These flashcards are a nice size for little hands. I like to print out the template sheets on regular paper at home, then take them to the local copy shop and re-print the sheets there (or email them the PDF file - nice and fast). That way, I know the ink won't run! Also, I like to use heavy card stock, and that's much easier to do at the printer's.
These used to be a big deal to cut out, involving much measuring with a ruler, and tracing of pencil lines with a straight edge. But now, after trimming the long edges off the left and right sides, I just "eyeball" each grand staff, and cut parallel to the staffs, about a staff's width away. Much faster!
When I give them to music students, I have THEM write the letter name of the note on the back in pencil, and put "R" or "L" to indicate right or left hand. We start with just a few cards -- maybe two or three! -- and add more cards week by week as the student becomes familiar with them.
Some simple ways to use them that don't take too much time from playing music:
Start with 2 - 4 cards, such as bass B and Middle C, and treble MC and D. Mix them up, then ask your student, "Top or bottom? TREBLE or BASS?" (High or low...left or right...)
Scramble them again, and tell the student to arrange them from left to right, or lowest to highest, or bottom to top.
Pick well-known cards, have the student scramble them and lay them out in any kind of order, and play the resulting "tune". You may want a double set of cards for that.
One piano teacher (Susan Paradis - see her link in my sidebar) has a "One Minute Club," complete with cool little cards like business cards (stating membership in the club) which she awards to students who can say all the notes in a minute or less. She says her students pack these cards around with pride.
There are many games you can play with these cards, especially with more than one student, where competition raises the interest level! But music note flashcards are not the answer to all your students' note-reading difficulties. They are only one more tool. I suggest making them a tiny part of their weekly assignment lesson after lesson until the notes become very familiar.
Expect that most parents will be too busy to help with the cards at home...sad but true.Don't be too hard on them -- many of us teachers are parents too!
Choose bright, bold, and pretty colors for the cards, not boring old white. Try using different colors for trebleand bass, or ledger line notes. Ask the kids to pick their own colors! It helps them "own"the flashcards.
Natalie over at MusicMattersBlog has a fun idea for custom design of your own flashcards...
Do you have a story or a question about music teaching? Share it!
A few months ago I wrote to you about my problem to play with both hands on the piano. You encouraged me not to lose heart and keep practicing. I kept up my practice and now I am comfortable with using both hands. Thanks to your kind words, I am enjoying my piano every day.
I was wondering if it was at all possible to gain permission from you to use some of the pieces of music on this website for my students performing at an Eisteddod in Australia? I have found this website most helpful to my teaching and the students seem to enjoy this music. Would you mind if they played some of these pieces in a public setting?
Hi, Dannielle, Absolutely you may use my pieces in public! Thanks for asking (but no need). Best wishes for a fun performance.
THIS SITE IS AMAZING!!... Thank you so much for your hard work getting these on the web, you have made many children very happy!!
I am a public school music teacher. May I download your scale sheets for piano?
By all means, Frank! On some of my free sheets, I have written "For Use by Private Music Teachers" down by the Copyright notice, but I really intend them to be for the use of all teachers and students alike.
AH!!!!! I am so happy to find a helpful site like this. I started to give piano lessons to one little girl from church and two girls requested voice lessons this spring. Since then, word got out and going into the fall I have 18 students. I am so excited, but I'm running out of materials that they can borrow, and I, like you hate telling the parents to buy more books. Because I have such a diverse group of students I spend SO much time making supplemental material and I feel like I have to pick through other websites, to only find one or two useful things. I am so thankful for the wealth of supplement that you have offered here! And it's all SO user friendly!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
I love your site! It has been an incredible resource for me as a Music teacher. I love your ideas and the music you share...
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you....I have a lot of books on graded pieces but not a lot of beginner pieces. I use material I have written myself together with books I encourage my parents to buy... but sometimes parents just can't afford a book- and as a teacher you sometimes do find your self searching for material....Thank you thank you thank you once again!
Great Music Resources
Leia'sLessons (a blog)
Martha Beth's Piano Site
Piano Adventures Forum
Piano Music for Boys
Susan Paradis Teacher Resources
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