Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all aspects of piano playing and general musicianship are fostered in a fun and inspiring way.

 

Students work through one booklet per term/semester (although the time spent on each workbook is flexible to suit your studio), and each workbook is based around a story or a theme in order to make the pieces cohesive and give structure to considerations about musical elements and compositions.

In our Little KeyNotes (for ages 4-5) and Principal KeyNotes Level 1 (beginners aged 6-11), all of our pieces are songs with lyrics that are based around the theme or story. Pitch notation is addressed in Levels 2 and 3.

"My daughter is 9 years old and in her second full term with Keynotes; she absolutely loves learning to play the piano and understand music. The teacher makes the classes exciting and provides constructive tailored feedback to encourage the children." KeyNotes Music Parent

 

Learning Aims

The initial points of learning are based around learning the notes of the keyboard, learning finger numbers of both the right and the left hand, hand posture, learning to read and use crotchets (quarter notes), minims (half notes) and quavers (eighth notes), learning to describe music using terminology centred around pitch, tempo, dynamics and instrumentation. 

Once these learning aims are secure, pupils move onto pitch notation, first the treble clef and then the bass clef. They also learn to read and understand directions relating to dynamics, articulation and tempo.

"Since we have added KeyNotes lessons to our offering we have noticed a huge difference in retention and growth. Parents love that it develops the whole musician, and I love that I have a ready-made curriculum plan to teach." KeyNotes Music Teacher

 

Lesson Structure

Each lesson is structured as follows:

KeyListening

At the start of each lesson we listen to a piece of music and pupils are asked to think about various aspects such as where might it be played, what is the mood, what character might it represent etc. This is in order to introduce them to a wide range of musical styles and describe their elements and characteristics.

KeyConcepts

Every week students learn new concepts, such as how to read a particular note, how to find a note on the keyboard, or which notes a particular chord contains.

KeyNotes

This is the main part of the lesson, where students can apply the concepts learnt in a practical task where they perform, compose, improvise and develop their keyboard skills. We hear each pupil perform at the end of each lesson either as a solo or in an ensemble.

KeyObjectives

An important part of learning is for students to know what it is that they are supposed to have achieved and whether they have indeed achieved it! Stickers are given out for objectives being met.

"I find the lessons challenging but it is fun to learn with other children. I also find the lessons and playing the piano very calming." KeyNotes Music Student

Curriculum Overview

 
Little KeyNotes

Little KeyNotes workbooks are for students aged 4-5. They will have some prior knowledge of the letters of the alphabet (i.e. be able to sing the alphabet song and recognise some letters) and numbers 1-5.

 

Developmentally they will be used to situations such as story time or carpet time; any situation where they have to sit and listen to a teacher/care giver. They may also understand the concept of written communication - in other words that the books they love to read have words that are followed in order to tell the story!

 

Little KeyNotes children may start out trying to improvise and may not understand that the letters on the page are to be played on the keys that correlate to their names! However, after only a couple of lessons they should be able to follow the music.

The learning aims of the Little KeyNotes curriculum are:

  • To identify the notes of the keyboard

  • To clap and identify basic rhythms

  • To clap in time to a piece of music

  • To describe pictures/stories of listening extracts

  • To compose short motifs for a theme

  • To understand and using correct finger numbers

KeyNotes Foundations One

Students move onto Foundations One when they consistently meet the learning objectives for Storytellers. This may be after one Storytellers workbook or after three; each child works at their own pace.

The learning aims of the KeyNotes Foundations One curriculum are:

  • To identify and read the notes of the treble clef stave

  • To identify time signatures

  • To use chords I and Vb to harmonise a melody

  • To compare extracts by identifying similarities and differences using elements such as pitch, tempo, dynamics, rhythm and instrumentation

KeyNotes Storytellers

KeyNotes Storytellers workbooks are for beginners aged 6+. The learning aims are much the same as for Little KeyNotes, but the pieces have more depth and there are more opportunities for extension and challenge.

KeyNotes Foundations Two

Students move onto Foundations Two when they consistently meet the learning objectives for Foundations One. This may be after one Foundations One workbook or after three; each child works at their own pace.

The learning aims of the KeyNotes Foundations Two curriculum are:

  • To identify and read the notes of the bass clef stave

  • To identify and use staccato and legato articulation

  • To identify and use dynamics consistently

  • To describe how music can represent stories, moods, characters and feelings

  • To compose for a purpose and notate own composition

Points of learning running through all levels

In addition to the learning aims for each level, there are more generic points of learning that run through all levels. They have been categorised as follows:

Pitch

  • Scales and scalic fingering

  • Moving by step and by leap

  • Melodic sequences

  • Tonic notes

  • Major/minor tonality

  • Octaves

  • Middle C

Piano technique

  • Hand posture

  • Finger exercises

  • RH/LH playing - initially in octaves, then adding chords, and adding a written left hand with occasional left-hand melodies

Aural skills

  • Listening for elements: pitch, dynamics, timbre and instruments, tempo, rhythm, structure, texture

  • Listening for perfect and imperfect cadences

  • Singing back short melodies

  • Clapping the pulse of a piece of music

  • Basic pitch and rhythm dictation

  • Clapping/playing back short rhythms/melodies

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