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Piano Lesson: Learn To Play Mary Had A Little Lamb Without Reading Sheet Music

In this piano lesson you will learn to play Mary Had A Little Lamb without the use of sheet music. We will be a little bit professional and use both hands!

As you probably know Mary Had A Little Lamb is a popular nursery rhyme. Here is the first verse:

Mary had a little lamb
little lamb, little lamb
Mary had a little lamb
its fleece was white as snow

In When testing his invention of the phonograph in 1877 Thomas Edison used this poem and it became the first audio recording to be successfully made and played back.

We will not use sheet music in this piano lesson. Instead we will use a form of piano tablature or shorter piano tab.

Tablature is a form of musical notation, often with numbers and letters, which tells the player where to place his fingers on a particular instrument rather than which pitches to play.

First you'll have to locate the note C on the piano. On a piano C is the first white key that is to the left of two black keys.

The C we are interested in most is the C on the middle of the piano. This C is called middle C because on the piano keyboard it is right in the middle, near the keyhole.

In our piano tab we will give this C note a number: 1

The white key to the right of C we call 2 and so on. Let's play some notes:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

When you have played these seven notes you will come to the next C on the piano.

Let's try to play a bit of Mary Had A Little Lamb:

Mary had a little lamb

3 2 1 2 3 3 3

You can use the index finger on your right hand to play this melody or be a little bit more professional and use your thumb for all number 1, your index finger for number 2 and your middle finger for number 3.

Let's continue this piano lesson with the next line:

little lamb, little lamb

2 2 2 3 5 5

Use the little finger for number 5 if you want. The next part is the same as the first piano tab:

Mary had a little lamb

3 2 1 2 3 3 3

Now we are about to finish this song:

its fleece was white as snow

3 2 2 3 2 1

How can you use your left hand? Well, you can make this piece a little bit more difficult and also more rewarding to play by using your left hand for bass notes.

The notes from C to the next C is called an octave. You also have these notes to the left of the middle C. We can call these notes the left octave.

If you use the notes 1-7 in the left octave to play bass notes with your left hand we can notate this in the following way:

3/1 2 1 2 3/1 3 3

3/1 means that as you play the first 3 you also play number 1 in the left octave with your left hand at the same time.

The rest of Mary Had A Little Lamb with bass notes included looks like this:

2/5 2 2 3/1 5 5

3/1 2 1 2 3/1 3 3

3 2/5 2 3 2 1/1

I suggest that you play you left hand 1 with your little finger and number 5 with your thumb. This is the whole song and your piano lesson is over!

The best way to practice is probably to take one line at a time and learn it by heart. When you know the song by heart you can play it anytime and anywhere!

Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and learn to play piano resources at