Are You a Line or Space

 Are You a Line or Space

I am always looking for something different to do with my students, to shake things up a bit and add some fun to piano lessons.

I put a sign on my front door, “Are You a Line or Space?” This made them curious and got them interested. They all had no idea what I was planning on doing, but they have come to expect that piano lessons are not going to be the same-old thing.

I printed two staves with either line or space notes shaped like hearts. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up,  I used that as a theme.

I told them I was doing a musical experiment on lines and spaces. I explained there would be two teams, the Lines and the Spaces,  and I wanted to see which was the easiest for students. They could choose their team or pick a line or space card from a bowl to be assigned a team. I have some students who would take 10 minutes to decide, and I need to move fast in piano lessons, so picking from the bowl turned out to be a time saver for those indecisive or apprehensive students.  

 I sat them down in front of either a line or space card. While I timed them with my phone stopwatch, they placed a bingo chip on each note as they called out the name of the note. 

It didn’t take long, and students were allowed to try several times, so I could write down their fastest time on the printable I made to record the times. The more practice, the better, and everyone wanted to try it several times.  Even so, it took less than 5 minutes.

Many of the students decided to be on the “space” team, because they said spaces are the easiest. That was fine with me. What they don’t know yet is that next week I’m going to post the Are You Ready to Switch poster, and we are going to switch sides!

I hoped to have time to made ledger line cards, but I didn’t. However, you could use my mini-ledger line flash cards and accomplish the same thing. Spread them out of the table and play the same way.

I really wasn’t planning on blogging about it, because it’s kind of silly, the clip art is from other things I’ve made, and the printables were hastily made to get it done before my students arrived!

But, it has turned out to be fun and I wanted to share. I told teachers  I would get this posted in time for them to use it Monday, if they wish, so here it is. If you start Monday, you will have 2 weeks to play it before Valentines. Hope you have fun with it! I know we are!


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19 thoughts to “Are You a Line or Space? A Quick Valentine Activity!

  • Julia

    Hi Susan,

    I’m not really understanding how you used the materials for our download for the game. How did you the line and space page? What was the page divided into two columns for?

    Just trying to grasp what you were doing. Of course I can always adapt and do different games with the materials. Thank you!

    • Susan Paradis

      Julia, the students are given a timed test on notes, either space notes or line notes. I used my phone as a stop watch to time them. To keep score, I wrote the times down on the page that has two columns. The second week the students switched from either space to lines or lines to spaces, depending on what they had been tested on the first week. The students were in teams, so I added up the scores to see which team won. It’s very simple, nothing complicated. It is just a way to make a timed test more fun. Read though the blog post again and see if it makes sense now.

      • Julia

        I get it now. Thanks!

        • Susan Paradis

          Julia, thanks for letting me know. This is one of those activities that was hard for me to explain. But my students liked it because it was kind of a mystery to them when I asked if they wanted to be a line or a space. They didn’t know what I was up to. Then they also liked the idea of teams working together.

  • Karen Engan

    Susan, thanks so much for all the fun games you post. I’m excited to try the new Valentines line or space activity, but can’t seem to download it to print it out. What am I doing wrong?

    • Susan Paradis

      Karen, I’m sorry you have having trouble. Since everyone has a different operating system and printer, I really don’t know what your problem is.
      1. Are you clicking on the correct link?
      2. Try updating Adobe Reader to the latest version. That has helped a lot of people.
      3. Try refreshing your browser.
      4. Ask someone to come over and help you out.
      That is all I can suggest. Good luck!

  • Maddie Cordes

    Thanks Susan my students are really enjoying this and the element of competition! Maddie

  • Kathy

    Thanks, Susan, I think the kids will have a blast with this. I also printed out your Valentine Notes worksheet to use with the students that are pre-readers. I am planning on having them choose space or lines notes like the older students and then I’ll time them as they cover all their chosen type of notes.
    Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Sara @ Sara's Music Studio

    This is fantastic, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Dorothy Mullikin

    I am using the heart cards from “Steal a Heart” valentine game. That way I can sort them for the student levels; includes ledger line note cards! I love your ideas!

  • Megan Hughes

    Good one! I especially like the studio-wide team aspect. Got mine printed out and ready for next week.


    I can’t seem to download your latest game. What am I doing wrong?

    • Susan Paradis

      Ginnie, Which game are you trying to download and how are you doing it? It works for me.I just asked a friend to download it and it worked for her, too.

      • Ginnie Luce

        I just went back and tried again. It worked!! I love your stuff! Thank you.

  • Anna Fagan

    Yay! Thanks for posting this, Susan — this will be a fun way to start next week’s lessons. If you have an iPhone or iPad, there’s a great app called “Decide Now!” which lets you make a spinner with your choice of fields. I just made one for Line/Space, and will use it for those kids that are hesitant to decide 🙂

    • Cleanasabean

      Thank you for letting us know about this app, Anna.

  • Carol

    A great idea! Will definitely be using it these next 2 weeks! Thanks!

  • Jenny

    Thank you! I love it! I am thinking about using conversation hearts instead of the bingo markers, but probably only on week 2, just for a fun valentine treat. Anyway, I just love your ideas, happy you do all the work for us! 🙂

    • Susan Paradis

      Thanks, Jenny. Conversation hearts are a good idea. I made this in such a hurry I didn’t even think of that!

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