Rob Healey Keyboard Tuition Specialist
Beginners Keyboard Music

First Steps - Music for Beginners

First Steps is a Beginners Keyboard Music Book, designed to be an easy and systematic way to learn to play music.

Music books are arranged to be appealing in the shop and look easy. In time, several 'dead ends' or 'learning traps' may become obvious to a teacher as each student stumbles over the same problem.

Here's ONE example - many books have the note names written beside the notes. which traps the student into relying on music with letters.

Having the letters beside the notes may initially provide a 'quick result', but eventually this becomes a dead end, because not enough information can be seen quickly enough. The notes are often played in the wrong octave and timing is ignored.

Most students can learn to read, find and play 5 notes in their first half-hour lesson, and soon learn to recognise timing and more notes.

This means they can immediately play the first 7 songs in the book.  It seems a waste of time to learn any other system first.

Music notation is brilliant - by looking at one note, up to 5 pieces of information are gathered. Look at a letter and only one thing is known. A note is a picture, and the saying, 'A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words' is very obvious in this instance.


10 minutes of email advice with every book purchased - allow me to guide you through the book, ask me questions, etc. Direct contact with the author can be of immense value.

' It's  fun when it's easy' - and - 'It's easy when you know what you're doing'.

Some key elements of 'First Steps' are -

  • Designed and tested over many years to help me teach music

  • Above every song is a picture of a hand marking the starting position for the fingers

  • No note names or numbers to distract the student from learning notation

  • Coloured 'Call Outs' to draw attention to important items

  • The songs are arranged to teach one simple step at a time while reinforcing previous steps.

  • Every piece is written so that it can be repeated a number of times

  • All songs are in the key of C and only three chords are used.

  • The use of just three chords allows the student to focus on note reading, fingering and timing

  • Many familiar songs plus a few original compositions to provide extra steps where needed

  • Information about how to play is kept to a minimum - no pages full of words and instructions

  • Large clear print - Heavyweight Paper

  • Protected by plastic covers and comb bound so that the pages lay flat on the music stand.


FOR SALE:The Copyright and arranged music for this Book


The best shortcut is to do it properly the first time -

The example below is a low quality image for demonstration purposes

 Demo Page - 
    Colours used to highlight areas of importance  

First Steps

Here is the page used to introduce the 'F' Chord.

This song was written specially so that the 'C' and 'F' chord change could be learnt & practiced first, without the distraction of a third chord 'G'.

It also introduces the 'Tie' which is important for the next song - 'Oh When The Saints Go Marching In.'

'The Saints' has several ties that need to be observed - If the tied note is struck again, by mistake, it sounds strange -"Oh when the Saints......Saints, go marching In......In". 'Saints' also introduces counting aloud so that past and future pieces can be played in time with the auto accompaniment.

 'Here in Cairns' is an enormous success. Generally it's the favourite song for many weeks/months. It has often encouraged students to invent introductions, endings or counter harmony without my suggestion or input!

The book's development - or 'Why I Publish my own Beginners Book'

Teaching many different people the same song is very interesting, each person has individual problems and some problems are universal. If several people stumble over the same part, it's obvious that the problem is not being presented in the best way. For instance - the song in which we first learn the 'F' chord should not have a 'G' chord immediately after. That's a definite stumbling block and can introduce confusion.

When I first began teaching, I soon noticed that many students were using the finger numbers to read the notes. This created serious problems, because only the first few songs have C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, then we had to go back, unlearn reading numbers and learn how to read the notes - very demoralising.

A Learners Handbook will soon be available - this will explain the skills to be learned on each page. For instance, 'The Saints' on page seven requires the student to write in the 1-2-3-4 count underneath the music and then learn to count aloud while playing. Counting aloud develops the brain and hand co-ordination.

I used correction fluid to erase all numbers and names on every song in every pupils book - time consuming but effective."

For some students the course or music book we were using progressed too fast, leaving behind unresolved problems. I looked for suitable songs to bridge the gap, sometimes writing a piece specially.

When my favourite beginner's book was reprinted with updated songs, my new pupils began to struggle - sometimes giving up. The songs were more up to date but also more difficult. I produced extra songsheets to fill the gap and realised that the old simple favourites were doing a far better job,  introducing beginners of all ages to the magic of music. Eventually I published my own book.