Mommy Made Me Mash My Candy Bars

Pentascales and Scales

Click here to download Mommy Made Me Mash PDF

My students rarely play pentascales. Sometimes they stare at me blankly when I ask them to do so. That’s because I rarely call them pentascales. I have nothing against the name — it’s just that years ago I borrowed the words we sang in chorus as a vocal warmup, modified them slightly, and turned them into a piano warmup. If you ever sang in choruses, you may have come across the warmup “Mommy Made Me Mash My M&M’s; I cried”. My students learn to play (and sing!) that ditty early in their piano studies (line 1 of this complete version). They learn to transpose it, how to make triads and arpeggios based upon those shapes, all the things you probably do as well.

But at some point I realized I wanted a version that would give my students the relative minor, the parallel minor, and the complete major scale. This is what I came up with.

I teach this song entirely by rote, and I don’t teach it all at once. Rather, students begin with line one. We play and sing. We transpose it to a few different keys. Eventually we add line two, and if the student is ready, we talk about how each major scale has a minor scale “cousin”. If they’re not ready for that explanation, I don’t worry about it, they just learn how to play the longer version (lines 1 and 2) in a few keys, and they have to figure out where to move their hand to make line two “sound right”. Eventually we add the parallel minor (line 3); finally, the student is ready to play the entire song!

You can use this in many different ways — learn one line at a time, transpose, play hands separate or hands together, finish with arpeggios and/or cadences… I’ve just found that for the very young students, playing and singing “Mommy Made Me Mash My Candy Bars” is much more fun than playing pentascales and scales!

Click here to download Mommy Made Me Mash PDF

Would you like to be notified by email when I add new content? Put your first name and the words “Please add me to your email list” in the comment box below, press that “submit” button, and I’ll add your name.

Share this with your friends! Or enemies!