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#21164 - 07/26/03 05:38 PM Note Recognition
keynote88 Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/30/03
Posts: 328
Hey, teachers! I have a question... I have a student who doesn't know her notes. She has been taking from me for almost a year; she was recently switched over to the Piano Adventures Method (from Alfred Level 1A). She basically doesn't know her notes. She mainly guesses (she told me she does). For the most part, she guesses correctly. However the songs are not that difficult yet... but one day the music will cease being "steps and skips" and will move on to scale patterns, chords, arpeggios and all the rest. How do I get this child to learn to read her notes??? When she was using Alfred I actually bought a "Notespeller" book... it didn't help her, she got bored, and still has a difficult time with note recognition. I have taught her "Every Good Boy Does Fine" and "F-A-C-E" and "Good Boys Do Fine Always" and "All Cows Eat Grass", but it doesn't seem to help, half of the time, she can't remember which slogan goes with which clef or whether it's a line or space sloglan. Any suggestions you have would be wonderful. By the way, she is using the Piano Adventures Lesson book 1, Technique & Artistry book 1, and Theory book 1. I really don't want to have to buy anymore books, because she only takes a 30 minute lesson and her parents probably wouldn't want to invest in a 4th book just yet.

Thanks so much!

Piano Adventures Teacher

#21165 - 07/26/03 06:35 PM Re: Note Recognition
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
I have the same problem with one of my students. She started with Alfred but I'm switching her into Faber level 1. Recently I've started bringing in supplementary pieces that aren't in middle c or c position so that she HAS to recognize the first note in order to know where her hands should go. I've been giving her note naming theory sheets every week but what she enjoys more (and seems more effective) is playing note-naming games. The current favorite is tic-tac-toe where I shuffle her flash cards and then lay the first nine of them out in a three by three square. I use red and blue poker chips (each of us chooses our own colour) to mark the squares. Of course she has to name the note correctly before she can put a chip down. Sometimes I "make a mistake" so that she can watch to catch me out. Later, when we're playing one of her songs and she asks "what hand position is this one?" I say "you know that starting note - you used it to beat me in tic-tac-toe!" Then she feels proud and uses her brain to figure it out instead of relying on me. It seems obvious that she can recognize the notes if she puts in just a little effort - but oh the effort it takes me to get her to make that effort!!! \:D

#21166 - 07/26/03 07:12 PM Re: Note Recognition
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Lots of games! Also I use my grand staff cookie sheet (or poster board) every lesson to name notes (landmark notes first) plus intervals. Make sure she is reading the 2nds, 3rds and 4ths and making that connection. I am trying to come up with interval games now. The Piano Races game mentioned in another post can be adapted for that. Today I came across some great big rubber dice at Big Lots. Think I will use it for intervals. The Skip-Step-Repeat books are also good to reinforce intervals. And don't forget Bea's Keys!

#21167 - 07/26/03 11:38 PM Re: Note Recognition
Elbe Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 323
Loc: The Great Northwest
I'm trying something new so that when all else fails and I have to resort to the Every Good Boy and Face designations for reinforcement, its not so confusing. I'm only giving the students the FACE and All Cows Eat Grass space designations. First of all, most of them catch on quickly that FACE is in the treble clef so that leaves only one place for the All Cows Eat Grass. Second, I believe most of them can figure out the line note above or below. I'm just recently experimenting with this so take it with a grain, but it seems to have a de-cluttering effect on the student i.e their eyes don't glaze over so much. \:\)

#21168 - 07/27/03 10:13 AM Re: Note Recognition
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
I use the computer to drill on notes. I can set which specific part of the staff I want a student to drill (treble clef line notes, for example), leave out ledger notes, etc. I can also set it to drill on the entire staff, including ledger notes. It's the same as using flashcards, really, because students have to locate a note on a keyboard & click on it. If they don't click on the correct key, then it's wrong. Also, the computer will keep drilling until the student scores 100% correct. Overall, it's fairly effective because students don't seem to mind drilling on the computer, even though they hate flashcard drills with me. :rolleyes: Go figure. I don't mind, though. I do whatever works. If they learn to name & locate notes quickly drilling on the computer rather than with me, then so be it. ;\) \:D

#21169 - 07/27/03 04:20 PM Re: Note Recognition
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Originally posted by Carole:
Lots of games!

