Monday Mailbag – More about the Treble Clef Game

[Natalie’s Note: Following is a series of questions I received pertaining to this treble clef game – a favorite in my studio!]

I began teaching beginner piano lessons this summer.  Being a teenager with no experience, I feel like I “run out” of new ideas quickly. I really like your game ideas, and I have a few questions about the Treble Clef game.

The treble clef shape is cut out of white posterboard and orange and blue circles are placed on the treble clef to create a path. Then I laminated it to preserve it. To play, each student places their game token on the first circle and draws a card from the draw pile. If they answer the card correctly, they get to roll the die and advance their game piece.

First, what is written on your cubes?

The dice are made from foam cubes and then I used a black ink pen to draw a keyboard or staff with a different interval on each side. The student rolls the die that corresponds to the color space he is on on the treble clef board. He must identify the interval and then move the equivalent number of spaces (i.e. 4th – move 4 spaces).

Can you explain how many spaces a student would move based on what the cube says?
The above answer should have answered this. Incidentally, I have them move how they normally would in a game, not how they would count intervals on a keyboard (i.e. including the starting space in the count).

What do you suggest I write on the flash cards for a pre-reading student?
* pictures of a piano keyboard with an “X” to identify the name of the key
* simple rhythm patterns
* note values
* basic dynamics
* pictures of instruments to identify

I also have a student who just started reading the staff.  What kind of flash cards should I make so she will keep advancing, without feeling overwhelmed at the difficulty of the questions?

You could make cards with all the staff notes and just include a specified range of those in addition to other easier cards. Or you could make it multiple choice. Another fun approach might be to do a series of notes and have the student see if she can identify the word that is spelled. (Click here for a list of Musical Alphabet Words.)

Also, another game that seems to work really well with students learning their notes is Whack-It! This is great for identifying key names or notes on the staff.

Hope this info is helpful! Feel free to comment below if you have suggests for other cards that could be made for pre-reading students.

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!

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