Tag Archives: Music Printables

Make Your Own Big Magnetic Staff Board

Magnetic-Staff-Board

Magnetic Board Symbols-1

I’ve always wanted one of those big magnetic white boards  with a  music staff. They are expensive, however, so for years I’ve been planning on making my own. Recently my daughter moved and gave me an almost brand new 3’x 2′ magnetic board!

I’ve been using the magnetic board at every lesson to teach how to place sharps and flats on the staff  in order to construct key signatures.  All of my students have said it is so much easier to learn them this way. It’s also a great way to show beginners stem direction, and even learn note names. It is a lot faster and more fun than using a worksheet, too. This has been so helpful in my studio that I can’t imagine why I waited so long to actually make it!

I thought about using a marker to draw the staff lines on my board, but I was afraid I would mess it up.  Instead I decided to use 1/4″ art tape, also called drafting tape or artist tape. [Disclosure: This link to my Amazon store is just to show you art tape, and the current price is less than what I paid for mine at a craft store. Please buy it where you find the best price.] I think wider tape looks too big for the size of my notes. I wanted my lines to be about the size of a line I would draw on the board, if I had steady hands!

Magnetic white boards are a lot more expensive than the non-magnetic variety. The most expensive places are office supply stores. Sometimes Amazon has great buys, but be sure to buy the magnetic variety if you mail order one. If it doesn’t specifically say it is magnetic, it is not. Here are some suggestions to get one at the best price:

  • Use a 40% coupon at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.
  • Check out Sam’s or Cosco.
  • Buy a giant size oil changing pan at Walmart and spray paint it white. This is the real do-it-yourself method, because the big pans are under $15.00. (Make sure it is magnetic.)

It is very important to me that the symbols are “see through” just like notes on a page. So BEFORE I laminated anything, I cut out the inside white part of each symbol. Just remember, cut it out before you laminate!

 Material

  • Ready made magnetic white board about 3′ x 2″
  • Or a large metal oil pan and white spray paint, if you make your own board
  • 1/4″ black art tape
  • Heavy Paper or card stock
  • Scissors
  • Small scissors and/or craft knife
  • Template for lines
  • Thermal laminator and lamination pouches (film)
  • Magnetic tape
  • Tiny bit of glue
  • Sharpie for touch ups
  • Ruler

Instructions

Print the symbol pages with black ink and cut out each symbol. Cut out the inside of each symbol with small scissors so that there is no white showing. I cut a slit with a craft knife before I cut the inside but that is optional. Use a black sharpie along the edges if needed to cover up little bits of white.

Use your whole note as a measure to determine the size of your staff.  My staff lines are 1 1/2″ from the top of the tape line to the top of the next tape line, but you should measure your printed notes and make the lines to fit.  With a ruler make a template to show the placement of the tape.

Line up the template where you want to put the lines for the staff.  Cut tape the length of your white board and place 5 lines horizontally on the board.  In this photo, you can see I discovered the staff is too close to the edge for high ledger lines notes, so I plan to move it down. Originally I was going to make a grand staff. Staff_Whiteboard

Place the cut symbols and notes into lamination pouches. Leave enough room around each symbol so that they can be cut in rectangles and squares for ease in handling.

Staff_Whiteboard2

The Bass Clef

The dots on the bass clef should be cut out separately. Place the cut out bass clef (without the dots) inside the laminating pouch and lay it over your template. Open the pouch. Put a little bit of glue on a toothpick to glue the dots in the correct place on the laminating pouch.  The dots will need to be centered on each side of the bass F line. The glue will hold the dots in place. Then close the laminating pouch and run it through the laminator. This worked great for me and was not as hard as it sounds. Now the dots are “floating” beside the clef. My students keep asking me how I did it!

BassClef

Cut small pieces of magnetic tape and place it on the back of each symbol. Well, it wouldn’t be a Magnetic Board without magnets! :) Trim the tape as needed to fit the symbol. Every symbol needs at least 2 pieces of magnetic tape and the bigger symbols need more.

