Today I am posting the second set of my Musical Memory Game series. This level has the symbols of the second level of the Texas State Theory Test, but they are also appropriate for all average age beginning piano students. There are 8 symbols and vocabulary words: dotted half note, sharp, flat, piano, forte, 2nd, 3rd, and half step. I am using this set with second graders, if that gives you an idea of the age. Of course, it is also appropriate for older beginners. You can also mix these up with the level one game cards. If you want the back to all 4 levels of this series to be the same color, pick the back you like best and use it for the entire series. I have found that a grid to place the cards really helps little ones.
If you have never tried introducing theory terms before you introduce them in the student’s lesson book, you might want to rethink this. I love the fact that my students have been introduced to symbols and terms before they actually play them.
Take for instance the sharp symbol. If you wait until the sharp is introduced in their method book, that is a lot more information the student has to assimilate in his brain for one piece, if you really want to teach the concept. You have to teach the physical properties of playing it, the visual, the concept of a half step up, and how to read it in a measure. Then you have to teach how to play the piece, including reading the notes and rhythm!
Alternately, if you do what I do and the student is already familiar with the sharp before they get to it in their book, there is a lot less to introduce at the lesson, and the student has a large measure of confidence, because they already know what a sharp is.
So I do not wait for method books to chose the time when I introduce musical concepts. Who started that, anyway? I can’t imagine Bach turning a page in Anna’s notebook and saying, “Oh, look, today we’re going to learn an upper mordent.” I’m not anti-method book by any means, but I am trying to spread the word that we don’t have to follow a book like we’re chained to it.