Baby Shark: Student Saver!

WARNING! This post may cause a serious case of “ear worm.”

In other words…this tune may be stuck in your head for at least a day!

Some of us may remember singing and doing the actions to Baby Shark around the campfire at church or school campouts.

The latest Baby Shark song was popularized by a video produced by Pinkfong, a South Korean education brand.

As of March 2019, this version has garnered over 2.4 billion views on YouTube making it the most-viewed educational video phenomenon of all time.

They all love it — the preschoolers all the way through high school students!

I had a middle-schooler tell me they play this at school at lunchtime and I needed to teach this.

It’s so easy to teach by rote — three repeated notes on the right hand (D-E-G) with an F# at the end.

Please don’t pay $3.99 to purchase the sheet music as that would be $1.25 per note and you have better things to do with your money.

Since it’s a four-chord pop progression, it’s given us a chance to explore a new chord progression in the key of G (G-C-Em-D.)

Just yesterday in a piano class of 6-7 year olds, I taught the chord progression as single notes and then without prompting, a tiny 6-year-old started playing it using 5ths and a 7-year-old asked if she could play “trial chords” (triads.)

The right hand is so repetitive that even the youngest students can learn to harmonize with the four chords.

FYI, our studio guitar teacher has also been teaching this to his students of all ages and levels – quick and easy success with just 3 notes!

Just in case you want the sheet music, it’s available here:

Students have been taking turns wearing the Shark Fin costumes – some on their backs and some on their heads. 

In my kindergarten class this week, a little girl showed up with Baby Shark artwork to hang up in the studio and a little boy wore his shark socks.

On their practice record they all listed Baby Shark as their favorite piece. They couldn’t wait to wear the shark fins and play the song. 

Student saver story

Got a call from a worried parent last week. One of my most committed students, age 10, wasn’t having as much fun playing the piano as she used to and was thinking about quitting.

We’re in the middle of preparing for Junior Solo Festival in April so the bulk of our class time has been spent polishing and reviewing our solos, over and over, and she was tired of playing those same two songs like we all are.

Enter Baby Shark! After class was over, I caught her teaching our guitar teacher how to play Baby Shark on the piano and then her mom snuck a video of her playing it at home and sent it to me with the message:

“Kendall is back on the piano on her own again and says she’s staying. Looks like she’s feeling better!”

Let’s drive our parents crazy

Comments I’ve heard this week:

Emily’s parents refuse to stay in the house when Emily is playing Baby Shark.

Lucy and Cora’s mom said she was grateful that she didn’t have preschoolers anymore so she didn’t have to listen to Baby Shark. Piano classes changed all that as her three kids (ages 7, 10, 13) all came home playing it last week.

Take it to a new level of sophistication

(Leila here.) When I watched this clip by James Corden of Baby Shark for grown-ups, I immediately went to the piano to see how many ways I could reharmonize this melody.

With such a simple melody, it’s perfect for students who are ready to explore more beyond the standard four chords.

The repeated notes in the melody leave room for students to mix up the chords to get fresh combinations including 7th chords.

In the video and graphic below are some options that I came up with. Can you think of more?

Audience Participation Number for Recital

(Back to Marie.) Our spring recital will be a concert in the park and I was looking for a song that the audience could participate along with.

I originally planned on We Will Rock You, but I’m going to bring in Baby Shark. That way I can get as many kids on the stage as possible (piano, guitar, drums) to jam together while the audience sings along and does the actions. Even our tiny 4 year olds can participate.

Maybe we’ll call our recital “Sharks in the Park” and make that our theme with decorations, shark popsicles and matching t-shirts (or shark fins!)

Wrap up

Baby Shark has sent a crazy energy throughout our studio! It’s given the little ones something they easily recognize and can perform for their family and our older students a reason to laugh while playing something light and fun that doesn’t require the concentration of their heavier pieces.

Add to that the extra bonus of teaching some chord theory and you’ve got a winner!

BTW…I was inspired to teach 4-chord songs at the 88 Creative Keys Summer Workshop. Will I see you there?

-Marie Lee

Interested in hearing more about teaching in groups and how to make it happen in your studio?

Make sure to invest in Marie Lee’s Group Teaching Blueprint. It’s the “Bible” for anyone ready to dive into group teaching and this “Baby Shark” code has slashed the price by 20%!

Just use this code at the check out

BABYSHARK20

Already teaching in groups?

Then you are NOT going to want to miss an innovative NEW group curriculum by Dorla Pryce Aparicio that will launch March 18th.

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Leila Viss

Creative Pianist, Piano Teacher, Organist, Blogger and Author of The iPad Piano Studio

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