Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grand Staff Game

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I use this game primarily with my beginner piano students who are 5 or 6.  My students love to play this game.  However, it can be modified to help preschoolers get prepared for reading music.

A few years ago (5 or 6 now?  I can't quite remember!) when I started teaching piano, I created this giant grand staff on a piece of foam core board.  I drew the grand staff with a permanent marker, leaving about 1.5" between lines.  

The Grand Staff game.
To play the game, have the child toss a small bean bag or hacky sack.  I always used a hacky sack until one of my cats stole it.  I still haven't found where they hid it.  Anyway, have the child toss the bean bag onto the grand staff.  Then they have to name the note that the bean bag landed on.

For school age children, have them name the note where the bean bag lands.  Encourage them to use the musical sayings like "Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always" and "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge" or some variant.  Over the years, I have heard some pretty good (and completely new to me!) sayings for note naming practice.

For preschoolers, they can simply tell you if it is a line note or a space note.  Or you can ask them to tell you what line it is on (counting up from the bottom of the bass clef or treble clef).  Doing either of these modifications can prepare a preschooler for eventually reading music and helps them get used to the layout of the grand staff.