Twinkle twinkle little star in C major

A free video tutorial from Martin Cohen
Teacher, musician and composer
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Twinkle twinkle little star in C major

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Piano lessons/ keyboard lessons for beginners. Play piano by ear, chords, reading music, improvisation, music theory

23:52:22 of on-demand video • Updated November 2023

Complete beginners will be taken to an intermediate (or even higher) level of piano playing with a thorough understanding of music theory.
You will master all the chords on the piano that will allow you to play all the songs you want.
You will know how to play any song by ear by just listening attentively, then deriving chords and melody.
You will know how to read music, so that you can play from lead sheets, chord sheets and sheet music.
You will start to improvise using the pentatonic and blues scales.
So after the C major scale, it's time to do a song in that scale, and I thought that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a good one to start with, since everybody knows it. And yeah, it's a simple song so very good to begin to play the notes of the C major scale. Now, to be honest, there's only six of the seven notes out of the scale that we play. There's one note that's missing. So when we play the C major scale: C, D, E,. F, G, A... Those are actually all the notes that we need for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. So we miss the B. But OK, that's only one note. And we use all the other six notes, so I think it's still good to learn the C major scale. But before we start to do Twinkle Twinkle in C Major, I'd like to say two things. First, I'd like to say this: in the resources of all the lectures with songs -so also this lecture-, you will find a PDF file with sheet music. Now, you might say: but wait a minute, I can't read music. So what do I do with sheet music? Well, I added the sheet music because a lot of students who already know how to read music, asked me to add sheet music, so that's why you find it in the resources. Now, if you cannot read sheet music, well, can you use those files? Yes, you can. Only you will not read the sheet music, but you will see that in those files under the staff -and the staff that are those five lines on which you can write the notes-, under the staff, you see the notes written out, so you can just use the notes that are written out. And that's not all. Above the notes, you find the finger positions, so you can use those files for the notes and the finger positions. And for those who can read music well, they just can use the notes on the staff. Now I did this for all the major songs so that you can see all the notes and all the finger positions. But after all the major songs (but that's already very far in the course), I don't do it any more because I think that then you're used enough to do it yourself. And the second thing I wanted to talk about is about the finger positions, since you know that in the C major scale, we used finger one, two, three... So thumb, index finger, middle finger on C, D, E and we moved with our thumb under the middle finger -so finger one- on the F and then two on G, three on A, four on B and five on C. Will we now use exactly the same finger positions in Twinkle Twinkle? So exactly one, two, three, one, two, three, four, five? No! Why did we learn those finger positions for the C major scale then? Well, because those finger positions were the best to play the C major scale, but those finger positions are not the best way to play... well in this case, Twinkle, Twinkle. It's the same for any other song. So. You will not always used the thumb on C (you will see that mostly we do it in this song) and two, three on D, E and F, et cetera. It's even so that not every piano player would play the same finger positions in this same song. There are other possibilities. But let me talk about that a little bit later. OK, after this very long introduction, let's just begin with this song. Now this song consists of three parts, and those parts are all very easy to play. But let me first just play the song for you... And perhaps you noticed that I used the notes C, D, E, F, G and A. Not the B and not the high C. OK. This song consists of three parts, and let me just play those parts for you. The first part is... This little musical line, that's the first part. The second part is... I will later explain them better. The third part is this... That's the third part, and as you know, the third part is repeated. And then we go back to part one, the first part of the song. And we end the song with part two. So the order is: part one, part two (both once), part three twice, and then back to part one (once) and then part two, again once. And that's the whole song. So let me go into detail for the three parts, and I will start with part one. I play it one more time, slowly. So those are the notes: C. C. G. G. G. And you see that I use the fingers: one, one, four, four, five, five, four. You can try it yourself. Now you might ask yourself, why don't I just use: one, two, three, four, five on C, D, E, F, G? Well, that is because... Assume I would do that. Then I would use my pinkie -so finger five- on the G. Now I have to go to the A. Then I have to make a jump with my pinky. And then you cannot really play the notes smoothly. You cannot tie them together. Now, to be honest, with two the same notes... You cannot really tie them together, either. But when going from the C to the G, you can tie them together. And when going from the G to the A, you can also tie them together and you can only do that when you use those fingers. One on C, four on G, and five on A. Are there other possibilities? Of course there are! You could even do this... But this is not the most practical way, and that is because we have to move from part one to part two. We will see that later. So for now, we do just: thumb, thumb, ring finger, ring finger, pinky, pinky, ring finger. OK, try