I have an unusual number of students who play by ear. One of them is a young girl who reminds me so much of myself when I was her age! She spends hours playing on her piano at home- improvising, making up arrangements…..just using her ear to her heart’s content. My goal with such students is to balance their skills by bringing their eye skills to match or even exceed those of their ears.
Students who are strong in ear often have trouble connecting the note position on the staff with the actual piano keys. A drill to learn where notes are on the piano is sometimes a waste of time. But they need lot of reinforcements on the staff.
Enter the “Salty Notes” game, which was actually inspired by Pinterest. The original pinner used it to review ABCs with Kindergarten students in a school setting. When I saw the picture, I immediately thought “That would be GREAT for piano students too!” So here is my version of this game, created especially with my dear “ear” students in mind.
I half-filled a sturdy tray (actually the top of one of those heavy board photo boxes) with salt. Why did I use salt? Because I knew my little students would be tempted to eat the game!
On one end of the box, I attached one of my nifty curly paper clips, to hold the flashcards.
Here’s how to play:
Teacher puts a card in the clip, and student writes the letter of that note as quickly as possible. There are many variations for playing this game. Last night I did all treble notes, then all bass notes, then treble and bass combined. Once the student got the hang of it, I put the timer on to add a bit or pressure.
The only complaints I had were from students who didn’t like the feeling of salt in their fingernails…..maybe they wouldn’t mind so much if it were sugar, eh?! Over all, it was a winner, and one I’ll keep handy for some impromptu note review!
Have you designed any new teaching aides/games lately? Leave a comment and share them!