Exploring Effective Keyboard Performance Technique

Keyboard Skills - Cover and Homework Activities

Keyboard Skills - Music Theory

Keyboard Skills Music Theory 1 - Staves, Clefs and Notes

A 3-page worksheet introducing pupils to the lines and spaces of the Treble Clef in terms of staff notation to encourage pupils to learn the correct pitch note names.

Keyboard Skills Music Theory 2 - Sharps and Flats

A 2-page worksheet introducing or revising pupils to the names of black keys on a piano/keyboard and the symbols for sharps and flats. 

Keyboard Skills - Keyboard Rounds Activities

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This unit is all about effective keyboard performance technique including basic treble clef staff notation.

The unit begins with a general introduction and “Keyboard Treasure Hunt” around a standard classroom keyboard which is a good chance to navigate basic keyboard functions, establish good playing routines and rectify and troubleshoot any potential technical problems.

Pupils learn about other keyboard instruments such as the Harpsichord, Celesta, Accordion, Organ, Clavichord, Piano (upright and grand) and Synthesisers before establishing the importance of correct playing position and posture and the importance of keyboard warm-ups.

Pupils move on to learn about using keyboard fingering for better playing skills, built through a range of exercises such as scales and simple right-hand melodies in the key of C Major. 

Pupils explore the layout of the keyboard in terms of white and black keys and their note names; sharps and flats as enharmonic equivalents and explore how to “read music” in the form of simple melodies and melodies from popular songs from treble clef staff notation.  They then move on to add a second part of basic chords with the left hand.

Since this unit is primarily performance based, there are optional pathways to perform and compose either a round for keyboard ensemble or to explore short musical clichés.  

The final lesson(s) have been left as “Independent Practice” where, it is hopes, that through the skills, knowledge and understanding of ‘good keyboard practice and playing technique’, pupils will take responsibility for their own learning of either a solo, paired or small ensemble keyboard piece which can be performed at the end of the unit.  If the unit is being delivered prior to Christmas, then the final “Independent Practice” lesson(s) could be spent rehearsing and performing a keyboard arrangement of a Christmas song or arrangement. 

Keyboard Skills - Performing Resources

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Keyboard Skills - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Keyboard Skills - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Includes Scheme of Work Overview, Unit Learning Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Lesson Pathways.

Keyboard Skills - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

Keyboard Skills - “DOITNOW” Presentation


Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” Keyboard Skills lesson openers Presentation contains  a wealth (only two samples shown here), of effective “DOITNOW’s” when delivering the Keyboard Skills unit in just one place - all audio and video files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section. 

Keyboard Skills - Plenary Review Activities

A series of lesson reviews where pupils review their learning and understanding.

Keyboard Skills - General Keyboard Skills Resources

Keyboard Skills - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

1. Early Keyboard Instruments

2. The Piano Part 1

3. The Piano Part 2

4. The Organ

5. The Accordion

6. Keyboards

Keyboard Skills Music Theory 3 - Treble Clef Staff Notation

Naming notes in the Treble Clef.  Contains Answers

Key Words, Concepts and Musical Knowledge

Layout of  Piano/Keyboard, Treble Clef, Treble Clef Staff Notation, Stave, Staff, Lines, Spaces, Black Keys, Sharps (#), Flats (b), Scale, Left Hand (LH), Right Hand (RH), Melody, Keyboard Functions, Fingering (1-5), Keyboard Chords, Octave, Warm-Up, “Middle C”

Music Theory

Staves, Clefs and Notes

Sharps and Flats

Links to GCSE Music

My Music




Notes and Note Names

Pupils revise the lines and spaces of the treble clef, create their own rhyme for “EGBDF” and design a poster to illustrate treble clef staff notation

Can be done without using ICT.

George’s Bad Day

A fun story with some words missing and given in treble clef staff notation for pupils to work out.

Can be done without using ICT.

I Thought I Was Crazy

Another fun poem with some words missing and given in treble clef staff notation for pupils to work out.

Can be done without using ICT.





Round in the Dorian Mode

A simple 4-part Round in the Dorian Mode which for keyboard ensemble.

Given in treble clef staff notation with and without note names. 

Rounds MIDI 1 - Round in the Dorian Mode (Melody Example then as a 4-part Round)

3-Part Round in C Major

A more complex 3-part Round in C Major for keyboard ensemble.


Rounds MIDI 2—3-Part Round in C Major

Roundabout Composing Sheet

Pupils compose a simple musical Round using the Dorian Mode for keyboard ensemble.

Roundabout Evaluation Sheet

Can be used for pupils to evaluate and assess “Roundabout” compositions using the Dorian Mode for keyboard ensemble 





Musical Contexts Keyboard Skills

Keyboard Warm-Ups Presentations

Contains a range of essential keyboard warm-ups that can be used at the start of lessons.

Musical Contexts Keyboard Skills Vol.1

Right Hand Keyboard Melodies in C Major

Selection of easy Right-Hand Keyboard Pieces in C Major given with fingering and with and without note names


Cookie Jar

Lightly Row

London Bridge

Oh When the Saints go Marching In

Finger Twister

Skye Boat Song

Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot

Amazing Grace

Auld Lang Syne

“Staying Alive” - The Bee Gees


In the Night Garden

“Lego House” - Ed Sheeran


Musical Contexts Keyboard Skills Vol.2

Right Hand Keyboard Melodies with Sharps and Flats

Selection of Right-Hand Keyboard Pieces with occasional sharp and flat accidentals with fingering with and without note names


“My Heart Will Go On” from ‘Titanic’

Ali A Intro Theme

“Dance with Me” - Dizzee Rascal

“Bohemian Rhapsody” - Queen

Für Elise - Beethoven

“Dancing on My Own” - Robyn

“Paradise” - Coldplay

Thomas the Tank Engine Theme

Theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean”

“River” - Eminem & Ed Sheeran

Musical Contexts Keyboard Skills Vol.3

Keyboard Melodies in C Major with Left Hand Chord (Triad) Accompaniment

Selection of Keyboard Pieces with a RH melody with fingering and LH Chord (Triad) accompaniment (C, F, G & Am chords) given with and without note names.


“Bad Romance” - Lady Gaga,

“My Trumpet”

Jason Mraz - “I’m Yours”

Iyaz - “Replay”

Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen - “Good Time”

One Direction - “One Thing”

Rihanna—”We Found Love”





Keyboard Instruments

Image matching, questions and audio extract matching on keyboard instruments


Audio - Solo Keyboard Instruments

Basics of playing the piano: hand shape and hand position

Useful video to introduce or reinforce correct piano and keyboard playing technique

Keyboard Musical Clichés

4 short musical clichés to perform on keyboards (with and without note names) followed by a short composition task on creating their own musical cliché to perform on keyboards.