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Guide to Playing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on the Piano

Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano

Guide to Playing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on the Piano

Learning to play the piano, whether you’re a beginner or introducing a young learner to the instrument, doesn’t get much simpler than mastering ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’. This tune is built around a straightforward melody that involves just 3 notes and requires the use of only 3 fingers on your right hand. Begin with the key of C major, the most straightforward key, before progressing to more intricate versions that incorporate both hands or explore different keys.

Starting with C Major                                                                                                                                                                                    Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano

  1. Position Your Hand Correctly: For ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ in C major, position the thumb and the first two fingers of your right hand to cover the middle C key and the two white keys immediately to its right, D and E.
    • In this C position, your fingers will span the first five notes of the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, with your thumb on middle C and your pinky ready for G.
    • The melody in C major will utilize just these 3 keys, allowing for a simple start with room for complexity later.                                                                                                                                                          Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  2. Play the First Line: Begin with the sequence E, D, C, D, E, E, E, aligning with the lyrics “Mary had a little lamb”. This sequence also serves as the melody for the third line, effectively teaching you half of the verse right away.
    • Practice using all three fingers to build skill for later, more complex pieces.                                                                                                                                                                                                              Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  3. Continue with the Second Line: Move to D, D, D, E, E, E for “little lamb, little lamb”. An alternative variation is D, D, D, E, G, G, introducing the pinky for G.
    • Reintroduce the first line melody after this for coherence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  4. Conclude with the Final Line: The sequence E, D, D, E, D, C matches “its fleece was white as snow”.
    • Once mastered, link all four lines for the complete verse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  5. Repeat for Additional Verses: All verses of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ follow the same melody. Learning one verse equips you to play the entire song.
    • The song spans four verses, with full lyrics available online for further learning.

Enhancing the Melody with Harmonies                                                                                                                                                      Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano

  1. Identify Harmonizing Chords: Each note in a major scale has corresponding harmonizing chords, adding richness to the melody.
    • Introduce music theory through practical application, especially useful for young learners.                                                                                                                                                                                        Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  2. Adapt Hand Position for Chords: Transition from single notes to chords by keeping your hand in a consistent shape and moving it to play three notes simultaneously.
    • Start with the C major chord to avoid black keys initially                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano.
  3. Play Harmonized Melodies: Replace single notes with their chord counterparts, maintaining the thumb on the root note.
    • Start by moving your hand along the keyboard to familiarize with the chord positions.

Exploring Variations                                                                                                                                                                                    Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano

  1. Shift to G Major: Simply move your hand so your thumb is on G, maintaining the same fingering pattern as in C major.                                                                                                                                                  Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  2. Incorporate F Sharp for D Major: Adjust your hand so your thumb is on D, using F sharp for the melody.                                                                                                                                                                        Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  3. Adapt to A Major: Shift your hand so your thumb starts on A, incorporating C sharp into the pattern.                                                                                                                                                                                Guide to Playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the Piano
  4. Enhance with Left Hand Chords: Combine the melody in the right hand with harmonizing chords in the left for a fuller sound.
    • Alternate between C major and G major chords to complement the melody.

This guide offers a step-by-step approach to playing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on the piano, starting from the very basics and gradually introducing more complex elements to enhance the melody

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