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Piano Lesson 12: Dessert D

By Gaili Schoen June 21, 2023 Hobbies

It is the first day of summer as I am posting this in the USA, woohoo! I hope that you are warm and safe wherever you are, and you are enjoying playing music on your piano or keyboard. I think music makes everything a bit better, don’t you? Parties, films, restaurants would all seem dull without music.

Listening to music as well as playing it feels like such a great gift. Even though it is difficult learning how to read and play notes, I hope you will persevere. Learning how to play an instrument along with exercising regularly is the best way to keep our brains sharp, and playing and listening to music also enhances our lives in so many ways.

[NOTE: If you are just joining us for the first time, you can find my previous Sixty and Me Free Piano Lessons on my Author page. You can join our lessons any time!]

12.1 Dessert D, p.42-44

Today we are adding a new note – D on the Bass Staff! D stands for Delicious Dark Chocolate Desserts, and Bass D is located on the middle line of the Bass Staff, so I like to call it “Dessert D, Dead Center” to remember the note. For more about Dessert D, watch my video:

Note on p.42 that Dessert D has a stem that goes down on the left, just with as Bass, E, F, and G. Sometimes the stem on Dessert D goes up, if all of the other notes on the staff go up, but if there is a mix of up and down stems, the Dessert D stem will probably go down on the left.

12.2 Lightly Row, p.43

You played Lightly Row on p. 23 of our Upper Hands Piano, BOOK 1. On p.23 the melody was in the right hand, and the left hand played a simple accompaniment. On p.43, the melody is now in the left hand, without accompaniment. Focus on smoothing out the notes, and playing them to a steady, constant beat.

Try the Musical Mind Games box at the bottom of the page. Identify the non-musical term on each line and either circle it or cross it out. You can check your work on the ANSWERS page of my website,

12.3 Aiken Drum, p.44

Aiken Drum starts on BEAT 3, because it is an incomplete measure, or a pickup. Beats 1 and 2 are in the last measure of the song. As I talked about in Lesson 6, when a song starts with a pickup, the value of the first measure (in this case 1 beat) plus the last measure (2 beats) must together be equal to the top number of the time signature (in this case 3 beats).

Be sure to count the beats while you play Aiken Drum. Once you know the notes, try not to pause in between the measures. Keep a steady 1-2-3, 1-2-3 rhythm throughout the song.

Spell the words in the Musical Mind Games on the same page! You will know your letters are correct if each measure spells a word correctly.

Passion Practice!

  1. Exercise #3 in D AND A. Play each exercise 3 times: 2x Forte (loudly) then 1x Piano (softly) with each hand. Use the PENTASCALES chart at the back of the book of you are not sure of the hand positions for D and A. Review C and G when you can.
  2. Chord Calisthenics #1 – first 4 lines with each hand separately (in C, G, D, A, E, B, F# and D-flat)
  3. 1st week: Lightly Row, p.43, and the Musical Mind Games below
  4. 2nd week: Aiken Drum, p.44, and the Musical Mind Games below
  5. Review Ode to Joy, p.31-32 and the Finger Number Drill, p.32

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are relaxing? When you need to relax? While you are doing chores? At your parties? While you are exercising? Research shows that listening to fast paced music while exercising can invigorate our workouts! What music fills your heart with joy?

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The Author

Gaili Schoen is a passionate piano teacher and learning science researcher. She has written a piano instruction series called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul. Learn more at Follow her blog for free monthly sheet music and practice tips:

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