Got any students that hate reading musical notes?
When I was learning piano as a kid, reading musical notes was my biggest challenge and
headache. Now as a piano teacher, getting students to improve their musical notes reading skills is still my biggest challenge. I met with resistance every single week as I persuaded students to complete various note reading exercises.
But I did notice that fun and games were great for the students' learning experiences, and greatly increase their levels of cooperativeness in piano lessons. So eventually I came up with a 'game' that required students to practice their musical notes.
This is how it works. Every week, a group of 6 monsters will invade your piano lessons. Each monster is given a name, which is a jumbled-up set of musical alphabets. To destroy a monster, students have to spell the jumbled-up monster's name using musical notes. After they have done so, they get to scratch out the monsters.
The 'game' requires students to recall the musical notes from memory, and requires their brains to actively reorder the musical notes, which is a lot harder than writing them in the same order every time.
Another key feature is the structure that the series provides. I identified 33 musical notes (all the notes on the grand staff and up to 3 ledger lines), and divided them into smaller groups of 3-5 notes according to their characteristics. Each of those group get it's own chapter, and each chapter contains 8 weeks of exercises. The built-in repetitions is one of the important keys to the usefulness of this product.
Once I created it, I brought Musical Notes & Monsters into my piano lessons one by one, and it worked! I no longer get complains when it comes to musical notes exercises. I even have student who were sad when they thought they were down to their last piece of monsters. Note reading abilities went up, and many students had much easier and shorter time learning their piano pieces.
I used Musical Notes & Monsters with every new student I've had ever since, even the adult students, who gave many great comments about how helpful it is. The first stages of the piano learning journey because a lot smoother than it was before, because now I have a reliable tool for building up note-reading competencies for new students.
I also used them with every existing student I have. The entire framework of the volumes provided the structure to help them remember and immediately recognize any one of the 33 musical notes. And the challenge of the exercises increase their levels of competency and speed, which means an easier and more enjoyable learning experience. The ledger lines volume was especially helpful for the more advanced students.
Having witnessed over and over again the difference it has made in my own lessons, I decided to put Musical Notes & Monsters out into the world, with high hopes that it will become a part of piano lessons all over the world and that it will create a better learning experience for every current and future piano student.
There are 20 chapters of Musical Notes & Monsters, divided into 7 volumes.
Chapter 1 - CDE [Ladder in the middle (top half)]
Chapter 2 - ABC [Ladder in the middle (bottom half)]
Chapter 3 - ABCDE [Ladder in the middle]
Chapter 4 - FACE [FACE]
Chapter 5 - ACEG [All Cows Eat Grass]
Chapter 6 - GBD [Golden Banana Dancing]
Chapter 7 - BDF [Bull Dog Flying]
Chapter 8 - FG [Friendly Ghosts]
Chapter 9 - ACE [Ladder at the top]
Chapter 10 - ABCDE [Ladder at the top]
Chapter 11 - ACE [Ladder at the bottom]
Chapter 12 - ABCDE [Ladder at the bottom]
Chapter 13 - ABCDE [Ladder in the middle] treble ledger lines
Chapter 14 - ABCDE [Ladder in the middle] bass ledger lines
(see Musical Notes Land - The Story to know what these chapters are)
Chapter 15 - middle CDEFG
Chapter 16 - bass CDEFG
Chapter 17 - treble CDEFG
Chapter 18 - treble GABCD
Chapter 19 - bass GABCD
Chapter 20 - low GABCD
Each chapter comes with
- Chapter introduction page with musical note and keyboard diagrams, and descriptions
- 8 weeks of monster sheets in color
- 8 weeks of monster sheets in black and white