MiniLedgerL_FlashCardsMini Ledger Line Flash Cards

Today I am posting the mini ledger line version of the small flash cards I posted the other day. I like to tell my students that even though I won a ledger line contest when I took piano, I didn’t remember them. Every time I would get to a ledger line note in my music, I would have to stop and think, and count up or down. Finally I got sick of not knowing them quickly, and made myself a set of flash cards (yes, even way back then I was making flash cards…) and practiced, until I finally had them really set in my memory.

Those of you who are visual learners have no idea how hard it is for some of us to learn to read notes quickly on the staff. In my case, notes tend to jump around on the page, first looking like a B and then a D. I used to get so confused and I still do sometimes! To make matters worse, my eyes turn anything with lines and patterns into 3D, which is not good for note reading.

I think not knowing ledger lines notes quickly is one reason intermediate students break down when they sight read. I hope these cards will help.

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12 thoughts to “Mini Ledger Line Flash Cards

  • Anonymous

    I have been teaching piano lessons from my home for years and have recently decided to make some changes which brought me to your blog/site. You amaze and inspire me! Thank you for all your efforts.

  • amymagrath

    Amazing Blog. I love it!! I deided to follow straight away. would you mind giving me tips for my piano blog??

  • Jenny Ballinger

    This has all been so helpful. I have always been a good sight reader – playing simple hymns after the first 3 months of lessons. I think I see patterns (in chords) and instantly know what it is. I couldn’t understand why a lot of my pupils have such difficulty, even though some others were could good. I was getting a little frustrated with some who had been having lessons for a few years and still didn’t seem to know basic notes. Although I’ve noticed some kids have trouble naming notes on a flash card they seem to get it right when they look at the music page. Thanks heaps for giving me more understanding!

  • Lorie Burningham

    I love these mini cards!!! Thanks for all your great ideas! The ledger lines doesn’t have the bass ledger lines, however. They came through the same as the regular bass ones you posted earlier.

    • susanparadis

      Oh no! I’ll have to fix that right away!
      [ed: I fixed it. Thanks so much for letting me know!]

  • Beverly Holt Guth

    Susan, you just don’t know how michI thank you for these ledger line cards! After reading how you do the one-minute club, I decided to change my system. Every spring, I’ve been doing it with just naming the notes. Most of the kids make it into the one-minute club; but a few very young or visually-challenged kids can’t make it the first year, even after quite a bit of practice. So I created the Two-Minute Club for them. I have buttons made up at my local awards store, and they cost $1 each. I just typed, “One Minute Club”, etc. in the font I wanted, found a clip-art picture and emailed it to them. Then they rounded the words and made it look nice.
    I do sometimes have the kids “Play ‘n Say” the notes at lessons or at home, but decided to make that Level II of the Minute Club. Level III is going to be the ledger lines.
    Thank you for all the marvelous materials! You’re my hero for sharing as you do!
    Beverly Guth

    • susanparadis

      Beverly,
      Well, you’ve given me an idea. Maybe I should make some two minute cards. I’ll have to think about that. Do you find it encourages them? Do they keep trying and eventually make the One Minute Club?
      Thank you so much for the compliment. I am just glad that other teachers can find a use for things I make!

      • Tami

        Actually I do something similar! I have a “Bumble Keys” club, (named from an online note ID game my students use), where you are “in” the club as long as you have improved on your previous time. This way my brand new students have a chance to get on my whiteboard of honor. :o) The 60 Seconds Club is very elite as it is hard for beginners to achieve.

        Also thanks for mentioning how notes appear to you. As I am a visual learner, I’ve always wondered why a few of my students seem to struggle in this area! It seems so easy to me. :o) I had thought that a few of them might have eye tracking issues, (actually one did discover she does have tracking problems and had to have eye therapy.)

  • Barbara

    I, too, appreciated your comments about being a non-visual reader. And I went through every single one of the John Schaum books all the way to level G as a child, and I am not a good sight reader, although I can figure out anything slowly. I have learned to stress intervals and patterns instead of individual note names as my students play. I had an 8th grade students tell me she learns so much better when she listens and watches me play instead of reading the notes. My first reaction was to say, “but you won’t always have a teacher to show you what to do” when I realized that although finding a way to listen to the music wasn’t easy when I was a child, now it is difficult to find a song that isn’t on the internet in some form, and many songs are visually taught on the keyboard on Youtube. That got me to thinking that although I won’t give up on teaching reading to my students, I won’t feel like I have failed them as long as they learn to play with acceptable safe technique and as much musicality as I can get from them. After all, music is an aural art. . .

    • susanparadis

      Barbara,

      So true! I will never give up, either, because over the years you can really see great improvement in reading music. I also teach by intervals and I think it really helps. Also, I am very proud of the fact that every one of my students take our state theory test. Knowing theory really helps these students, because they have the vocabulary and the knowledge to help them learn using different parts of the brain. I can explain the theory behind their piece, and they get it.

      I am happy to report that I am a very good sight singer, and always made excellent grades in ear training classes in college. Some of my college friends who were excellent sight readers on the piano had a lot of trouble sight singing. So go figure! Then there are those really fortunate folks who can do it all!

  • Kathy Gault

    I am loving these little cards, and want to thank you for sharing them. I am going to print up a set in the different colors; what a great idea. I was also very interested in your comments about your own difficulties learning to read. I have a couple of young students who seem to be experiencing some of what you related — no matter how long they practice, they just can’t seem to get notes fixed in their minds. I am a visual learner, myself, and learned to read in a flash — but of course I don’t remember how. I grew up with John Thompson, Maxwell Eckstein & Leila Fletcher, just like everyone else in my generation (1950’s and ’60’s), so Middle C all the way. However, I don’t teach that way because it seems completely crazy to me now, with all my pedagogy training. I’m wondering if you have some other tips or tricks or games you use for your non-visual learner students? I can use all the help I can get for mine!

    • susanparadis

      Kathy,

      I’m glad you like these little cards. Thank you for your comments!

      My suggestion for non-visual learners is just accept the fact that they are not going to be great sight readers, but develop their ear, use difference senses, and have lots of patience. Sometimes these students will always learn by semi-rote, but if they are enjoying it and developing a love of music, is that so bad? Besides, there is a difference is being a music reader, and a good sight reader.

      I used to think writing in note names and finger numbers was cheating and would keep students from learning to read music. (I’m talking older students here, who know their notes but have trouble sight reading) But now, I do that extensively with certain students, and it makes a big difference. But we always erase it before playing for a judge! Sometimes we make a photocopy and mark that up with colored high-lighters.

      The old idea that students should not hear music first so they won’t copy it by ear is just that, an old idea with no merit.

      As a teacher, I had to get past blaming the student, the previous teacher, the method book, or their environment for students’ poor sight reading skills. It is simply differences in how students learn.

      I grew up with Teaching Little Fingers to play, and I memorized every piece I played! I had no idea I was playing by ear! I’m very glad now that I can play by ear.

      On Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 8:39 AM, Susan Paradis' Piano Teacher

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