"Mary had a little Lamb is a NURSERY song - will my students play it?"

Absolutely - don"t worry!  For brand-new beginners, also adults, castle are just happy to play something the is recognizably music! 

It is foundational because that skill-building

Of all my piano music for start students, Mary had actually a tiny Lamb is the many necessary and also the many versatile. Yes, it is simply a nursery rhyme, yet there is so much you have the right to do v it!


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You will watch what ns mean if you review to the bottom that this an extremely LONG PAGE.

You are watching: Mary had a little lamb sheet music with letters

Please scroll under to find the free downloadable PDF links.


Sometimes girlfriend just have to give them what"s great for them!

Though you would think youngsters might rotate up their noses in ~ a nursery-rhyme song, only the occasional teenager looks mortified...

I constantly preface the piece with "Now I"m walking to provide you a world-famous track I give to every my students, also "grown-ups.""

And the satisfied of mastering a recognizable track is such the they all finish up enjoying it (for at the very least a tiny while!) - they are enjoying suffering the skill of their fingers producing a genuine melody.

Why is it loaded v finger numbers?

Above, you check out an setup with every the finger number (shades of john Thompson!)

Yes, this is a rote approach, however no, that won"t kill your college student to find out a item by rote NOW and also THEN.

In fact, that will increase their comfort playing piece by memory, or "by heart," together we sometimes contact it. It"s good ear cultivate too.

Using lettered notes

Now right here is a variation even much easier to read, if possible, using made-easy notes, well-known as Alpha-Notes:


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There is so much you deserve to do through this song!  As piano music for kids, it is unbeatable for mirroring them exactly how to use chords.

Now I"m walk to display you the plenty of ways I usage Mary had a little Lamb, again and also again, increase to two or three years ~ the piano student has learned the the an initial time...

Adding a left hand

After the melody is fine in hand, we start trying the end an open up C chord (c & g) v the LH (left hand), pushing the chord on beat 1 of each measure.

Yes, even though the melody could use a G chord together well. (We"re coming to that!)


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Usually i will have them beat the LH while i play the RH, simply to present them just how it sounds, telling them the we"ll shot adding it to Mary had a tiny Lamb following lesson.

I don"t attract notes because that them, however show them exactly how to make the chord. If they have been doing pentascales, it"s straightforward for them to go "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" with the LH, and then hit 5 and also 1 together.

Kids love adding the chord come MHaLL; it renders it sound like a real song.

Identifying chords

I allude out (many times,generally) the chords start with the pinky, or bottom finger, top top the surname of the chord. The seems vital to stress and anxiety that"bottom" and "low" are LEFT top top the piano ("where the guys sing"), and "top" and "high" are right on the piano ("where the women and children sing").

Frequently kids and even adults will think that the C is wherein the LH thumb goes. No huge deal---they"ll gain it eventually. Especially if they have actually been doing mirror scales, they will find that simple mistake to make.

From significant to minor

Now change it to MINOR - an extremely cool!


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I offer it another pair of weeks, while various other concepts and pieces are being learned, climate come ago to Mary had a small Lamb (they space still playing it) and turn that into scary, sad piano music.

That is, I have actually them reduced the 3rd finger of the melody, E, come Eb.

That transforms the an essential from major to minor, and gives the track a sad or melancholy feeling, or even a note of danger.

Some kids are electrified by this small change, and the power it gives them to produce a mood! us re-name our new-sounding song "Mary shed Her little Lamb." very fun. And we gain to usage the same open up LH C chord.

Now contrast significant with minor

When they room comfortable v that, then your assignment i do not care to play "Mary Lost and also Found" -- very first sad (minor), climate happy (back come major).

Minor sounds great down LOW, then us jump as much as a greater octave because that the happy version. This is an extremely popular with most kids.

Adding in the V7 chord

The next readjust we do is adding a tiny G7 chord that I contact a "pinch" chord.

It is just a 2-note inversion of the G7 chord.

The LH remains in that is C chord position, but presses G & F along with the 1 & 2 fingers. This doesn"t take place until students are an extremely solid with the ns chord, C.

See measure 3:


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Don"t bother composing in base staff notes

I don"t create notation onto your music (they wouldn"t review it if ns did, at this stage of your musical development!), but scratch some symbols up above the melody: "G pinch chord" and "G" & "F" with circles and also "1" & "2" drawn inside the circles, for fingering.

Changing chords is much harder than playing just one chord, therefore it will certainly take a little much more time come polish.  I"ll take over the melody during the lesson at first, for this reason they can emphasis on the new chord change.

This plan adds the chord symbols:


Please scroll down the web page for the download links.

Transpose and also get acquainted with various keys

Now it"s time come enlist this song in a new cause - transposing!

After a couple of months, once Mary Lost and Found is second nature, i come earlier to it again through an entirely new mission -- TRANSPOSING.

From the tricks of C major and C minor, we move it up to D significant and D minor.

This is rote discovering - no notation

The ear will be helping out.

First D major -- i play it because that them, with the important f#, and ask if they notification anything different.

I shot to it is in patient, since if they deserve to see what"s walking on there is no me just telling them, they"ll remember it better.


Students are commonly intrigued when you allude out the D significant and D minor are just the the opposite in appearance come C significant and C minor; C significant (C) is "all white notes," and also C young (Cm) has a black note in the middle.

With D, and then Dm a week or two later, ns make a large deal around how the is the "3" finger that provides all the difference. And their ear will certainly tell them once it is wrong, almost all of the time.

Go as far as friend can; you can constantly come ago again later

We"ll continue to be with C, Cm, D, and also Dm because that a while, climate gradually, as the student is able, start relocating to every the remainder of the secrets or positions. 

