Category Archives: Note Identification

Circle Intervals Worksheet

In this worksheet, students identify intervals from unison to octaves.

Intervals Circles

Today’s post is Interval Circles, a worksheet for older students to identify intervals from unison to octaves. I mentioned last week that I needed more interval worksheets, so I am following through!

This worksheet gives students practice in how musicians see and read intervals in a score. Not all students are born good music readers and some struggle with it for years, despite our best efforts. However, most poor readers can improve with a lot of practice in reading intervals.

I teach reading by intervals, yet in the last several months I’ve noticed a student struggle with reading. I realized that he was trying to identify individual notes as he played. In hindsight, I believe it came from worksheets, of all things! He made a gold medal on the state theory test because he had very diligently done all his theory homework. He would very carefully double-check all his work by counting up from guide notes on every single example. But somehow that transferred over to sight-reading and I saw him counting lines and spaces of each note he played to make sure it was correct!

We had a little talk and I told him that while it is very important to know all the notes, when he is reading music at the piano he doesn’t have time to think of the names of all the notes as he plays. It is much faster to read by intervals. He tested it out while I pointed with my nifty telescope pointer and it was amazing how well he was able to read.

Sometimes we don’t know what causes students to have a set back, so it was very rewarding to realize the most likely cause of this.

Getting back to today’s Interval Circles worksheet, it covers unison and 8va intervals going up and down. It will also help students who sometimes get confused over the direction the intervals move, thinking when the stem goes down, the note goes down. Yes, I’ve seen that, too!

If you have a student having trouble with reading, try Notey Noteheads, free cards from my website. I left the stems off so students with learning difficulties can focus on the note head. There is even a parent’s guide to help students practice at home.

Sight reading flash cards

Notey Noteheads Sight Reading Flash Cards


Filed under Intermediate Students, Note Identification, Worksheets

Prickly Intervals – a New Worksheet

Identify Music Intervals

Prickly Intervals

A few months ago when we were studying for the theory test, I went looking for some interval worksheets on my site, and I couldn’t find very many that didn’t have a holiday theme. I have no clue what happened to all the ones I thought I had posted, so I’m going to make a few and add them to my site.

The new one I’m posting today is called Prickly Intervals. I was inspired by all the blooming cacti I recently saw in a friend’s house, and decided it would be fun to make a worksheet with some flowering cacti as a theme. I’ve always thought they are amazing plants. For one thing, according to an online dictionary, there are three acceptable plurals for the word cactus: cacti, cactuses, and cactus. Is English a great language or what? (Answer: Yes, if you’re a native speaker!) When you come to my website, you are going to get bits of trivia whether you want it or not!

The Prickly Intervals worksheet is a little more difficult than Interval Stars below, which I  posted a few years ago for beginners. Feel free to use this one for your first interval worksheet. Interval Stars explains how to count intervals in a very easy way.

This is a worksheet for beginning intervals.

Interval Stars

Today’s worksheet, Prickly Intervals, will be easier if they can do Interval Stars. Not only does it include octaves, but it has unisons. A few years ago, for the first time I can remember, unisons were included on the theory test my students take. It’s in the syllabus, so it was fair game to be included on the test, and there it was, in black and white: UNISON. I’ve always mentioned it, saying something like, “Don’t forget, if the interval is the same note, we call it unison, not a first!” But of course you can’t just mention things to students and assume they are going to remember. It just whooshes right over their heads. So I decided to include it on my worksheet, to give them some practice for when the prickly unison word is on the test again!


Filed under Note Identification, Theory, Worksheets

Shamrock Note Crossword Puzzle

Crossword puzzle using letter in the music alphabet

Shamrock Music Crossword

So a while back, I got the great idea of making a crossword puzzle using words from the music alphabet. After all, I have a full set of music word flash cards and a lot of St. Patrick’s Day illustrations I’ve already made. It would be fun, I thought! So in the time I could have lost 10 pounds in the gym,  I made this.

I showed it to my student. “Mrs. Paradis”, my student kindly said, “I think you’ve done something wrong here.” One of the things with being a nice piano teacher is that the students are usually so kind and helpful. Not only had I spelled a word wrong, but I had the numbers wrong, too. Otherwise, he thought it was fun because he said he like word puzzles.

So I went back to the drawing board thinking how I could spell a three-letter word wrong. But then, spelling is not my best talent.

This is for older students because it has ledger lines. Using notes for words can be a little tricky for little ones. But for those of you who want something a little more challenging for the week of St. Patrick’s Day, you can try this.

Don’t forget you can save ink by putting this in a sheet protector and using an erasable marker. For those of you who download material to you iPad, I think it will work, because the squares for the letters are fairly large. I haven’t had time to try it yet.

Now that I know how to make crosswords, I want to make one for every holiday! I’ll use spell check next time.


Filed under Note Identification, St. Patrick's Day, Worksheets

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.

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