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Dogs and Birds - Book 1 (Animal Notes Edition)

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It is a real treat to discover a new and imaginative approach to teaching the piano which really works and is completely accessible and user-friendly.
Faye Caley, Music Teacher magazine

Dogs and Birds - Book 1 (Animal Notes Edition):

  • is recommended for ages 3 to 6
  • has animal symbols printed in every note-head
  • includes pieces, rhythm exercises and musical games
  • has a storyline with beautiful coloured illustrations to stimulate the child
  • uses blue and red to distinguish between left and right


Download pdf of sample pages: Book 1 (Animal Notes Edition)


As they work through the material children:

  • start playing music using both hands from day 1
  • learn the position of notes on the keyboard and staves using animals
  • sing the animal names as the play thus developing musicality and their inner ear
  • learn to count, understand rhythm, and feel the pulse
  • love the animals and stories, and learn in an enjoyable and fun way
  • can practice unaided using this simple approach


There is a blank notes edition of Book 1 which:

  • helps the child to progress to using conventional music
  • is best used together with the animal notes edition
  • contains the same material but without animal symbols and colours
  • can be purchased with the animal notes edition at a discount

Info on blank notes edition

The material in Book 1 is supplemented by other products:

  • Notes to Book 1 for Parents and Teachers, Including CD - info
  • Small Animal Tiles and Coloured Staves - info


All the material relevant to Book 1 can be purchased together at a substantial discount as the Complete Music Set for Beginners. This contains:

  1. Dogs and Birds - Book 1 (Animal Notes Edition)
  2. Dogs and Birds - Book 1 (Blank  Notes Edition)
  3. Notes to Book 1 for Parents and Teachers, Including CD
  4. Small Animal Tiles
  5. Coloured Staves
  6. Music Manuscript Book (4 Staves per Page)

Link to Complete Music Set for Beginners




50 pages
Elza and Chris Lusher
Dogs and Birds
Product Dimensions:
30.5 x 22.9 x 0.6 cm

16 Reviews

  • 5
    Love it- so easy to use and great fun

    Posted by Sue Ross on 2nd Oct 2016

    Been using this book with my daughter since age 3 and she loves it. Yesterday I removed the tiles and she knows where all the notes are....I was surprised! Ready to move on to book 2 now. Also started using these books for my teaching and with the same results we'll have happy kids and happy parents.

  • 5
    Wonderful, fun method for the young beginner

    Posted by Sarah Davis Early on 13th Dec 2015

    Dog and Birds Book 1 is a clever and fun way for young children to begin their piano studies. The Des Moines Symphony Academy (Des Moines, IA) has been using this method for four years. We like that the students sing the music before playing, developing their inner ear. The range is suited to the children's vocal range and the melodic movement excellent, starting with a descending minor third (sol - mi). The pieces move in a logical and sequential progression, appropriate for children as young as three years old. Each piece adds one new concept at a time, allowing the student to master it in their own time. Students can practice independently and successfully. The Academy uses this method for their Group Lessons for Young Beginners program. Students have 45 minute lessons weekly in groups of 2, 3, and 4 students. We use the supplementary materials for Dogs and Birds as well as other materials. Thank you for creating this wonderful method.

  • 5
    Fantastic books!

    Posted by Joyce on 17th Apr 2015

    This is the first time I'm using Dogs and Birds with my 3 year old daughter and we both love it! She's been able to identify the notes on the staves, thanks to the animal system and she enjoys looking at the pictures and discussing the storyline before learning the piece. The length of the pieces are just right - long enough to learn the note and short enough to hold her attention and feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm now venturing into the blank note edition and I've just ordered the staves and tiles. Its an amazing, holistic approach.

  • 5
    Great products

    Posted by Mich Mazzocco (piano teacher) on 6th Apr 2015

    I love the Dogs & Birds books for young beginners - they provide such a visual and story-based method for teaching them the notes, and children quickly pick up the way the notes repeat in a pattern across the piano, so they are not as constrained as with five-finger methods.

  • 5
    review- the method i use for young children

    Posted by Catherine Jones MA (Cantab) PGCE EYPS MISM on 5th Jan 2015

    I've used this method for young children (age 2 and up) for a couple of years now- it is the only really successful way I've found to teach young children the piano, before they can read. I usually avoid doing too much on the rhythm exercises until they're at primary school ,as I find they pick it up really quickly by the time they reach the age of 4+ whereas most struggle before then with the counting however I teach it. But we do lots of other exercises- eg marching, clapping etc to develop a sense of rhythm. I use this method with children with various learning difficulties (seems to work well for children with dyslexia), very young children, those with short attention spans and have been known to get adults started with it too! I would highly recommend this method to anyone looking for an alternative to the inappropriate old school methods (think John Thompson etc, or the American style Piano Adventures etc which again, really don't work for very young children.

  • 5
    recommended by piano teacher

    Posted by Unknown on 24th Dec 2014

    This is a great book for beginners. It is very colourful and friendly rather than lots of black notes on lines that can look quite daunting. On the back is a very useful picture showing how the notes are represented e.g. C - picture of a cat, D - picture of a dog etc, and you can photocopy it and stick them on the keyboard to help. Great too, that the pieces are only a couple of lines long so they don't lose interest.

  • 4
    younger learners

    Posted by Gloria on 27th Nov 2014

    It took me awhile to get it to work for me. The students were 3 and 3 1/2 yrs. old. I am a grandparent, knowing the theory and some piano, having never formally taught, so the instructions were quite helpful, adapting it to a lower level of course. In a class setting, it would be great, as the slower ones see how the others are doing. It really depends on the students and whether they have an ear for music or are immature, not having heard much music by their parents. Always, it is fun to see the lights go on and confidence built.