How Do I Teach Piano Sight Reading to a 4-Year-Old Girl?

Teaching sight reading to a 4-year-old girl requires teaching her the ability to recognize notes and rhythms. Once she can read music, she must then associate notes with piano keys. With a very young girl, you can use special techniques designed for young children to teach her how to play the piano without overwhelming her with too much information. In time, she will learn to associate notes with keys. Whether the student is a young girl or a young boy, the methods for teaching piano are the same. It is best to tailor lessons toward the individual student's learning style and personality and teach young girls and boys in the same manner.

Step 1

Plan your lesson to cater to the child's attention span. Begin with 15- to 20-minute lessons and gradually add time as the child's patience improves until you are able to extend the lesson to 30 minutes or more.

Step 2

Drill her on the note names in the treble clef. Explain to her that in the treble clef, when she looks between the lines, she will see her "FACE." The spaces on the treble clef are F-A-C-E. Have her memorize an acronym for the lines: "Every Girl Buys Dried Fruit" is one you can use. You can also make it a game and let her think of her own.

Step 3

Instruct her on the names of the lines and spaces of the bass clef. The spaces use the acronym "All Cows Eat Grass." The lines use the acronym "Good Breaks Deserve Fine Apples." Learning the notes is important to sight-read correctly.

Step 4

Teach her a basic hand position with five fingers. Have her place her right thumb on middle C, her index finger on D, middle finger on E, ring finger on F and pinky on G.

Step 5

Ask her to play, starting with the right hand and playing on the treble clef, simple five-finger patterns that use only the notes C, D, E, F, and G. You can purchase a method book for young children to help you with this. Tell her that only one finger plays each note.

Step 6

Place her left hand one octave below the right hand. Her left hand will play bass clef and the pinky should be on C, followed by the ring finger on D, the middle finger on E, the index finger on F and the thumb on G. Having a set hand position is important for successful sight reading.

Step 7

Provide her with music to sight-read that uses only the left hand and uses the notes C, D, E, F and G. Again, tell her that one finger plays each note. Help her learn to associate notes with fingerings. This will take some time at first.

Step 8

Help her play hands together by choosing music that uses the same notes in each hand. It is easier to play hands together when both hands are moving together. This is important in developing sight-reading skills.

Step 9

Continue to add increasingly complicated pieces that use only five fingers. She will eventually learn to associate notes with keys and improve her sight reading.


The attention span and patience of any 4-year-old is limited. Breaking lessons up into smaller 5-minute segments will aid in retention.

Eye-hand coordination generally causes problems for young children. Be patient with her and never push her to do more than she is ready for.


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