One Minute Club 2011

It’s 2011 and that means it’s time to update the One Minute Club cards.  I make these cards for my elementary age students as an incentive to “say and play” all the notes on the grand staff in one minute or less.

 I am going to put the cards in a clear plastic sleeve badge holder and attach it to their music bags.

Every year I get emails about these cards from new teachers, so the rest of this post will try to answer them.

With what age group do you use these cards?

They are made for elementary age children.  In my studio, it usually takes several years of lessons before a student can do this in less than one minute. Only a few students in grades 2-3  can do it, and I don’t even try it with younger students. They do not have the coordination. Older students are more interested in the gift card I give to the overall fastest student.

 I gave up on this because my students don’t like flash cards.  Do you have any suggestions?

Well, make sure they are old enough and have the potential to be successful. Everyone in your studio does not have to participate. However, if  you know they are capable you might have to have a “talk.”  Sometimes I tell a reluctant student that they don’t have to win or even be able to do it in a minute. But parents are paying a lot for lessons and the least they expect is for students to learn notes and where they are located on the piano.  I have noticed that the ones who need it the most are the most reluctant. That’s natural, because kids like to do things they are good at.  Once they start getting faster it becomes so much more fun.

Why do they have to play the note as well as say the note name? Isn’t it enough to know the name of the note? 

Piano students need to know where to quickly move their hands when they see a note that is not in a five-finger position. The faster they can do this, the better they are at sight-reading. You will see sight-reading improve as well as the student’s self-confidence when they can find notes quickly.  

How much time do you spend on this at a lesson?
I don’t think a lot of time should be spent on this at a lesson. Just a couple of minutes each week can reap great rewards, if the student is prepared in the first place. If it is taking over 2 minutes, you probably need to prepare them better before you start. Often the problem is simply developmental. Students need to learn gradually and in a child-centered manner. That takes time and patience on the teacher’s part. Before you start flash cards, use a lot of activities and games to learn the note names. There are many on my website and other sites in the links on this blog. Don’t let this turn into drudgery!

How did you make these cards? Where do you get your clip art? 

I made these cards in Adobe Photoshop and I did not use any clip art. Since I am not a professional, it took forever to make them!

These cards are not  centered correctly when I print them out on my blank business cards. 

I made them for pre-perforated 2″ x 3.5″ business cards, 10 to a page. When you print the PDF file, be sure the setting for page scaling is set to “none.”   


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Filed under Note Identification, Teaching Business

8 Responses to One Minute Club 2011

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Susan,
    I love your resources!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!
    I was wondering if you could post up some 2012 One Minute Club cards so I can get them ready for next year =)
    Thank you!
    Casey (please let me know when they’re available if possible – much appreciated!!)

    • susanparadis

      Thanks for asking about the 2012 One Minute Club cards. I am going to update them soon, and my students are anxiously awaiting what they are going to look like this year. I probably won’t get them posted until sometime in January. Subscribe for email updates and you will know when they are posted. It is easy to unsubscribe and it is all private. You will not get spam and your email address will not be given to anyone.

  2. Emily

    To inspire my students to practice and to do flashcards, I set up a rewards system. Each group of 5 flashcards counts as one checkmark. When they get 20 checkmarks, they get to choose a prize from the goody bag. I created a 20X10 grid for the checkmarks, and when they finish the whole box, they get a little certificate. For practicing, I put five lines at the top of the songs they are working on so they can write in what days they practice. Each day counts for one sticker, and when they fill up a box of 30 stickers, they get to choose a prize from the goody bag as well. Each of my students get a worksheet to themselves with their name at the top so it’s easy to track.

    For goody bag prizes, oriental trading has great deals on little toys and games, as does Party City.

  3. Elizabeth

    Thanks so much!

  4. SandraCoryell

    Hi Susan,
    I found the download PDF version of your Valentine piece. My gosh, what a help this site will be for me. I’d used a couple of your pieces several years ago, but I hadn’t remembered where I found the pieces. I found many things tonight that I’ll be using this spring. Thank you so much for all the holiday things you’ve come up with. I signed up for your notices to be sent to me regularly.
    Thanks again.
    Sandra Coryell

  5. Joyce Unger

    I have used the “One Minnute” Cards from Jane Bastien’s Flash Cards and her motivational packet, which has Scale charts and Sight Reading features in it also, for many years. The One Minute Cards have a place for the students picture as well as their time to complete. Even transfer HS students like it. The Scale chart is attractive also taking the student around the world as they complete scales. They like making it a race to see who gets around the world first!

    • susanparadis

      Yes, you’re right. She has wonderful motivational material as well as great music, all professional published by Kjos. Her flash cards are good, too, just the right size and quite affordable. In particular, my students have always loved her Mini Sonatinas.

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