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 treble and 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!