Monthly Archives: February 2011

Shamrock Notes for St. Patricks Day fun

Shamrock Notes

I wish learning to read music wasn’t so hard for some students. But for many different reasons it can be a frustrating experience. Rather than get discouraged, I try to think of one more thing I can do to help out.

Seasonal activities can lighten up the process, so I have made a lot of seasonal worksheets like this to make it more fun. If you are a regular reader, you have seen my turkey, egg, ornament, heart, and now, shamrock notes.

There are more ways to use this than just a worksheet to write in note names.

  • Have the students place music alphabet cards in order on the table before starting.  This is a big help for students who are struggling. (The cards in the picture are from the Shamrock Keyboard game but you can use any set you happen to have.)
  • You can work on learning what comes before each note by starting at the top note and working backwards.
  • Play a type of bingo game where the teacher calls out note names and the student put a chip over it, using the magnetic wand and chip set.
  • Place a chip on a note and let the student run over to the piano and play it.
  • Use the bingo chips to place notes on steps and then skips.
  • Place a paper keyboard on the table and match the note with the key.
  • Students just starting piano lessons can circle notes on lines or spaces, or number the notes going up and down on the lines and spaces.

I really believe that if students have fun, they learn faster. I am amazed at all the creative ideas from teachers who email me.  Even some students write me about the music clubs they have started that use material from my website and other websites. I especially love it when you send pictures!


Filed under Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification

Steal a Heart Note Reading Game for Ledger Line Notes

Steal a Heart Game

 The purpose of this game is to reinforce note names with an emphasis on the really difficult ledger line notes like the ones below. Your older students will shudder in mock-dread when they see these little puppies!

I don’t like them, either, but the thing is, composers actually USE these notes so it comes in handy to know them!

I also included the ledger line notes in the middle of the grand staff on both the treble and bass staves, such as these.

However, the you can choose the level to suit your students, because I also made a page with the easy notes! You can print out the cards you want and select cards for different levels.

To play the game, give each student a game board and stack all the little heart cards face down in reach of everyone. Students will draw a heart card (that you are going to have to cut out; oh dear), name the card,  and place it on an empty heart on their game board. The object of the game is to cover all the hearts on the game board. There are only 12 heart spaces, so the game goes fast. If a student draws a Steal a Heart card, he may take a heart from the game board of the person on his right, but he must name the note he is stealing. If he draws a Be Mine card, he puts it over a card he has already named on his game board to “protect” it, and then draws another card.  Another player may not steal a heart that is “protected.” (It is important to draw another card to move the game along and also so he can practice naming the notes.)  If a student draws a Give my Heart card, he gives one of his cards to the player on his right, who  must name the card before he can take it. You can modify this game however you want, but that’s how we played it and everyone thought it was fun, since I gave them time to figure out the note names.

Steal a Heart Cards

You will need to print out enough little cards so that there are at least 12 to 16 note cards for each student. You will need about 1 page of the written conversation cards  for every 2 students so there will be a good balance between note cards and conversation cards. Look at the 4 page PDF before you print so that you can print out what  you need. Use card stock and laminate everything, or spray with a clear acrylic spray coating.

To be honest, I had trouble cutting the hearts out, so I added cutting lines.  I took a look at all those hard to cut out hearts and knew my hands would never make it for my large group lesson. When you start to cut a lot of these cards, you will thank me.

Have fun and thanks to all of you who are supporting this blog. I very much appreciate all of you!


Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Intermediate Students, Note Identification, Valentine's Day