Lesson 3: Lesson 3: Legato I'm a Happy Doggie

In this lesson, we will learn legato, which is connecting, but not smearing, a sequence of notes. We will relearn the previous lesson's exercises, now played using legato.

Understanding legato

You must understand the meaning of legato (Italian for "tied together") before you can teach it to your child. Those parents who already know non-legato, legato, and smeared legato may skip this section. To play two or more notes legato is to hold down each note until the next note is played, so that there is no break between the notes. The the finger playing each legato note must be lifted as soon as the next note is played.

Demonstration of non-legato (whose sound can be reproduced by one-finger playing), legato, and incorrect smeared legato:


Here is a screen of a digital keyboard sequence playing non-legato:

Here is a screen of a digital keyboard sequence playing correct legato (notice the slight overlapping of notes):

Here is a screen of a digital keyboard sequence playing incorrect smeared legato going from the fourth to the fifth note, overlapping too much:

Preparing for the second lesson

By the time we get to this lesson, your child should already be playing the two exercises of the previous lesson without any difficulties. 

Like the previous lesson, there is a right hand exercise and a left hand exercise, and we will learn and teach the exercise without requiring correct hand posture. We will require that the notes be legato, and not smeared.

The child's fingers are weaker than yours, particularly the 4 and 5 fingers.  You will more than likely need to begin lifting the 4 finger to achieve the correct non-smeared sound when going from 4 to 5 for each hand:

It is important that the child's 5 finger be adept enough, so that he can effortlessly play it while concentrating on lifting his own 4 finger.

Once your child hears the correct sound of legato, with your assistance, he will naturally want to make that sound by himself without your assistance.   He must be able to play these exercises correctly unassisted in order to move onto the next lesson.

Make sure the practice chart is set to lesson 3. Practice every day!


I'm a Happy Doggie, Legato, demo videos

Right Hand


Left Hand





Next Lesson