Keyboard Exploration with Familiar Songs

Keyboard Exploration with Familiar Songs

Kim Campbell
[email protected]
West Hills Elementary School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Music Production




General Music


Individual electronic keyboards connected to computer loaded with any looping or sequencing software.


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students have been familiar with singing m-r-d patterns and songs in duple and triple meters.
Students have used looping software to accompany singing.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding 




1. Students will play with rhythmic and melodic accuracy the song “Hot Cross Buns” by ear using any of the three black key groupings on the keyboard.
2. Students will then explore the keyboard to play the song on any other three keys, white or black on the keyboard.
3. Students will listen to and evaluate their classmate’s choices.


1. Students recall and sing the song “Hot Cross Buns.”
2. Students sing the song on its solfege syllables.
3. Students find all the groupings of three black keys on the keyboard.
4. Students recall that traveling from left to right is low to high and traveling from right to left is high to low.
5. Students play the three black keys from high to low and then from low to high.
6. Students determine whether or not the first phrase of “Hot Cross Buns” is low to high or high to low.
7. Students play the song by ear independently using the three black keys while the teacher accompanies. Teacher asks first for volunteers who have figured it out. Students decide if the performance is accurate and sounds like the song.
8. Students play song as a group.
9. Students explore the keyboard to find any other 3 consecutive keys on which to play the song. Volunteers play their discovery and class decides if it is accurate.
10. Students select a looping rhythmic accompaniment track over which to play their song.
11. Students perform their song in any key with accompaniment for the class.


Indicators of success:
1. Students perform the song “Hot Cross Buns” on three black keys with 100% accuracy.
2. Students perform the song “Hot Cross Buns” on any other three consecutive keys with 100% accuracy.
3. Students can identify when any given three consecutive keys do NOT create the song “Hot Cross Buns” and adjust accordingly.
(Rubric tool may be devised with specific criteria for each achievement level to suit one’s own grading needs)

Follow Up:

Students follow same procedure with other songs, eventually expanding the melodic range.

Students read the musical notation of this song and play it in any given key.

Students improvise a song using black keys and play it to accompaniment.

Items to Purchase:

keyboards and software

When budget should be submitted:

December of previous school year.


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