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Octave naming - children to define the specific octave of notes in Iain’s lessons

From February, children learning piano with Iain in central and South Birmingham, and virtually, will be asked to refer to notes by their octave position on the piano keyboard.


This will include children who do not yet have a full size piano or keyboard.


Middle C will be named as both middle C or C4, while C5 is the C note one octave up from it. G in the top space of the bass clef staff, for example, will now be called G3 in the piano lessons.


Children will be asked to label notes on paper with both the letter name of the note and its octave number, an extra layer of depth sometimes not required in theory materials, workbooks or exams.


Learners will be asked to locate the specific note on the piano as part of understanding the geography of the piano keyboard, with weekly activities and games set.


The changes will be softly introduced into the lessons by Iain, and the new format will be encouraged.


Iain says, “Being able to recognise and locate specific notes on a vast 88-note piano keyboard, with accuracy, speed and total confidence, is an ongoing project as we build back after the pandemic and is part of children’s continuous education on piano. Being able to accurately name and find notes is a valuable tool children can use for the rest of their lives, and opens up a world of musical possibility using notated music. Building up note-reading skills is very important.


Iain adds, "Too many children are unable to define which exact note is which on the piano or to put across which note they mean, and this new lesson format should really help.”


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