Using these rhythm cut-outs is a great hands-on way to teach rhythm. If students are confused about rhythm values, it could be that verbal explanations didn’t work. How many times have we thought students understood a concept only to discover later that they were really confused but didn’t want to tell you? I remember when I was a young piano student just nodding my head in agreement when I really had no idea what my teacher was talking about. I started parroting back her definition of time signatures because I was a good at memorizing. But I didn’t understand what I was saying and I didn’t want to admit I didn’t get it. I liked her and I wanted to make her happy!
One of the first and most important rhythm concepts students have understand is that a note with a dot is equal to three of the of the next shorter note. That is the key to understanding dotted half notes and dotted quarters. Theses rhythm shapes are great for that because they are proportional in size; so two eighths are the same size as one quarter.
Print this page on card stock and glue it to a sheet of thin craft foam before you cut them out. If you are crafty, even better is to glue the page to foam board (also called tag board), which will make them easier for students to move around but a lot hard to cut out!
I made this printable years ago, but today’s post is updated to make the notes easier to read. Plus, I fixed a note that was orientated wrong. So if you have the old file, you can replace it with this one.
Another way to explain fractions is to use my Rhythm Pizza printable. It is a very helpful first step to teaching rhythm values. Then to teach counting dotted notes, use this helpful visual, Rhythm in the Grid.
I know you can come up with many ideas for students to learn with these!
Lets Play Ball Worksheets
I made the Let’s Play Ball worksheet a few years ago for a student who loved baseball. The original one I posted was for piano keys only, and while I actually tried to make a staff version at the same time, I found it almost finished, abandoned and forgotten in my computer files. I finished it up because I have a student who just tried out and made a new baseball team and I thought he would enjoy this way of reinforcing note names. The instructions are to draw lines to connect the notes or keys to the alphabet letters.
These worksheets use some ink, which is why I like to use my iPad for handout like this. They both work really well on an iPad because all the student has to do is draw lines to connect the alphabet letter to the note on the staff or the piano key. Another ink saver is to make one copy and put it in a sheet protector and then use dry or wet eraser markers. I like the sheet protector idea because they are easy to store in binder.
I want to mention to my long-time followers that I have been trying to get all my material listed in a way to make it easier to find.
If you select the Free tab at the top a new page will open. Click on Newer Free Resources and scroll down to select the type of items you want.
I have finished moving all my old games to the “Game” page. There might be some floating around somewhere that I’m trying to find and add. Most of the holiday pages, except for holiday sheet music, is finished so you should be able to see almost all of the Valentine and St. Patrick’s day material.
Now I’m working on the “Worksheet” page and I think it will take me a long time. Eventually I hope to get all the music and teaching aids from the old site moved over. If you find a broken link, please let me know so I can fix it.
When a site has as much material as this one, it can be hard to find things. What I do is a Google search such as: Susan Paradis fly flash cards. Google seems to do a better job than the search engine on my blog! I also have a Pinterest page where there are boards for all my material.
Shamrock Keyboard Race
This is a game I made up to learn piano keys. I got the idea from my friend Cecilly who told me about her similar game to learn sharps and flats. I changed it around for learning piano keys, made some cards, and it kind of took on a life of its own! It has become a staple for piano teachers all around the world.
Keyboard Race is played on the piano keys. It’s fast and it works! As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I’ve made a lot of different variations for each season and even baseball cards! I’ve even made cards with an H instead of a B for German teachers. Check out the links at the bottom of this page.
Since these cards are not particularly cutesy, they are good for older beginners.
- To quickly identify piano keys
- To identify middle C
- Optional: To identify B flat and F sharp
- Piano keyboard
- Keyboard Race Cards, one color for each player
- Two tokens • Collectable erasers will not damage your keyboard and I have an extensive collection of cute erasers.
- This is a two-player game, usually the teacher and student.
- The teacher sits on the right side and the students sits on the left side of the piano bench, at each end of the piano.
- Each player has one set of cards and one token, and places the their cards on the piano book rack. Shuffle the cards well.
- The first player turns a card and moves his token to that piano key, the closest to his end of the piano. The second player does the same.
- Play continues with each player drawing a card and moving his token toward the middle of the keyboard.
- The game is over when one player passes the middle of the keyboard. I like to use middle C with my young students.
- Note: The player on the right side (treble end) usually loses, so that’s where I sit. Games are more fun for students if they win.
Why I like this game
- My students love it and want to play it over and over.
- It is the fastest and most fun way to learn keyboard names.
Here are links to the game using different cards:
Baseball Keyboard Race
Pumpkin or Leaves Keyboard Race
Snowflake Keyboard Race
Reindeer and Elves Keyboard Race
German Shamrock Keyboard Race
If any of these links don’t work in the future, use the search engine on the right. A Google search will produce results, also.
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