Category Archives: Note Identification

Autumn Acorns A C E



Autumn Acorn ACE

The popular composer and piano pedagogy teacher Elizabeth Gutierrez suggested in her Piano Camp for Piano Teachers  workshop a few years ago that learning the notes A C E on the staff is one of the easier ways for beginners to learn note names. So I don’t want to take credit for this idea, although it is a good one! Instead of having to remember a lot of acronyms and guide notes, students just learn where ACE is located on the grand staff. As a bonus, they learn skips, too, and the student can play the ACE position on the piano as they learn the notes. After learning A C E, they can branch off and learn the notes above and below. Line notes are hard, but it is easier if you always know where A C and E are!

I just want to mention that in my experience, no matter how well a student knows the names of notes, that does not ensure he or she will be a good sight reader. I think we all have students who get A’s on theory tests and are very zippy with flash cards, but not so good sight reading music at the piano bench.  So many people don’t seem to realize that the two are very different skills that use different part of the brain. And everyone’s brain is wired differently. A student does not have to be a good sight reader to be a good musician, although it is a wonderful skill.

If learning the names of notes confidently doesn’t always mean the student is going to be able to read music well at the piano, why bother? Here are some reasons, and you probably have some you can add to the list!

  • It gives students confidence that they are musicians.
  • It helps students jump around to different notes on the piano.
  • Even if students can’t sight read that well, they can work through the music in their own comfort zone at home.
  • They can learn music theory, which is rather impossible if you don’t know what the notes are!
  • They can compose and write their music on staff paper.


Filed under Note Identification, Steps and Skips, Worksheets

Animal Alphabet Songs


7 Alphabet Animal Songs

I tried to make it easy for everyone by creating one PDF document for all 7 of these songs. But for some reason, no matter how I tried, the links were not correct. So I am starting all over with new links. If this doesn’t work, I will have to come up with another cunning plan. :)

You have permission to use these with your students. They may not be sold, the files may not be shared, and they may not be posted on other websites. You are welcome to share a link back to this page. Hot linking the PDF is not allowed. The music, lyrics, and art are my original creations.

When I first published these songs in 2013, each one was a separate blog post. I discussed the creative process in writing them and how very, very difficult it is writing a song with just one or two notes. That is why I composed duets for each one.  They make the music a lot more interesting for student and teacher.

I think students do better at reading in the long run if they learn from the very beginning that middle C is not always going to be a thumb. I know not everyone agrees with this, so please feel free to put whatever finger numbers suit your fancy. In some of the songs, I left the fingering off so that you can do just that.

These pieces are supposed to be like nursery rhymes. The lyrics help with the rhythm and make the songs more fun. Please encourage your students to sing or at least chant along!

Below are links (hopefully!) t0 the original blog posts for each individual song. I had so much fun writing these songs and using them with my youngest students. That is why I enjoy sharing them with you. Do your students have a favorite? I would love to know which one! Even better, I would love to see a video of your student singing and playing!

Alligator, Alligator, All You Play is A

B is for the Baseball Bear

Pat the Cat’s Patting Song

E is for Elephant

The Doughnut Mystery: It’s D Day

Frogs Wearing Flip Flops

G Is For Giraffe







Filed under Elementary Music, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources

Animal Alphabet Memory Match

Animal Alphabet Memory Match GameAnimal Alphabet Memory Match

My students love memory games. Maybe it is because I have such a bad memory I never win!

I made this game for a student who is learning the notes on the staff around middle C. You might notice the illustrations are the same I’ve used in a lot of beginning activities. [A few years ago I wrote a set of short songs for each of these animals and the links are at the end of this post.]


  • The object of the game is to match the alphabet letter to the correct note on the staff.
  • Open the PDF in the latest version of Adobe Reader.
  • Print the first page on card stock.
  • Re-insert the first page into your computer and print on the back. (You might need to practice how to print on the back using scrap paper.) There is a tutorial in my FAQ page about how to print on the back of PDF documents.
  • Laminate the cards for durability. Cut them along the dotted lines.
  • Place the cards face down in a 4 x 4 grid as shown above.
  • The first player turns over 2 cards. If they match he keeps them and takes another turn. If not, it is the second player’s turn.
  • The second person continues in the same way.
  •  The player with the most cards wins.


  • To identify the names of notes located around middle C.
  • To improve visual memory skills.


  • Young beginners through ages 7 or 8.

Grid to Help Young Children Play Memory Games

Young students often have trouble playing memory games because they don’t realize after they look at a card they have to put it back in the exact same space. I use this grid, glued to the file folder that holds the cards, to help them put it back in the correct space.

Memory Game Grid

Animal Alphabet Songs Teaching Beginning Notes

A is for Alligator

B is for Bears Playing Baseball

Pat the Cat

Dogs Eating Doughnuts  (The Doughnut Mystery)

E is for Elephant

Frogs Wearing Flip Flops

G is for Giraffe


Don’t forget the cards that match notes using clothes pins. These are a fun manipulative for preschool children.



Filed under Games, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources

Personalize Your Binder Covers: An Editable PDF

Editable Binder CoverEditable Binder Cover

Today I am posting a binder cover that you can personalize by typing directly on the PDF before you print it. It’s kind of clunky, but I’m sharing it anyway because it can be a real time saver. The editing part is kind of a hidden feature that you don’t have to use.


  • Open the PDF in the latest version of Adobe Reader. (This is the same free program you probably use to print all of my material.)
  • There are two text fields. (See the arrows above where I wrote Zachary and Piano Binder. You do not have to use my wording.)
  • I formatted the text fields to be centered so you will be starting in the center of each field.
  • Select “Highlight Existing Fields.” This will show you where to type.
  • You should see a large blinking cursor.
  • Type any text you desire, but it has to fit in the field. Adjust your wording to fit because to my knowledge you cannot adjust the size.
  • If you have trouble seeing the blinking cursor, using the graphic above as a guide, click in the middle of where I typed.
  • If you can’t get it to work use the method I mentioned in my last post.

Adobe Reader does not let you change fonts, size, and color to the best of my knowledge. Adobe designed the program to be used for filling out forms, not for designs! Maybe there is a way I don’t know about!

This makes a nice binder front or back for a new student. It matches the calendar I posted last week.

If you like editable PDF’s, let me know and I can make some more in the future.


Filed under Music Printables, Note Identification, Teaching Aids