Note reading can be HARD. Especially when you're first starting and all the notes look like little tadpoles swimming all over the page.
Some beginners get it like that *clicks fingers* but others take a little longer to see the differences between middle C, D, and E. And that's okay!
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Method books can jump ahead quickly, leaving slower students behind and getting frustrated that all of a sudden they've got so many notes to contend with, and they were still getting their head around the first few notes they'd been introduced to.
Let me just say - there is NOTHING wrong with being slow. We all take different amounts of time doing anything, and learning the piano is not a race. (Would be weird if it was!) This leaves teachers searching for resources to help reinforce these notes before they move their students on...I have one for you!
Cat, Dog, Elephant
Sometimes keeping things simple is the best way to go. C for Cat, D for Dog, and E for Elephant.
But simple doesn't mean it can't be adorable and fun!
HOW TO PLAY 'CAT, DOG, ELEPHANT'
There are three boards - one per animal.
Each animal has five questions:
What's my favourite food?
Which hat do I like wearing?
What do I love doing?
Where do I like to sit?
What do I not like doing?
There are 15 note cards, each with a different graphic that will answer one of the questions. And because I like variety, there are few different ways you can do it...
Method One: Card First
1. Pick up a card
2. Identify the note 3. Find the correct space on the correct board e.g. If the note you pick up is an E and has a burger next to it, place it on the elephant board on the "What's My Favourite Food?" space
4. Repeat for all cards
Method Two: Question First
1. Choose a board
2. Choose a question
3. Look for the note card that matches e.g. if the question you chose was the dog asking 'Where do I like to sit?' you then search for cards with chairs on and find the one with the 'D' note on it. 4. Repeat for all questions on that board 5. Repeat for the other two boards
That's Not Right!
Another alternative for this game is to set a board out with random cards on.
It's then up to the student to work out which cards are right and which cards are wrong
In the case of the picture, which notes are 'E's and which aren't They then remove the incorrect cards and replace them with the right ones. You could do this with just one board or all three.
Cat, Dog, Elephant: Online
I know some of you may be thinking, "That's great for f2f lessons, but how could I use it online?"
I have a suggestion!
Magnetic boards and magnets are your best friends when it comes to games and activities in online lessons.
Attach one of the boards to a magnetic board (either with magnets or self-adhesive magnet strips) Pick a question and place the three possible answers under the board (note: all answers are colour-coded so you can find the groups quickly!) Or if your board is small, just hold the three cards up. Have your student tell you which answer is correct, and place it on the board (again you can use magnets, self-adhesive magnet strips, or even blue tac) Repeat for all the questions until you have a full board!
I'm sure there are many more alternate ways of using this game - if you come up with any, I'd love to hear them!