Music Alphabet Manipulatives

   Yet another use for Play Doh!

I wrote out all the music alphabet (including sharps and flats) on the tops from empty Play Doh containers. I can think of so many ways to use these in music teaching.

   A colorful representation of keyboard topography

Sometimes it’s hard for students to grasp that there are 12 individual tones in music. This way they can see it in full color!

 

  Younger ones can have races to see how fast they can put the music notes in order

-This can be done starting on ANY note so students get fluent at stepping up and down on the staff.

-Notes can be left out also so that students can name the missing note to complete the pattern.

-Students can stack the notes to build colorful chords

– If you are using a color code for piano notes/keys such as with Yellow Cat Music Education (great for students with dyslexia or who have trouble reading music notation), you can also use it when putting your own letters on the play doh caps. What fun!

Play-Doh Re-Mi, Anyone?

Making A Staff

Sometimes it escapes me how much difficulty piano students have learning to read notes on the staff. You see, the more than 30 years that I’ve spent playing the piano have fooled me into thinking that reading notes on a music staff is EASY-PEASY. Not to worry – reality quickly sets in once my students sit at the piano and I put a sheet of music in front of them. The cheerful, excited faces they had during the pre-staff notation days of their lessons are suddenly absent – replaced by blank stares and a series of failed attempts at finding the right note. So, what to do?

Enter… Play Doh!

Step 1: Have the student make a staff. Some surprising revelations can occur at this time. Here’s one from a student: “There are only 5 lines?”

Step 2: Now the student can add space notes or line notes.  Another revelation: “You mean the space notes have to fit BETWEEN the lines?” 

Happy FACE notes

Step 3: The teacher can add a Treble Clef OR Bass Clef. Then give the student the appropriate phrase to remember the note names. Now have them make up a phrase of their own.

Step 4: Take a picture of that beautiful smile your student is flashing!

3-D Bass Clef Staff