Category Archives: Note Identification

Throwback Thursday Steal a Heart

Valentine Music Board Game

Steal A Heart Game

Steal a Heart was originally posted in 2016. I’m reposting it because teachers and students think it one of my best games.

I created this game for a group class I had near Valentine’s Day. It was an older group with middle school and high school age students. I told them it was a game to test the dreaded ledger line notes! But I also included all the notes so I could use it with younger students.

They had a lot of fun playing it, stealing the same cards back and forth and trying to figure out the really hard ledger lines. They laughed a lot and I was glad that I had a game this group enjoyed.

There were really only two problems with this game in the original form:

  • It used a whole lot of red ink.
  • I could never remember the rules!

With that in mind and with Valentine’s coming up, I remade it. I cut the amount of red ink by about 80%.  And the directions to the game are included in the PDF file.

If  you don’t want to use all the difficult ledger line cards, you don’t have to print them because they are on a separate page.

I hope these revisions will encourage more teachers to try it. It works well with any age student and it is lots of fun.

   “I have been playing that valentine game with my students… They absolutely love it from the oldest to the youngest. Yesterday a sixth grader asked his mom if he could stay five more minutes to play it again.” – Linda K.


  • To review the names of notes on the grand staff.
  • To identify ledger line notes in the bass and treble staves.


  • Print a game board for each player.
  • Print and cut the small note cards along the dotted lines.

Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Note Identification, Valentine's Day

2018 One Minute Club Cards

One Minute Club Cards 2018 One Minute Club 2018

I’ve finished the 2018 One Minute Club cards. This is the time of year everyone starts to ask for them!

Sometimes, as teachers, parents, and students, we don’t realize that it is not enough to be able to identify note names on a flash card. Pianists need to know exactly where on the piano keyboard the note is found. And we need to be able to find it quickly, so that when hands have to jump from one octave to another, we will know exactly where to go.

In the One Minute Club, the idea is to show students flash cards and they “say and play” the notes on the grand staff in one minute or less.

Our job as teachers is to prepare students to learn how to do this. We can’t just present the cards one day and hope for the best. My students have been studying notes all year, and this is the culmination of all that work. And if we want students to be engaged, we have to find ways to make it accessible. For example, I start with just a few cards and, until they are successful, I don’t add more. And you have to keep it light-hearted and fun.

I’ve found students need to be in about 5th grade to have the motor skills for this, but you certainly need to start gradually preparing them before that. And then, sometimes students have excellent motor sills and visual memory so they can be successful much younger. Sadly, this activity will not turn a poor sight-reader into an excellent sight-reader, but it will help.

For students who struggle to learn note names, it’s better to wait until they are older, and then to gradually work up to this.

You are the teacher, so you get to decide how many and which cards the students should be able to say and play. There are no national standards, LOL!

Here is a link to a video I made to show you how it works.

There are 10 cards on the page. It is formatted for “business card” perforated cardstock, but you can also cut them out. I put them in plastic business card holders and attach them to their music bags. There is a slight over-lap (called “bleed”) with the border to help with printing on business card stock, so if you cut them out yourself, be award of that. Draw a cutting line on the cards with a ruler, don’t just cut out along the blue or the card will be too big.

You might notice the design is the same theme I used for the calendar at the beginning of the year. My students look forward to new art each year! [Edited to add challenge chart.] Here is a challenge chart I posted a few months back you can use to keep track of your students progress. One is even fillable! Challenge Charts

You can read more about how to run this activity on my blog at this link. One Minute Club


Filed under Note Identification, Teaching Aids, Theory

Robot Wars: Notes on the Bass Clef Worksheet

Robot Wars Bass Notes

If you enjoyed the Robot Key Signature Worksheets I recently posted, then you will want to save today’s post, Robot Wars Bass Notes.  You can use this one with students who are not advanced enough to know key signatures and are still trying to learn note names. In this worksheet, students simply check the correct bass note. If they know the notes, it will go really fast. But if they struggle, you will know they need more review.

The directions state that the droids were sabotaged by the evil empire. The student will have to reprogram the droids with the correct note names. As I worked on this fun project, I thought that there is also a subtle message for our students: you can use computers to write music without having to read music. But what if something happens to your computer? To be a musician you don’t have to be the greatest sight reader or the greatest performer, but a musician should know note names. If you spend 5 minutes in each lesson working on note names in some fun way, as long as it doesn’t turn into drudgery you will see progress in just 6 weeks. One way to keep it light-hearted is humor and/or games.

Yes, I do play to make the Robots a series, like some of my other themes such as the Frog Series and the Summer Fun series. Thursday I will post the treble clef version, unless the evil empire takes control of my computer!





Filed under Note Identification, Worksheets

Hanukkah Music Resources

Hanukkah Music Printables

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, so I thought I’d post some free Hanukkah printables.  I would be really happy if they made some little piano students happy! If you are a classroom teacher, you have my permission to use them with your students. Please don’t email the digital files to anyone, but instead send the link to this page.

Hanukkah or Music

Hanukkah or Music

In the fun sheet above, students distinguish between music vocabulary and Hanukkah associated words.

Happy Hanukkah Vocabulary

Happy Hanukkah Vocabulary


Color the Hanukkah Gift

Color The Hanukkah Gift


Menorah Candles Worksheet

Menorah Candles Worksheet


Name the Dreidel Notes

Name the Dreidel Notes


Golden Menorah Composing Activity

Golden Menorah Composing Activity





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Filed under Christmas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Music Vocabulary, Note Identification, Worksheets