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Tutorial on how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on piano

Piano Tutorial

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is a popular children’s nursery rhyme and a well-known piano melody worldwide. Learning how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on piano is an easy and excellent choice for beginners because of the song’s simple and repetitive structure.

The following piano tutorial will teach you all the notes for Twinkle Twinkle and explains topics such as hand position, note patterns, and chords in a step-by-step format that you can easily follow as a beginner pianist.

Cheat sheet

ArtistLyrics by Jane Taylor; famous set
of variations composed by Mozart
ComposerLyrics by Jane Taylor; famous set
of variations composed by Mozart
Release year1761
GenreClassical
Difficulty levelAdvanced
InstrumentPiano
KeyC minor
MeterCommon time
TechniquesBasic 5-finger position

Many people grow up hearing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on keyboard so you’re likely already familiar with the melody and lyrics. This will make it easier for you to learn and memorize the song.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Starchords and progressions

The piano notes and chord progressions in “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” are relatively straightforward and easy to play. It mainly consists of single notes moving up and down the scale, which helps beginners develop their finger dexterity and coordination.

A good warm-up exercise when learning how to play the piano is to place the thumb on C in the right hand and then move up and down the piano keys in step movement (so C-D-E-F-G). And then place the 5th finger on C in the left hand and do the same thing – up and down on the keyboard.

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“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” lesson plan

The following tutorial will teach you all the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” piano chords and notes, and introduces you to the best way to learn and understand the melody.

Go to the lesson

:bulb:Please note that the lesson is also available on the mobile app 

Step 1: Listen to the song

It’s always a good idea to listen to the song in full so that you gain a good idea of what you’re working towards. 

Step 2: Learn the right-hand notes

Use the picture below to help you find the correct starting position for the right hand. Make There is a large leap of a fifth after the first two notes of the tune, and after that you’ll need to play an A, so make sure you follow the Skoove video carefully so that you don’t run out of fingers to play these higher notes!

play an A

Apart from these large leaps the rest of the tune moves by stepwise motion; in other words, you either repeat the same note or the notes are next to each other.

notes are next to each other

Step 3: Learn the left-hand notes

The left-hand provides the accompaniment. First find the correct starting position, with the 5th finger on the note ‘C’.

the 5th finger on the note ‘C’

As you can see from the music notes below, the left-hand piano part jumps around a little more but you don’t need to change your hand position. Keep your 5th finger on ‘C’, the 4th finger on ‘D’, the middle finger on ‘E’, the index finger on ‘F’, and the thumb on ‘G’ and you will be just fine!

 don’t need to change your hand position

Step 4: Play hands together

Now you’re ready to start putting hands together. It’s really important to practice slowly initially and then take it a bit faster when you’ve built the tune into your muscle memory. Don’t worry too much about rhythm for now – playing the accurate piano notes (in both hands) is most important for now!

repetitive pattern

The song has a repetitive pattern with the first and last lines being the same, and the second and third lines being the same.

Step 5: Play in time

Once you’re feeling confident with the hand positions and the timing of when to play the left-hand notes and when to play the right-hand notes, you’re ready to start playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in time. The backing click on the Skoove app is a fantastic way to keep you on track with this!

Step 6: Ideas for an extension

If you’ve mastered the tune and you’re looking to make things a little more exciting, try gradually increasing the complexity by adding more chords in the left hand, playing the tune in different octaves, or even having a go at creating your own variations based on the tune – just like Mozart did in 1761. Skoove’s improvisation course might give you a few ideas on how to do this!

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” practice tips

Here are some great tips and things to remember when you’re starting out learning how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on piano.

  1. The song is in the key of C major, which means you don’t need to worry about any sharps or flats. The time signature is 4/4, which means there are 4 four beats per measure.
  2. Begin by practicing each hand separately before attempting to play with both hands together. This approach allows you to focus on the specific fingerings and hand movements. Once you feel comfortable, gradually integrate both hands.
  3. Begin by playing the song at a slower tempo to ensure accuracy and precision. Focus on playing each note with the correct rhythm and finger placement. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase the speed while maintaining control over your playing.
  4. Learn to feel your way through the notes in the right-hand piano melody so that you don’t have to look down at the piano keys all the time. This will improve your reading of piano sheet music.
  5. Once you feel confident playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, challenge yourself to memorize the song. Memorization enhances your connection with the music and allows you to focus more on interpretation and expression while performing.

    Interesting fact

    The song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” has been used in numerous studies as a way of researching children’s development in vocal pitch accuracy, in music therapy for feeding and sleeping in premature infants, and as a way of encouraging children to compose and improvise music.

Conclusion

In this tutorial you’ve learned how to play one of the most popular beginner piano tunes. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is a wonderful song for beginner pianists due to its simplicity, familiarity, and the opportunity it provides to practice essential piano skills. It serves as a great foundation for beginners to gain confidence, enjoy playing the piano, and explore further musical endeavors.

As such, you’ll be ready to try out hundreds of other songs that are on the Skoove app. If you’ve enjoyed this “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” tutorial, learning some of our classical piano songs is a logical next step. All the lessons are accompanied by easy-to-follow tutorials and real-time feedback on your playing. Sign up for your free trial today!

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Author of this blog post:

Sam Girling is a percussion and piano teacher, writer, an researcher based in Münster, Germany and Auckland, New Zealand. He has performed extensively in New Zealand and Europe, lectures on a variety of music history and theory topics, and has published several academic articles and musical scores. Sam has taught music in a variety of contexts, from primary schools through to university level.

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