Keyboard Beginnings

Welcome to Keyboard Beginnings Blog. This blog is dedicated to the music and teaching philosophy of Judy Kagel.

Visit an Actual Keyboard Beginnings Music Class

Keyboard Beginnings Music is a piano/keyboard music course for young children. Children are taught to play the piano or keyboard through ear training and fun activities. Children as young as age four learn to read musical notation.

Video demonstrates non-pressured and age appropriate techniques of teaching music to young children. Excerpt shows children and parents (oh, yes parents share music together) after only four lessons.

Judy Kagel, creator of Keyboard Beginnings Music
(732) 577-0063
JBK Music Publishing since 1993


Parents and Music Instructors

Keyboard Beginnings

Book I

Keyboard Beginnings introduces children to their first playing experience on the piano and keyboard as a solo and ensemble instrument. Children are gradually introduced to note and rhythm notation through the repetition of note patterns and simple rhythms in each song. The books include activity pages for reviewing concepts taught in each song.

The repertoire in Keyboard Beginnings includes original melodies and lyrics in addition to traditional folk music and the music of well-known composers. The program was created for and tested with pre-school children as well as early elementary school students to assure student motivation and enthusiasm.

The goal of Keyboard Beginnings is to develop in each student the beginning of a lifelong appreciation of music and the pleasure of performing for one s own enjoyment.

Keyboard Beginnings is suitable for home schooled instruction guided by parent, private lessons with music teacher, or group classroom training.

Book I package includes an instructional CD featuring the voices of young children. Each of the songs is recorded at two tempos: a slower tempo for practice and a faster tempo for presentation.

Judy Kagel
Originator and Composer
Keyboard Beginnings

Free Demo Music Lessons 2012 for Young Children

Click here for free demo lesson

View sample keyboard music lesson for young children



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Note Reading for the Youngest Beginner

I believe that one of the most important elements in a music lesson is ear training. Developing the child’s musical ear sharpens the senses when hearing pitch changes, harmonic combinations, different styles and moods of music, various tempos and meters, and creating melodic sounds and rhythms without boundaries.

With that being said, let me address the question, “Can children ages 4 and 5 learn to read notes?” The answer is YES!

I have been teaching young children music for over 30 years and have observed children’s learning styles as they learn music in a group or private lesson.

Communication and Language
Language is learned before reading takes place as children begin communicating and making gestures and sounds. Children learn to speak language by listening to combinations of sounds that make up words. They relate words to shapes, colors, tastes, texture and emotions.

Many parents read to their children, and point to pictures that relate to the reading material in their child’s books. For example, a simple picture of a ball, which may be one of the child’s toys, and the word BALL written above the picture may help the child to begin associating the word with the picture.

An example of word recognition that comes to mind is the large yellow M on the sign representing McDonald’s Restaurant. Many children have the ability to make a mental picture of a word and remember the image, shape, and length of the word. All children have the ability to learn in their own unique way, and the process begins at a young age.

So, why shouldn’t a young child learn to read musical notation? Music is not only aural but visual. Musical notation contains shapes and designs that can be associated with melody.

I believe in teaching an integrated music lesson to young children implementing ear training, activities with movement, and visual activities that ultimately lead to reading rhythm and notation on the staff.

Based on my experience, children learn the language of music naturally when exposed to the entire language. Let’s remember that the reading process takes time, and with gentle guidance the child will eventually be able to connect notation and pitch.

Judy Kagel, JBK Music Publishing
Director and author of the Keyboard Beginnings Music Series

Part 2 will address some techniques and activities for integrating reading and ear training in the music lesson.

Keyboard Techniques For Young Fingers

A NJMEA (New Jersey Music Education Association) Workshop sponsored by JBK Music Publishing Co, February 2010

Clinician: Judy Kagel, Monmouth Academy of Musical Arts, Morganville, NJ.

Judy Kagel shared many of her creative ideas and techniques for teaching group keyboard in the classroom to grades K-2. Part of the workshop involved hands-on activities such as techniques to help students maintain a steady beat and musical games to improve listening skills. Judy used musical selections from the Keyboard Beginnings series to demonstrate examples of harmony, form and improvisation. She showed how the keyboard is a wonderful tool for introducing children to the orchestra. The workshop was geared for younger grades; however, the same teaching techniques could be adapted for older students, and students with special needs.

Judy Kagel
Keyboard Beginnings