you might go like this, hot, and then, on the word “cross,"
we're going to make a cross shape,
and then "buns" are going to make the shape of the bread.
Here we go. Can you try the hand signs with me and sing along?
Ready, go:

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns.

Good job. Now, one reason for these hand signs
is because it shows you when the notes of the melody are high, middle, or low.
This song is made up of three notes in solfège,
which is a kind of special musical language.
This one is called MI. This note is called RE. This note is called DO,
and they're all a step apart from each other. “Ba Ba Ba.”
Let's sing “Hot Cross Buns” one more time, and this time in solfège.
Can you sing along with me? Ready, go:


Good job. Now, as we were doing that, did you notice any patterns?
Did you notice the place where we did the same note over and over again?
That's called a repeating note, and it happened on DO DO DO DO.
The DO repeats four times in a row.
Then we get another repeating note on RE RE RE RE, also four times,
but then, did we have a repeating note on MI?