The free printable contains:

  • 1 Treble Clef
  • 1 Bass Clef
  • 8 Whole Notes
  • 7 Flats
  • 7 Sharps
  • 2 Naturals 
  • 2 Double Sharps

To conclude, it was not hard to make my magnetic staff board and symbols. In fact it was a lot easier than writing this post which took me about a week! I find it hard to write directions, so please leave a comment if you have a question about the instructions or even a suggestion! If you have made a magnetic board with an oil pan, give us some tips! I’m not sure how many do-it-yourselfers are out there, so let me know if you would like me to post some more big symbols such as time signatures, bar lines, and rhythm notes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Teaching Aids, Theory, Uncategorized

Pre-Reading Music for Young Beginners Bundle

 

Beginners Music

Pre-reading Piano Set 1

Summer is winding down, school is starting back, and for piano teachers that often means new piano students. I remember when I was a classroom music specialist.  I had a guitar and students would wildly raise their hands to request their favorite songs and bob up and down with excitement. Children love music. So when piano students sit on my bench, I try for that same kind of enthusiasm. But piano is a lot harder for children, no doubt about it. What can I do to make them as enthused about piano lessons as they were when I pulled out my guitar for a sing-along? And can I share my ideas with other teachers around the globe? That is why I started this blog.

If you’re looking for some pre-reading music to use with your beginners, here are some old favorites of mine. They were originally made in landscape orientation, which allowed me to make the score larger. I’ve updated them, because parents kept telling me how hard it was to play sideways pages in a binder. I agree! So I am gradually revising all my pre-reading pieces from landscape (sideways) to portrait view. It takes a lot longer than you may think, which is why it is a gradual project. It is almost like starting over because I have to resize everything before I move it around.  But it is so much easier to use in a binder that it’s really worth it for my students. And in the spirit of sharing, I’m offering these to you, too.

If you want to see the landscape versions, go here to my old site, scroll down, and click the page numbers at the very bottom.

These pieces can be used at the first lesson, depending on age and ability,  and are appropriate for ages 4 to 7. All of them are on the black keys, which means students do not have to know the names of the keys. Only fingers 2, 3, and 4 are used. The two easiest ones are What the Robin Said to the Worm and What the Worm Said to the Robin.

The five pieces in this set are:

  • Red Light, Green Light – color coded to show which hand to use.
  • What the Robin Said to the Worm – No notes on this one, only finger numbers.
  • What the Worm Said to the Robin – This is the partner to the previous piece, using two fingers.
  • Hot Cross Buns – 2 pages, one for each hand on the black keys.

If you have some pre-reading favorite of mine that you would like me to re-do in portrait,  post the name of the piece in the comment section here, and I’ll put them at the top of my list!

Please follow my terms of use. I own the copyright. You may print these for private piano teaching or personal use. They may not be sold or redistributed by any means, including file sharing or posting on the internet. 

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Filed under Pre-reading, Preschool Music Resources

Grand Staff Binder Covers and Using Binders in Music Lessons

Covers for Student Music Binders

 Binder Covers

The front and back covers of binders are valuable real estate for learning. I noticed when I started incorporating theory information on the binder cover, they learned it easier because they see it all the time. Well, that is, if they practice they see it all the time! :)

It is well worth the few extra dollars to buy your students the kind of binder that works the best in your lessons. In my studio, the cost of the binder is deducted from their book and activity fee. However, some teachers include the price in either a registration fee or build it into the tuition fee.

I use one inch binders, and I buy the more expensive  “Clear Cover Heavy Duty” binders made by Avery. (I’m including a link to Amazon for those of you who can’t get to a store.) These are often a lot more expensive, but you can get them at the big box stores in the Back to School section for a few dollars this time of year. The thing I really like about this particular binder is the “one touch” open and close. It easily opens with one hand and I do not need to take the binder off the music rack to open it.