that out yourself, and then we move to part two. At the end of part one, we landed with our ring finger, finger four, on the G. So, when we want to link part one and part two together, it's the easiest to go on with the middle finger, finger three, on the F, because part two -I will play it for you- that's... Which are two notes: F, F, E, E, D, D, C. And I use the fingers: three, three, two, two, one, one, two. So what I do is when I go from the D to the C, I go with my index finger over my thumb to the C. Now, are there other ways to play it? Because it's a bit complicated. Well, not really complicated, but you have to go with your finger two over your finger one. Yes, there are other ways to play it. How? Well, for example, to just use fingers four, three, two and one: four, four, three, three, two, two, one. Now you might ask yourself: why don't you do that? It's much simpler. Well, actually, that is because at the end of part one, I landed with my ring finger on the G. So when I want to link part one and part two together, it's easier... Well, the best way is to use then my middle finger on the F. That's why I landed with three on the F. Well, when I go down, then I'm with one on my D and I still have to use a finger for the C, so that's why I do this. Now, can't you play four, three, two, one? Yes, you can. But in that case, you will not really link part one and part two together. Is that a problem? No, not really. Because, part two is actually a new musical phrase, and it's like a singer who needs to breathe a little bit and leaves a little gap there. And I would say that within one musical phrase, it's best to not leave gaps. But when you go from one musical phrase to the second one, yeah, it doesn't matter so much. But for the purpose of learning to play everything together, I thought by myself, OK, when we go from part one to part two, let's try to link everything together. So that's why when we landed on the end of part one with our ring finger on the G, I continue with my middle finger on the F. OK. That was part two. So. That was part two, let me play it again. Now we go to part three, and part three is... So those are two notes: G, G, F, F, E, E, D. And I use the fingers: five, five, four, four, three, three, two. So that's part three, and as you know, part three is played twice. So when we play it for the last time, for the second time... then, we go back to part one, which we already know... and we finish the song with part two that we also already know. OK, so that's the whole song. OK, what I will do now is that I will play the whole song with the metronome, and it's good to use the metronome to get yourself used to use the metronome because it's the only way to learn it in a steady way. And before I use the metronome, it's good that I say the following: let me just illustrate with part one... You see that the last note lasts two times as long as all the other notes, let me say that every note is one count and the last note is then two counts: one, one, one, one, one, one, one, two. Same for part two: one, one, one, one, one, one, one, two. Also there the last note is two counts. Same thing for part three: one, one, one, one, one, one, one, two. So in all three parts, all the notes without the last note, last for one count. And the last note always lasts two counts. OK, when we will play with the metronome, first, a few things. I will put the metronome on 60 beats per minute. I think that's a good speed to start with. If you have problems, you start on a lower tempo, for example 50 or even lower, just what fits you. Other thing about the metronome... we start... We count to four in this song, and the metronome will also start with four counts and then we start the song. So we hear: one, two, three, four, one... and then we start the song. OK, let me put the metronome on and then we start. So it counts first to four and then we start. One, two, three, four... OK, that's it. Let me put the metronome off. OK, so, try it yourself. Start with, for example, 60 beats per minute and then slightly increase the speed. When you master it at 60 beats per minute, then go to 65, when you master that, go to 70, go to 75, 80... Well, where do you have to stop? Well, I think you can stop where you want. Of course, don't do this... That's far too quick. And it's not nice. You know yourself at what speed you should stop. OK, now last thing I want to show you is that you can also play this song with a backing track, with a play-along mp3-file, which, by the way, you can as usual find in the resources. This backing track also starts with four metronome clicks, four metronome counts, and then the song starts, exactly in the same way as we did with the metronome. The song is played three times on the backing track, so you can go from one time, the second time to the third time playing the song. One important thing to say is: you know that when you finish the song... You do part one, part two, twice part three, then again part one and part two. So we end with part two, which is... So you end with your index finger on the C. Now, when you start with the second time with this song, you know that you should use your thumb on the C. So, when you end the song, you end with your finger two, and then you start again with finger one. So that's at the end of the first time, and at the end of the second time you play the song. OK, let me just play it and then you can do it yourself. And by the way, later we will play Twinkle also in other tonalities. That means not only in C Major, but also in G, D... Whatever major scale and also there you will have play-along tracks. And it works exactly in the same way. I show it now for the C major scale, but it works exactly in the same way for the other major scales, and I will not repeat it because it's always the same, but you will find the tracks for the other scales also in those lessons. So let me put it on and just start. The third time. OK, that's it. Practice it yourself, first with the metronome and then with the backing track.