Monthly Archives: October 2010

It’s October

It’s October

I wrote this  piece  for a new student because  I wanted something special to play at her second lesson. She was delighted with it.  

If you’ve never seen piano material like this before, this is a pre-reading piece that can be used at the first or second lesson. The student plays on the group of three black keys, moving down toward the bass.  If you need more help, check out some of the newer piano methods at your local music store. I use My First Piano Adventures for pre-school and first grade children,  and Book A of that series contains a lot of pre-reading material.

No wonder students get confused when learning to play the piano. The numbers and words go one way (right), while the left  hand moves down the keys the other way.  In a few weeks it is normal for most students, but others have get confused.  It is something to think about when we try to understand why some children have so much trouble learning to read music. Reading music presents so many challenges for young children! 

If you want some more music for the first lesson when students have not yet learned quarter notes, I have posted a few.  From my website you can download:

What the Robin Said to the Worm,

What the Worm Said to the Robin

 Fourth of July, and 

 Canada Day.

In addition, there is a lot of pre-reading music on my website using quarter, half, and whole notes. The ones above use only finger numbers.


Filed under Halloween, Pre-reading, Preschool Music Resources

Note Swap Race

Cecilly has come up with another fly swatter game called Note Swat Race. She sent me the directions and I set up the picture above using my own cards.


Of course you don’t have to use my Fly Flash Cards, but  students like them. The cards pictured above  might have notes too small for beginning students,  so you can use these Large Fly Flash Cards for your younger students. Or just use any flash cards you have on hand. 

 I have a beginning student, and Cecilly has given me an idea to play this game using my Keyboard Fly Flash Cards. When I made these I was very tired of my old fly, so I drew another one. The purple hair was just for fun!


Please note that Cecilly only used 5 cards with her student when she played this, so use as many cards as you think are right for your student. You might want to start with 2 or 3 depending on the ability of your student. The great thing about Cecilly’s games is that the teacher can modify them in many ways.

Here are the directions in Cecilly’s own words. Thanks, Cecilly for sending this!

Note Swat Race

 Materials: 2 fly swatters, note flashcards (with notes on the staff) representing whichever notes you want to reinforce, and letter cards (2 per letter) for each note card. Timer if desired.

 Set up: Lay out the note cards in a semi-circle from lowest note to highest note on the floor. Give student the flyswatters (1 for each hand) and have him sit on his knees in the center of the semi-circle facing the middle point. You, the teacher sit opposite student on the outside of the semi-circle with the deck of letter cards (shuffled and face down).

 To Play: At “Go” take the first letter card from the deck and hold it up to show the student. The student then, as quickly as possible, swats the corresponding note. It can be in either clef, but the student can swat the bass clef notes with the LH flyswatter, and the treble with the RH swatter. After each correct swat, immediately show the next card. (I just tossed the letter cards on the floor in front of me once the note was slapped). The idea is to go as fast as possible till all cards have been swatted. Repeat if desired. Add more challenge by limiting the time with a timer.

 Objective: For my student, I wanted her to have to continually return to each note, thinking its name from the letter card. What was interesting is that in the first round, there were several sequences forcing her to go back and forth between the same few notes. She was able to associate the letters and notes more quickly after this sequence. Also, a few letters were repeated back to back, again allowing for immediate reinforcement of the note associations. For my student, we only had 5 notes on the floor, but as new notes are introduced in her book, we’ll repeat the game incorporating the new notes.


Filed under Cecilly's Games, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources

Pumpkin Notes

Pumpkin Notes 

This summer I made some material to use for holidays and this is one of them. I learned a few new techniques in Photoshop and I wanted to try them out, so I drew a new pumpkin and you can see the results. I hope that you can use this all through October and November. Laminate it and students can write the note names on the pumpkins over and over again.

You can also use M&M’s or any candy to put on the notes. We used autumn colors.  This is really a lot more fun at a group lesson with a large bag of M&M’s. At the end, students can gobble them up.

My students also like to use the magnetic notes and wand that I’ve mentioned in the past.  

Remember to set your printer to landscape mode.

I have some things coming up. Cecilly sent me a new game, and I have some more pre-reading cards I’m going to post,  as well as a new Bingo game. THANK  YOU to everyone who has donated or taken the time to email!


Filed under Group lesson ideas, Halloween, Note Identification, Theory