Drawing Key Signatures

Simple Sharps and Fearless Flats

Simple Sharps and Fearless Flats are great to help students who are having trouble writing key signatures. Sometimes students are confused or have trouble putting the accidentals on the correct line or space.  A couple of years ago one of my students was struggling on learning how to draw key signatures on staves. His brother was there and said, “You haven’t done Simple Sharps and Fearless Flats? That’s the only way I was able to learn them.” Honestly, I was really amazed he could remember the name of these handouts after all those years. I can’t even remember what I named a worksheet last week!

I laminate these and use them as helpful posters when I am showing how to write key signatures.  They can also be printed and put in the  student’s binder for reference. The blank staff at the bottom can be used for practice. If you print multiple copies, try using the “fast” or “economy” setting to save ink. I do that and they look fine, just not as vibrant. They also work well in black and white, if you want to save color.

The large staves and spaced apart sharps and flats really do make writing key signatures simple and fearless, especially if I use them with 2 other helpful posters on a giant staff, Down a Fourth and Up a Fourth.

How to draw key signatures

Down a 4th up a 5th Bundle

By the way, I know so many US teacher use “Fat Cats Go Down And Eat Breakfast” and “BEAD Greatest Common Factor.” That is what I used in college, actually. But I like the Canadian/UK  “Father Charles” method because it is the same backwards and forwards. Certainly, you can teach your students either one!

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12 thoughts to “Throwback Thursday Simple Sharps and Fearless Flats

  • Cindy Finlinson

    I noticed on the sharp one that it says to practice drawing the order of flats. This is just on the bundled one, I had previously downloaded the individual ones and those are correct. Just thought you might want to fix it on the bundle. Used these this morning with a group just learning key signatures and it worked great!

    • Susan Paradis

      I’ll get that fixed right away! Thanks!

  • Leslie Babb

    On the page for #’s the bottom reads: Practice drawing the order of “flats” here: Shouldn’t that read “sharps” instead?
    Thanks for everything that you create!

    • Susan Paradis

      Thanks for letting me know, Leslie. I’ll fix that.

  • cheryl benefield

    Susan, these are great ! These seem fun for even my young students who aren’t playing in all the keys yet. Helpful for me too ! I needed some sentences to help my kids learn…I only knew BEAD. Even my college classes didn’t help me out. I think that piano lessons can be more fun for students now than when I was growing up.

  • Lorraine Manifold

    Hello Susan,
    I love the format and how easy(ier) it makes learning sharps and flats!
    I think I’ll try to copy your format and use different words. I am trying to incorporate girls in all these musical terms, or at least to get rid of the omnipresent guy/war theme (as I don’t want wish to imply that war is normal, even in an instrument lessons). For example, I have changed “Good Boys Do Fine Always” to “Good Bears Deserve Fruit Always” so that it’s gender-neutral, or “Good Ballet Dancer Focusses Always”. I feel so sorry for girls as they so rarely see their gender represented. I searched the internet for the order of sharps and flats, and while most are male dominated, I did find this one: Four Clever/Capable Girls Dance An Excellent Ballet & Be A Darned Good Country Fiddler! 🙂

    • Ann

      I’m not sure where this one came from but you might like it –
      Father Christmas Gave Dad An Electric Blanket
      Blanket Exploded And Dad Got Cold Feet

      • Lorraine Manifold

        Hello Ann, thanks for that! It’s nice except there are still no women in it. Once we’re aware of this ominpresence of male-dominant examples – and therefore the invisibility of women, we notice it everywhere! 🙂 I would therefore change Dad to Diana or something. Thanks!

      • Dorothy

        it’s in my book Pass Grade 5 Theory – all you need in one volume! http://www.dinglemusic.com (aimed at ABRSM Grade 5 theory students)

  • Bev Campbell

    Thanks for the reminder that I have these. I have 2 students working on the exact thing right now.

  • Sherry

    Thanks for another great worksheet!

  • Mary A Tunnell

    Susan, I love these. I have been using them for years!


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