If they space not yet grasping the formula for building a pentatonic major scale (Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole) then i draw small hollow one on your lesson sheet to stand for the 5 notes of MHaLL, and color in the people that have to be black keys with pen or pencil (or allow them perform it).

Even if the "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," is hard for them, we still say it together and also make the scale at the lesson. Occasionally they"ll forget exactly how to execute it in ~ home...we just do the again.

The pentascale that B is the biggie!

Getting come the key of B is a big deal, and also we have actually a Transposing Chart that a star goes onto when they have finished v the white keep in mind tonic keys. (This helps me keep track, as well as giving castle a feeling of accomplishment.)

If they have actually really taken the concept of transposing well, and memorized "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," we may go on come the black-note keys.

But, if lock are burned out on this song, we may very well switch to other else and also start end again at the crucial of C.

Now because that the "black" keys!

Gb might be the best vital to begin with, as Mary had actually a small Lamb doesn"t need the 4 finger, and also so there will certainly be only black notes, no white notes combined in. (Except for the "pinch" chord!)


The keys of abdominal and Db will certainly feel comparable to every other, however Bb and Eb will be a bit of a challenge.  

(Whenever we room playing in B or B flat, I have actually a tiny mantra ns say to them the helps castle remember: "B is white on the bottom, black on the top.  Bb is black color on the bottom, white ~ above the top.  The B"s are various than every the others!")

Some youngsters really love transposing. However, I often wait for the second or third transposed song before I have them try transposing into the black-note keys, specifically if there to be a struggle learning it!

Even older transport students who read into Level 3 music have been recognized to have actually difficulties.  

But transposing is so an excellent for discovering the finger patterns of the different keys, and also for sharpening the ear.

More songs for transposing

When they"re with with Mary had actually a small Lamb, I always have them assist me pick the next piece come transpose.

Ode to Joy, jingle Bells, and any item that continues to be in a 5-finger pattern is generally a good bet.  and even the young pieces, such as "Snake Charmer" and "Irish Wedding," have the right to be very satisfying.

A few of the songs in their lesson books lend themselves well to transposing, too, together as piece at the end of their Primer, and "Firefly," "Girl ~ above a Bicycle" and also "Boy top top a Bicycle" in the Faber Piano Adventure Level 1 book, and also "Ice Cream" in the 2A book.

For a minor piece, "Forest Drums" is a many fun. 

Starting to learn beautiful chord patterns

The last point I usage MHaLL because that is chord pattern practice. The melody is so easy, that when it comes time for them come stretch themselves a tiny and start using broken chords in the LH, MHaLL is the perfect song.


The RH deserve to be put on "autopilot" and also attention given to coordinating the two hands.

This is the track I use when kids are all set to start playing the sample I call "broken chord stretch," i beg your pardon will open up the world of playing really beautiful chord songs to them.


It is a stepping stone to better things!

One that my favourite piano studio stories happened the year the movie "Titanic" come out.

It appeared that every week, yet another young girl would come to her lesson and ask plaintively, "Can i play Titanic?"

Usually, the an approach involved in the setup of the Titanic ns was offering my students was just past where plenty of of them to be -- it was, in fact, full of "the damaged chord stretch."

Eventually I well-known this desire in mine students for the fabulous chance it was.

I post a authorize on mine studio door that said,

"Yes, ns will offer you Titanic, however only after you can play Mary had actually a tiny Lamb with broken chord stretch in every the keys!" 

Let me phone call you the what formerly stretched out over months - the learning of C, climate D, climate E, then... Well, you acquire the idea - what had actually previously taken month took only a pair of weeks come learn!

Such is the strength of a encouraging piece of music that students long TO PLAY.

Of course, this is for children whose hand are big enough to make the octave stretch.

First they find out the chord pattern: a C open chord (C and also G notes) plus one more C top top top.

The 2 finger goes where the 1 has always gone, on G. Use it prefer an anchor or a hinge, i tell lock -- the 2 finger is a pivot...and don"t try to host the pinky (5th finger) down!

A brand-new level the coordination

"5-2-1-2, c-g-c-g..." i play the melody to Mary had actually a little Lamb while they perform the C chord.

Just the C chord, not the G chord. That"s for later, when they"ve end up being pretty solid with the technique.


They will frequently come back to their following lesson having actually played this LH pattern all week long with their favorite hand,the right hand.

Oh well! We simply do that again, and maybe have actually THEM shot the melody of Mary had a small Lamb come it best then,so there will be no mistaking i m sorry hand does which.

"Can you obstacle your tummy and pat your head at the exact same time?" i ask them, demonstrating.

This is always fun come do, and illustrates for them that this requires a new kind that hand coordination.

Physical skills like this are fun to learn... It takes work, but I phone call them come just try it with Mary had actually a small Lamb 1 time (1x) or 2x a day in ~ first.

And to treat it just as once they learned to ride a bike... When they "crash," simply start end again and also see if they can obtain a little farther.

Some youngsters will get it appropriate away. Others will struggle a bit.

But they will all reap it, especially when friend ask them to placed the pedal down and also play it increase high.

See more: Why Is Buffalo New York Called Buffalo, New York, Get Its Unique Name?

Mary had a little Lamb is TRANSFORMED.

Here room the paper music PDF links:

Download Mary had a small Lamb, with level notes in the treble clef

Download Mary had actually a little Lamb with easy-to-read key-board music notes through the names inside the note-heads

Download Mary had actually a small Lamb with chord symbols over the melody

More 5-finger songs at gaianation.net:

Cat Came earlier (easiest version) - v fun-to-sing lyrics, plenty of verses!

Erie Canal - part I has actually only 5 notes, but is a satisfying development to this song