3. Press Release – Autumn 2022

“Piano music for beginners – simple, clear and fun!”

Author – Daniel Lloyd
Illustrator – Judy Lloyd
ISBN: 978-0-9571261-5-2
soft cover / landscape
Price: £10
Pages: 48

Enquiries and orders

Daisyfield Press is delighted to publish No Notes Bumper Book of Children’s Songs, the latest title in the popular No Notes series of piano music books for absolute beginners.

Beginners like No Notes piano music because it is easy to understand and because it offers more rewarding musical and technical challenges than standard notation can. No Notes Bumper Book of Children’s Songs includes forty popular songs, each with its own ‘keyboard map’ (showing where to put hands) and ‘song chart’ (showing the order to play fingers and thumbs).

Learning to play the piano is not easy. There are so many piano keys and so many fingers to co-ordinate! No Notes piano music rewards beginners’ practice efforts with music that family and friends will recognise and enjoy. And as they work out how to play No Notes pieces, beginners learn a variety of foundation keyboard skills including navigating the piano keyboard, reading music, playing without looking at fingers and thumbs, playing in time, developing even-handedness, and playing musically.

An especially attractive and unusual feature of all No Notes piano music is that it can be played easily as duets by TWO (or more) absolute beginners (i.e. either as a duet or as a group keyboard session) which makes learning to play half as hard and twice as much fun! All songs also include many colourful and playful illustrations as well as the words, so beginners can enjoy singing songs as they play.

No Notes piano music is an original tablature (’tab’) notation that makes it easy for beginners to concentrate on ‘finding their fingers’ and playing musically. It incorporates several key features of standard piano music that mean No Notes graduates are not only motivated but also prepared to make the transition from No Notes piano tab to standard piano music.

2. What are foundation keyboard skills?

It seems so easy to make the piano sing! Even a cat can tread lightly across a piano keyboard and produce notes perfectly in tune and with exquisite tone. And yet, as every piano beginner knows, playing the piano – whichever genre of music you pick – is not easy. There are so many things to understand and process simultaneously –two confusingly mirror-image hands, so many fingers and thumbs, two lines of music – one for each hand – usually pitch-coded differently (i.e. treble clef and bass clef)!

Every musical instrument requires a particular combination of physical and mental accomplishments. For pianists, the challenge is to control all the fingers and thumbs of both hands to produce multiple independent lines of music, simultaneously!

Listed below are six essential foundation keyboard skills that piano beginners need to acquire, whatever kind of music they’re wanting to play.

1. Become familiar with the piano keyboard

Unlike most instruments, all the notes a piano can produce are on display.  Frequently, the sheer number of piano keys can overwhelm a beginner.  No Notes music – tablature, or ‘tab’ – helps students become familiar and comfortable with the iconic pattern of black and white keys on a piano keyboard.  Each piece includes a keyboard map showing where hands and fingers go, and since No Notes tunes use different hand positions, No Notes beginners get lots of practise placing hands and fingers quickly over the correct keys.

2. Use all fingers without looking at them

No Notes  music helps beginners use their fingers and thumbs without looking.  Either hands do not move once placed on the keyboard (e.g. Children’s Songs), or else fingers play the same sequence of notes in different hand positions (Blues Primer).

3. Develop independence between the hands

Piano music usually involves pianists playing multiple independent lines of music simultaneously.  At its most basic, this means doing one thing with one hand and a different thing with the other.  No Notes Blues Primer provides a variety of simple, familiar and fun bluesy riffs and grooves to help beginners focus on playing different patterns with each hand at the same time.

4. Learn to read music

For many absolute beginners, ordinary piano music can be simply too much, too soon.  Beginner pianists with a good musical ear often prefer to copy what they hear rather than to translate hieroglyphics on a page. Even proficient pianists who seem to be reading music are often, in reality, happier to play by ear and from memory than from sheet music.  Although No Notes music incorporates many features of ordinary piano music, it is much easier to understand, which means that No Notes beginners’ important first steps towards music literacy are easy and relatively painless.  In fact, No Notes beginners have fun learning to read music and soon build invaluable confidence in their ability to follow, interpret and make music from a printed score.

5. Play with a beat

Music is a time-based medium and usually musicians locate their musical actions in time using a pulse or beat.  No Notes music develops beginners’ sense of timing and rhythm in two ways:  Fine vertical ‘beat lines’ and thicker ‘bar lines’ encourage beginners to feel the beat and the count (i.e. 2-in-a-bar, 3-in-a-bar…), while the distance between fingerings on the song chart – the ‘gaps’ – provides a simple, clear and intuitive visual representation of the time gap between consecutive notes.

6. Make music

The goal of No Notes piano music is that beginners learn to play the piano with the same control and expression as when they sing, hum or whistle. No Notes‘ simplicity does not only mean that absolute beginners can play an attractive variety of familiar music, assimilating foundation keyboard skills as they go. It also means that it’s easy for two (or more) absolute beginners (e.g.  parents or friends, and also in group keyboard sessions) to play No Notes pieces as duets – half as hard and twice as much fun!

1. Why No Notes?

Beginners on most musical instruments can spend long hours learning simply how to produce a pleasing sound. Beginner pianists, on the other hand, have only to push a piano key and they are rewarded with a tuneful, bell-like sound. In fact, an upright piano usually has 88 keys. Lucky pianists! So many pitch-perfect, beautiful sounds, so easily available ‘at the touch of a button’, literally!

And that’s not all. Most other instrumentalists can only try to imagine in their mind’s eye the range of pitches (‘tessitura’) their instrument can produce. The iconic piano keyboard design provides a very helpful visual guide to all the notes a pianist can play.

But… the piano’s immense pitch range makes learning to play the piano and, particularly, learning to read piano music unusually challenging.

Beginner pianists often find themselves feeling like they’ve plunged into an overwhelming musical ‘deep end’. There are so many things to understand and process simultaneously – two confusingly mirror-image hands, so many fingers and thumbs, two lines of music (one for each hand), usually pitch-coded differently (i.e. treble clef and bass clef)!

If standard piano notation looks complicated – off-putting even – that’s because it’s full of information! No wonder beginner pianists with a good musical ear often prefer to copy what they hear rather than to translate hieroglyphics on a page. Even proficient pianists who seem to be reading music are often happier to play by ear and from memory than from sheet music. This seems a shame. So much good music is written down.

When children learn to read words, tutor books simplify the reading process because this makes learning to read easier and more fun… and so more likely to succeed. No Notes simplifies the baffling complexity of ordinary piano music for the same reason.

No Notes musical notation shows fingering rather than pitch. This type of notation is called tablature or ‘tab’. No Notes piano tab is very simple. There is a ‘keyboard map’, showing where the two hands go, and a ‘song chart’, based on standard piano notation, showing which fingers to use and when to use them. The right and left hand parts are written above and below a single line. Rhythmic details are indicated by proportional horizontal spacing of notes, as well as by bar lines. It really is easy to follow. If you can count to five you are ready for No Notes.

No Notes beginners soon learn to make musical phrases using all the fingers and thumbs of both hands.  In fact, a surprising degree of musical complexity is possible with No Notes piano tab and beginners can rapidly develop independence between their two hands and find themselves able to play not only favourite melodies but also a variety of catchy, rhythmic, bluesy riffs and grooves.

No Notes beginners learn to read music from the start – because it’s easy and it’s fun. And because No Notes piano tab is based on standard piano notation – No Notes beginners are soon ready and motivated to move on to the fascinating complexities of standard piano notation.