I print my assignment sheets on both sides, and I punch holes in both sides of the page. Then all I have to do is turn the page over to reuse it. All that page hole-punching is a lot easier since I bought an electric hole puncher  on Amazon. I’ve had it now for 3 or 4 years and it’s still going strong. It punches about 15 pages at a time. My advice is to keep it cleaned out and if your paper is thicker, such as card stock or 24 pound, put in less than recommended. My assignment page is a free download. The early childhood one is here.

The binder covers you see today match the design I posted two weeks ago. I have some students who are too young for key signature charts, so I use the grand staff binder cover instead.

Included in today’s PDF printable are:

  • A front cover with the notes of the grand staff labeled for students who are too young for a key signature chart.
  • A black and white version of the same staff.
  • The grand staff in landscape view with the notes labeled.
  • The grand staff in landscape without the note names so students can write them in.
  • The grand staff in landscape in black and white.

The version of the landscape grand staff  is similar to the one I posted last year, but it uses less ink. I laminated it and made a poster out of it but it also makes a nice binder cover. The unlabeled one is great to put inside a clear sheet protector to practice writing note names with a dry or wet erase marker. It also works on an iPad. If you don’t know how to print one page from a multi-page PDF, please see my FAQ.

When I decided to switch over to using binders, I was a little worried it would be too cumbersome and a lot of trouble. Now I have it down to a science and it works great. Teachers have a place to add Picture Scales, (legal) music downloads, and theory sheets. The pocket on the front makes a great place to store sheet music. Many teachers add a small yearly charge for the cost of ink and paper.

[Disclosure: If you buy something from my link to Amazon, I make a few cents to support the expenses of maintaining this website, so thank you for your support.  However, I encourage you to check out prices to find the best buys in your area. I absolutely do not link to something unless I have it myself and I think it is a good price.]

 

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Filed under Music Printables, Teaching Aids, Teaching Business

Composer Memory Game

Composer Memory Game

Composer Memory Game

Would you like your students to learn a little bit about famous composers, but you don’t have a lot of lesson time? I’ve made a set of composers you can cut out and glue on the inside of a milk caps. I used card stock and Elmer’s ‘Extreme School Glue Stick’.

If you don’t have a set of caps available, ask your piano parents to collect them for you. My students really enjoyed bringing the caps to me. I have enough now to last as long as I teach piano!

If you don’t have caps, the printable is made with a cutting grid, so you can cut out the composers as small cards. However, my students really liked the milk caps and thought they were a lot of fun, so I encourage you to make them that way.

I had a hard time deciding which composers to include. If I’ve left off your favorite classical composer, leave a comment and when I get enough suggestions, I’ll make a second set!  Stick to the old composers because the portraits of modern composers are protected by copyright, although I can use just their name and not a picture.

An important part of the game is for students to say the composer’s name as they turn over the cap to help them learn the correct pronunciation. After a while, they will be saying Tchaikovsky and Chopin like a pro!

This printable is for private use only. You are welcome to print this and use it with your students. Please read the first page and follow the terms of use included in the PDF.

Objective

  • To become familiar with the names of the great classical composers.
  • To learn how to pronounce their names.
  • To reinforce visual recognition skills.

 Ages

  • All ages of students.

 Number of Players

  • Two or more players. The teacher can play with a student, or students can play in groups.

Materials

  • Sixteen plastic beverage caps (lids) the size of milk jugs.
  • The PDF printable included in this post.
  • Scissors and glue stick to construct the playing pieces.
  • If caps are not available, the cards can be cut out and used.

Directions

  • Print and cut out the pictures of the composers, cutting them in small circles that fit the inside of the lids.
  • Glue the composer pictures on the inside of the plastic caps.
  • Place the caps on a table, face down, with four rows and four columns and the composer face not visible.
  • Players take turns selecting two caps and turning them to the picture side to see if they match.
  • Students say the names of the composers as they turn the caps.
  • If the two caps are the same, the player gets to keep them. If not, they return the caps to the same spot, face down again.
  • Play continues until all the caps are matched.

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas