Monday Mailbag – Teaching Note Recognition

I need some new ideas for the same old problem…teaching note recognition. I am so tired of students asking, ” is it ‘every good boy does fine’ or ‘good boys deserve fudge always’? What works for you?

I have several Monday Mailbag questions dealing with teaching note recognition in my inbox right now, so I thought it would be a good topic to hit before we all start back up for the fall. Here are some of my favorite resources:

Notes in the Fast Lane – these wonderful worksheets by Susan Paradis have become a staple in my studio. If you haven’t used them yet, do yourself and your students a favor and print off the whole set, make several copies, stick them in sheet protectors, and start using them!

5 for Fun! – this booklet that I put together has a section of games devoted to note identification. I use these all the time in my studio to make the process more fun for my students, especially those who really struggle in this area.

Across the C’s – this unique approach to reading notes in different octaves and familiarizing the student with intervallic reading has done wonders for some of my students. It’s an easy concept to grasp, and even the young ones feel such a sense of accomplishment in being able to play notes all over the keyboard.

Custom-designed flashcards – a fast, fun way to give students exactly  which notes you want them to work on. You can keep adding until they have a whole set of their own special custom drawn flashcards! They love it! In fact, here’s a quick snapshot of Emily with her special set of flash cards stored safely in the pocket of her overalls:

I use these in the lessons and also send them home with the student with ideas for games they can play on their own. Reinforcement is so essential to fully master note recognition. Also, I almost always incorporate them playing the corresponding key on the piano, not just saying the name. It takes significant effort for some students to grasp the concept that each line or space represents a particular key on the piano.

Those are the tried and true approaches I use with my students, but I would sure love to add some new ideas for the year ahead. Is there anything you have found particularly helpful in teaching note recognition to students? Any new resources you’ve come across lately? Do tell!

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

Share and enjoy!

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