Speaking of games, at my last summer group classes for both Jr & Sr Highers, I pulled out a new game that is WONDERFUL for helping with note recognition in every way. It's Line and Spaces Bingo by Cheryl Lavender. Basically, each player's board is set up with threble notes on the top 1/2, bass notes on the bottom. It spans from low E up to high A I believe. Anyway, the way I played it first was to call out the nearest landmark, then the direction, and finally the interval. Players locating the note on their card would raise their hand. I'd call on the first hand up who'd name the note and all would check. So it be like "bass F up a 4th". After the first round like this, I changed it to where the students each got to call. It was great. I had poor readers and good readers, and they all were really having to think thru the process of "spot-placing" to find each note. They wanted to keep playing even after everyone had Bingo'd. But the best thing about it was that the poorer readers were NOT loosing interest or getting frustrated, they were hanging in there with the others. It was esp. great to have the kids do the calling; really made them think.

You can find this game in the major music teaching catalogs. Well worth getting.

#21170 - 07/28/03 07:34 AM Re: Note Recognition
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
One thing that gives a big boost to note recognition in my studio is to occasionally time their flashcards. It's just traditional flashcard drills with a stop watch. Everyone does it at the same time except each student competes only with themself. We keep a chart in their notebook and record the number of correct answers within 1 minute. They try to beat their own record. I do it for about 4 weeks and then we award prizes to the students with the highest score at each level. They really get into it. Sometimes the old tried and true methods work best. I think students are naturally competitive. It usually becomes clear early on which notes are the "bug-a-boos" for each student and they must concentrate on those notes. BTW, this can be done by recitation, playing notes, phrases, sight-reading - whatever is needed.

[ 07-28-2003: Message edited by: Lilla ]

#21171 - 07/28/03 02:09 PM Re: Note Recognition
Vivace' Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
If some of you like teaching note names by using F-A-C-E (G) in the treble, why not use it in the bass instead of making up something different?
Just spell F-A-C-E (G)in the bass clef beginning 1 space lower.
Tell the student that bass clef notes are lower and everything is either a space lower, or a line lower in that clef.

[ 07-28-2003: Message edited by: Vivace ]
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

#21172 - 07/28/03 02:38 PM Re: Note Recognition
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
For flashcard challenged children (those who shut down the moment they see a flashcard), Bea's Keys work fabulously well. The computer works best, though. Don't ask me why. It just does. \:\)

#21173 - 07/29/03 03:46 PM Re: Note Recognition
ruth-c Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 27
Loc: Idaho Falls, ID
I recently read of a new method of keeping line and space slogans separate! Think of the treble clef as the PEOPLE hand---FACE for the spaces, and EGBDF (every good boy does fine).
Then think of the bass clef as the ANIMAL hand. ACEG (all cows eat grass), and GBDFA (great big dogs fight animals) .

I would have thought this was no less confusing, but the students have latched on to this very quickly. I also use a lot of speed sheets from Practice Spot, and yes! they do like to be timed. I have them play and name the notes on the speed sheets, but not write in names except at lessons--then we time, and see how they are doing.
I have REALLY used this summer to concentrate on note-reading for about 4 or 5 of my students who need to improve. Every student is different, and I need to find the best methods for each one.
One boy has such a good ear, that he learned a song written in 4 flats by playing it in 3 sharps (Aflat to A). He didn't even realize that he was doing this, just started in the wrong place and kept going!
I love all of your good ideas and plan to use some of the ones that are new to me. THANKS! Ruth-c \:D ;\)

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