NoteStars – A Fun Challenge for Learning Music Notes on the Piano!

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve been devotedly working on note identification and music reading fluency in our studio this past month. The first thing I started my students with was this NoteStars challenge:

I just printed out this worksheet on white cardstock (you can click on it to download it for free!), filled in the name of each student in the left hand column and then used a pencil to track their progress in the corresponding column. Using the Student Flashcards, I separated the deck of notes into four levels as follows (one of the things I love about this set is how many ledger line notes are included!):

Level 1 – Treble clef notes on the staff (11 cards)

Level 2 – Bass clef notes on the staff (11 cards)

Level 3 – Treble clef ledger lines (10 cards)

Level 4 – Bass clef ledger lines (10 cards)

How the challenge works:

Set a timer for one minute. Supply small game pieces or blocks that can be placed on the piano keys. Give the student the level of cards according to where they are at (I started everyone at the beginning of the orange tier). They must go through the cards and place a game piece on the key that corresponds to each note on the staff. However many they get correct before the timer goes off is their score. They can try for as many levels within the tier as they’d like, but they may not advance to the next tier until they successfully complete every level within the first tier on the same week. Please note: For this challenge the student doesn’t have to name the note, just correctly place the marker to show that they can correlate the note on the staff with the key on the piano.

Why this is important:

If a student cannot complete this challenge in the designated time, they do not sufficiently understand the staff in order to fluently read music. The more I work with my students, the more I believe this. It’s been amazing to watch their understanding grow exponentially as they diligently strive week after week to improve their speed and accuracy!

 

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6 thoughts on “NoteStars – A Fun Challenge for Learning Music Notes on the Piano!

  1. I must be missing something — I understand the ‘orange’ labels but why the ‘purple’ and ‘teal’?

  2. Hi Jeannie~

    The purple and teal levels combine two of the orange levels so that students have to correctly place more notes in the same amount of time. Does that make sense?

  3. Thanks so much! I will definitely use this. One other idea we did at Eastertime was to hide plastic eggs with a-b-c note names on them in the yard and they had to race to drop them in the right bag which had a staff flash card taped to the front. Lots of variations!!:)

  4. I still don’t understand the difference between Orange Level 1 and Purple Level 1 and Teal Level 1

    Orange one set from any of the 4 sets.
    Purple two sets from any of the 4 sets.
    Teal three sets from any of the 4 sets. ????

    Do the students ever have to try to do all 4 sets?

    I am assuming that the student posts the time for four different attempts.

  5. Hi Linda~
    Sorry for the confusion – some things are just hard to describe in writing! For the Orange Tier, Level One was comprised of only the treble clef notes on the staff. Level Two was only bass clef notes on the staff. Level Three was only Treble Clef Notes on Ledger Lines. Level Four was only Bass Cleff Notes on Ledger Lines. Once the student mastered each of those sets, they were ready to move on to the Purple Tier. The first column of that tier required students to get Level One and Two (all the treble and bass clef notes on the staff) in under 1 minute. The second column required them to get Level Three and Four (all the treble and bass clef notes on ledger lines) in under 1 minute. The third column required them to get Level 1 One and Three (all the treble clef notes on the staff and ledger lines) in under 1 minute. And the fourth column required them to get Level 2 and Four (all the bass clef notes on the staff and ledger lines) in under 1 minute. The teal tier first column combined Level One and Four (all the treble clef staff notes and bass clef ledger lines) in under 1 minute. The second column combined Level Two and Three (all the treble clef ledger lines and bass clef notes on the staff) in under 1 minute. Then the third column finally combined all four levels! They had to get each column correctly placed in under 1 minute in order to move to the next tier. Several students did master the final level, and all the others came really close!
    Hopefully this makes a little more sense!

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