Learn to play M-O-T-H-E-R and Bring Your Mom to Tears this Mother’s Day

Leila Viss
Leila Viss

Leave it to JoyTunes to add the tune “M-O-T-H-E-R” to the already jam-packed Piano Maestro library just in time for Mother’s Day. Although I’m a mom and yes, have a mother myself, I’ve never heard this charming song composed by Theodore Morse back in 1915. The sentimental lyrics, written by Howard Johnson, tug at the heart strings.

I’ve been around the world, you bet, but never went to school

Hard knocks are all I seem to get, perhaps I’ve been a fool;

But still, some educated folks, supposed to be so swell,

Would fail if they were called upon a simple word to spell.

Now if you’d like to put me to the test,

There’s one dear name that I can spell the best!

“M” is for the million things she gave me

“O” means only that she’s growing old

“T” is for the tears she shed to save me

“H” is for her heart of purest gold

“E” is for her eyes with love-light shining

“R” means right and right she’ll always be

Put them all together they spell MOTHER,

a word that means the world to me. 

When I was but a baby, long before I learned to walk,

While lying in my cradle, I would try my best to talk;

It wasn’t long before I spoke and all the neighbors heard,

My folks were very proud of me for “Mother” was the word.

Although I’ll never lay a claim to fame,

I’m satisfied that I can spell the name:

“M” is for the mercy she possesses

“O” means that I owe her all I own

“T” is for her tender, sweet caresses

“H” is for her hands that made a home

“E” means ev’rything she’s done to help me

“R” means real and regular, you see

Put them all together they spell MOTHER,

a word that means the world to me. 

Three Levels of “M-O-T-H-E-R” in Piano Maestro

Reading these sweet words should compel you to jump on that piano bench right now and learn “M-O-T-H-E-R” just in time for Mother’s Day! To cater to the various playing abilities of Piano Maestro fans, there are three different levels included in the library. Once you earn three gold stars on the simplified level you might enjoy the more sophisticated arrangements. These are a little trickier so you may want to use Piano Maestro’s LEARN mode which conveniently divides the tune into achievable goals.

Follow these tips as you move through the well-designed LEARN mode challenges. First, listen to the tune to help cement the melody in your mind’s ear. Next, remember that 6/8 time means there are 6 beats in each measure and an 8th note is equal to one beat. This meter creates a lovely lilt if you count with two strong beats per measure, slightly accenting beats 1 and 4.

Going Further with the Simplified Arrangement

If you master the “simplified” arrangement and aren’t ready to move to the other levels, here’s a suggestion for adding a left-hand accompaniment that will help you develop your playing-by-ear skills.

Load the tune in Piano Maestro but don’t play the melody. Warning: the Maestro on the screen will become extremely distraught and you won’t earn three gold stars! Just listen to the harmony of the backing track, particularly the lower notes called the bass line. You’ll notice that this line is made up of half notes. After listening to the line a couple of times, try playing along.

Here are a couple of hints to get you started

  • Begin with the left hand, 5th finger or pinky on the C below middle C.
  • This C is the lowest note that is used.
  • The bass line goes as high as the A, six up from the beginning C.
  • Only one black key (F#) is used.
  • All the bass line pitches are half notes and played on beats 1 and 3.
  • There are two pitches in each measure as shown in the illustration below.

Does your bass line match up with what I heard?

Check out the chart below.


ID  G I C  G I

Melody Begins

IC   E  IF  G IG   F  IC  C IF   F# IG  A  ID  F# IG  G I

IC   E  IF  G IG  F   IC  C IF   F# IG  A  ID  G   IE  A  I

ID   G IC  C  I

If playing hands together is too difficult with Piano Maestro, pull down the assist screen and move the metronome speed to 50%.  If need be, just stick to one hand and ask a friend, your piano teacher or better yet, your mom to play the melody while you play the bass line.

In addition to M-O-T-H-E-R, what song will you play your mom this Mothers Day?

Happy Mother’s Day!