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#950532 - 10/02/08 02:17 PM Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
jennybear1978 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/08
Posts: 6
So, I got such good input from my last question, I thought I'd throw another one out there.

Does anyone have any creative ideas of how to teach the notes on the staff? I hate the idea of just "explaining" things. Any activities that would help this student absorb the material? She has a fairly short attention span, and is 9 years old.

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#950533 - 10/02/08 02:25 PM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
What activities are you using now, and are you favoring a positional, middle C, or landmark approach?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#950534 - 10/02/08 02:46 PM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Not sure if this is helpful at all but I like charts like this one so they can get the visual.
(I think I also saw a chart like this where they used different colors- that might be fun)
http://www.piano-lessons-central.com/image-files/notes-on-piano.jpg

Also, kids seem to like stickers. Maybe you could use a dry erase type board (I think some even come with the staff lines already on them. And have them place sticker where the notes are. Say put the monkey stickers on teh D or the flower sticker on the C etc and then have them show you where it is on keyboard. IDK if that is a good idea or not but I notice that kids with short attention spans do better if they are fully active in something. Also, Maybe you could make up a story as you are teaching the notes or make it into a poem like shel silverstein did with numbers 1-11.
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#950535 - 10/02/08 03:29 PM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kymber:
Not sure if this is helpful at all but I like charts like this one so they can get the visual.
(I think I also saw a chart like this where they used different colors- that might be fun)
http://www.piano-lessons-central.com/image-files/notes-on-piano.jpg
I use a chart like that, one that I created myself in Corel Draw, but it has much more information.

The RH lines are red, LH lines are blue, and all space notes are white. Each panel has a key word, when there is one, like:

C B Animals Grass Fight, Eat, Dogs, Cows, Big, All, Great, Foxtrot, Echo, Delta, Charlie, Bravo, Alpha. I actually refer to these words, because they are very quick.

"No, that's not Boy, it's Dogs. You're on the wrong side."

"That's not Face F, it's fight. Remember there are seven F's. The letter is uesless if you don't know which one."

I also have the inner leger line notes up to G, above middle C and down to F below middle C.

My youngest and oldest students tell me that this allows them to immediately understand how our notation system works. They are allowed to use the words and the letter all they want, but they are NEVER allowed to write a letter in the music. This makes them use their eyes, and the quicker students almost immediately begin to use the chart subconsiously so that a lot of time they are going from the music to the keyboard without even using the chart.

But if you use a chart, you must be careful to review everything without, drill the names of the keys of the piano, then ease them into playing not only all old music but new music without the chart.

I make a chart not only for each beginnger but for most of the students who come to me, because usually they read very poorly and don't really know any of the bass clef.

Using this method allows me to bypass separate drill, and it also allows me to show people immediately how to intuitively get out of five-finger positions, which I still claim are the number one barrier to reading quickly and easily.

I don't like stickers because they do not come off at will. My chart is "flippable", meaning that any moment we can flip it over or take it completely off the piano.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#950536 - 10/02/08 10:25 PM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
DoReMi Katie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Illinois
While teaching my kids the grand staff and treble and bass cleffs, I tell them that there is a secret alphabet letter hidden inside each cleff. I let them guess a while and will get creative answers, such as a "j!" or "backwards c!" but then I get a white board to draw a rather large treble cleff with a light marker. Then I take a dark marker and slowly outline the hidden letter "G" inside. They think it's the coolest thing, then I draw a few more treble cleffs for them to find the "secret letter". The bass cleff is even harder, because the F isn't obvious. But once they learn these letters, we find them on the staff by placing paper cut-out notes on top of the cleff and slide it over while keeping it on the line. Based on these two notes (G and F), they can find steps and skips above and below.
_________________________
Full-time, independent piano instructor; church musician
MTNA, ISMTA, working towards NCTM!

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#950537 - 10/02/08 10:50 PM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
DoReMi Katie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Illinois
Another idea:
This has always worked for my students with short attention spans.
I line up paper circles on the grand staff, covering all the notes they've learned this far (often starting on bass F and stepping up to treble G). Then I ask them to remove one of the notes. We'll say the note names together in a steady tempo, but when we get to the note that was removed, we're not allowed to say it; instead we clap it. If we accidently say the note name, we have to start all over.
Example: notes go from F to G; the note D was removed.
"F, G, A, B, C, *CLAP*, E, F, G"
Most kids love several rounds of this. It not only helps with note names, but also step by step and occasional skip sequencing.
_________________________
Full-time, independent piano instructor; church musician
MTNA, ISMTA, working towards NCTM!

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#950538 - 10/03/08 10:06 AM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Gary,
That chart you came with sounds great.
Btw... I meant sticker on the staff not on the piano. You must have thought I was out of my mind-LOL. But, that does make me think of something. Colorforms. Those weird plasticy things from when I was a kid. Those would work on a keyboard.
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#950539 - 10/03/08 10:22 AM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Karisofia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 201
Loc: Wisconsin
I purchased a magnetic dry erase board with a staff and keyboard on it. I can use the magnet notes to show how when the note moves up on the staff, it moves "up" on the piano. (I move one magnet and have the student move the other.) You could make a similar aid of your own.

I've also used five ropes to make a staff on the floor. We can lay clef and alphabet cards to name the lines and spaces. Then we play Twister. This is a favorite game!

Finally, I offer challenge levels for flashcards. Whenever a level is accomplished, the student gets a prize (candy, small toy). The students actually ask to do flashcards, and their focus is much better.
_________________________
Private Teacher
Member MTNA, WMTA, CVMTA
Local Association President
The Achievement Program Center Representative

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#950540 - 10/04/08 02:34 AM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Sal_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
I like that idea, katie. I have a 6-7 year old starting with me next week and I plan to use it with her. I also plan to use it with my 8 year old--I think she'd get a kick out of it.

To throw in another idea, what I've done with a transfer student who had a really hard time reading notes was I had her color all the G's green, and all the C's yellow. This gave her color-landmarks to go by, so when she accidentally skipped instead of stepped (or vice-versa) when she came to the next colored note, it was more of an eye-opener. Naturally, as time when on, the number of colored notes gets smaller, until there are none. I carry other colored pencils around with me just in case we need (god forbid,) more than the C and G. I'd considered making the colors refer to the root/5th rather than fixed notes, but that seems too confusing, particularly since I've been putting off theory until it can actually mean something to them (in my mind... I have no qualms if you want to convince me otherwise.)

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#950541 - 10/04/08 02:39 AM Re: Teaching Note Reading On The Staff
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kymber:
Gary,
That chart you came with sounds great.
Btw... I meant sticker on the staff not on the piano. You must have thought I was out of my mind-LOL. But, that does make me think of something. Colorforms. Those weird plasticy things from when I was a kid. Those would work on a keyboard. [/b]
I'm a liberal, so anything that gets people to read faster I think is great. \:\)

I love using color to link concepts. My beginning students have all sorts of things circled with highlighters, five colors. I can even do it for advanced students as long as I'm sticking to music I've done in Finale, since I can always replace a copy with a ton of markings with a fresh one. I can even globally delete all finger numbers from anything before printing out. \:\)
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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