In this fun activity, students are grouped into teams to see which team can identify notes the fastest!

For today’s Throwback Thursday I am bringing back something that turned out to be lots of fun as well as helpful. Scroll to the end for the free 5-page PDF. 

Throwback Thursday is a weekly review of free material from Susan Paradis Piano Teaching Resources.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 [line team or space 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 page that served as the game board. While I timed them with my phone stopwatch, I showed them a note flash card and they called out the name of the note and placed a bingo chip on the correct note on the staff page.

It didn’t take long, and students were allowed to try several times, so I could record 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 didn’t know is that the next week I posted the Are You Ready to Switch poster, and we switched sides!

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!

Hope you have fun with it! I know we did!

Click below to print the 5 page PDF

Valentine Lines Spaces



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3 thoughts to “Are You a Line or Space?

  • Amy Jahn

    Hi Susan,
    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been doing this activity with my students the past two weeks and it’s been a big hit. It’s also given me insight into which students need more work learning their staff and been a good warm-up for the students who are studying to take the NFMC theory test in a few weeks! I love that it only takes a few minutes and gets the students excited to start the lesson with a challenge. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  • Patti

    Hi Susan,
    I liked your “Are you a Line or a Space?” Game, but I changed it a little. I had my sign out on my front porch for my students to see. I told them that we were having an experiment to see if lines or spaces were easier to read. I had everyone give a prediction, and then I timed them on your lines and on your spaces pages. My students were divided half and half, and most of their predictions were valid. I even participated! (I’m a “Space”.) It was a fun way to unite my students and to change our usual beginning review into a themed event. I had one new student who didn’t know notes well enough to participate, and one student who gets upset when any kind of timed event occurs. Overall, a fun, and educational event. You contribute to my teaching in SO many ways. Thank you!!

    • Susan Paradis

      Patti, great ideas, and thanks for taking the time to share!


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