Tag Archives: Piano activities

2017 One Minute Club Cards

One Minute Club 2017


I’ve finished the 2017 One Minute Club cards. In the file there is also a chart to keep track of your students’ times, and a certificate that a lot of teachers request.

If you are not sure how to use this activity works, the idea is you show students flash cards and they “say and play” the notes on the grand staff in one minute or less.

Playing the correct key on the piano is important, because as you know, students can learn notes on flash cards and remain clueless when it comes to knowing the correct placement on the piano. This solves that problem.

However, we have to prepare students to learn how to do this. We can’t just present the cards one day and hope for the best. My students have been studying notes all year, and this is the culmination of all that work.

Also, you have to keep it light-hearted and fun. That is why this activity is better with older students who have developed fine motor skills and already have a good grasp of note names.

For students who struggle to learn note names, it’s better to wait until they are older, and then to gradually work up to this. I usually start with 2 flash cards. After they can do that, I start gradually adding more, but never so many that they are overwhelmed. They may need to wait a few years before they actually do the entire grand staff. However, I also included “Junior One Minute Club” cards if you want to reward your students who can’t manage to say and play them in a minute.

Here is a link to a video I made to show you how it works.

The cards, chart, and certificate are in the same PDF file. You will need to know how to print individual pages in a PDF. I print only the chart first to keep a record of students’ times. Later, you can print the number of cards and certificates you need.

There are 10 cards on the first page. It is formatted for “business card” perforated cardstock, but you can also cut them out. I put them in plastic business card holders and attach them to their music bags.

You might notice the design is the same orange-colored theme I used for the calendar at the beginning of the year. My students look forward to new art each year.

You can read more about how to run this activity on my blog at this link. One Minute Club


Filed under Certificates, Intermediate Students, Note Identification

Sign and Symbol Hunt — from Cecilly



This is a picture I took along the coastal highway in California where I was visiting for a few weeks. The clouds are descending down from the mountains, but you can still see a little bit of the Pacific Ocean in the right corner. What a beautiful state, and the people are so friendly! I look forward to visiting again some day.

While I was there Cecily sent me a new activity. I’ve already thought of different ways I can vary this activity, and I’m sure it will spark your imagination, too. Cecilly is really creative when it comes to thinking up new ways to make piano lessons more interesting.  She designed this as a refresher activity when students return from their summer break, as well as prepare new repertoire. I’m going to try this with all my festival pieces and see if it will help students put in expression from the very beginning. If you have a student who never notices what is on the page, try this out. I will be making some flash cards with signs and symbols, so check back for that.  

Here is the game in her own words. Thanks, Cecilly, for sending it to me.

Sign & Symbol Hunt

Materials needed: a specific piece of music you plan to prepare with a student
as part of their assignment, flashcards of all the signs & symbols present in
the score of that piece plus a few extra ones that aren’t in the score.

Set up: Place all the flash cards face up on the floor or table top in random

To play: Open the student’s book to the given piece you’ll be preparing and
introduce it by title, etc. Ask the student to take about 10 seconds to
carefully look over the music making mental notes of any signs and symbols he sees that
will help him learn the piece and play it musically. After this time, have the
student bring his book to the floor or table of flashcards and find as many of
the signs/symbols he can in the music on the flashcards. He can gather the cards
into a pile. There should be some left over because you placed extra ones.
Return to the piano with the book and cards. Then take the first card. Have
the student find this sign/symbol in the score, and then depending on the card,
help the student apply the sign/symbol at the piano. For example, if the card
is the time signature symbol for the meter of the piece, have him point along
the melodic line and count metrically. If the card is a slur sign, select a
phrase and challenge the student to play that phrase smoothly. If it’s a
dynamic sign, find where that dynamic marking is in the music and challenge the
student to play that phrase or section at that dynamic level. If it’s an 8va
higher sign, find it in the score and help the student practice making the 8va
move. So whatever the sign/symbol is, the student can “prepare” for this
element on the spot.

This will help draw the student’s attention to all the signs/symbols in the
score, refresh them in his mind AND fingers, and prepare the piece for his
assignment all in one fell swoop.




Filed under Music Vocabulary