Technique Achievement Poster

My good friend Claire showed me a wonderful technique chart she had made for her studio.  I liked the idea so much I made a poster for my own studio.  I LOVE it!  When a student masters a scale, they earn a foil star in the corresponding box.  Different colors of stars represent various levels.  For example, red stars for pentascales, blue stars for 1 octave scales, and so on.  Since only the major keys are listed at the top of the chart, we use small dot stickers inside the stars to show the minor key has been learned. 

I can tell at a glance where an individual student is and what technique they are working on.  Students are actually excited to do their scales, because they earn a point for each star, and seeing the progress of other students keeps them motivated.  My chart also has spaces for local MTA events that the students have participated in. 

I thought it would be nice to modify the chart for general use.  The major and minor keys are listed across the top, and the left column is blank for student names.  Version 1 has a key similar to what I use in my studio, telling what colors of stars represent each skill level.  The second chart has no key, so you can use it however you would like.

The chart will print on 4 sheets of paper, and will be about 15×19 when finished.  Trim the paper at the crop marks, mount on a half sheet of poster board, and you’re ready to go. 

Note: when the picture is clicked, lines are missing on the chart.  Click on the words, and your chart will look and print as it should.

Tech Chart 1Technique Poster 1






Tech 2Technique Poster 2



Go Fish for Major Tonic Triads

I am working with many of my students teaching them the pentascales and tonic triads. I thought a Go Fish game would be a perfect reinforcement to what we are doing at the piano. Students practice identifying triads and matching them to their respective names. Print the tonic triad cards out on one piece of card stock, and the names on another sheet. Click on this link for the rules for Go Fish.

You can also use these cards for games such as Memory or other matching games. Or, print the triads and names front to back for traditional flashcards.

Major Tonic Triads Major Tonic Triads

Musical Alphabet Blocks

Have you seen Natalie’s great post about making scale blocks? Well, we must be thinking along a similar wavelength. I love my scale blocks, but wanted to have more to use in group classes. Unfortunately, the budget wouldn’t allow it. Then I thought back to elementary school and those cool 3-D shapes we used to cut out and glue together. A quick internet search, a bit of finagling on the computer, and here is the result – paper scale blocks! Easy to assemble, and inexpensive enough that the students can even take them home. Use cardstock for best results. Use them for learning the musical alphabet, steps, skips, intervals, scales, chords, and anything else you can think of!

Musical Alphabet Blocks

Musical Alphabet Blocks






Musical Alphabet Flashcards

Nothing fancy with these! Just cards with the musical alphabet on them. I also included cards with the sharps and flats as well. Great for learning the musical alphabet forwards, backwards, and skipping up and down. Also use them for scales, chords, and anything else you can come up with!

Musical Alphabet CardsMusical Alphabet Cards





Cecilly’s Christmas Tree Landmark Game and Variations

OrnamentsThis GREAT game idea was posted by Cecilly on the Yahoo Piano Teacher’s List. I have made up some ornaments with landmarks, and several variations that you can use.



Ornaments with Landmarks

All Notes on the Staff

Key Signatures

Simple Intervals

Letter Names – including sharps and flats

Christmas Stockings with Letter Names – Just for something different!

Here are Cecilly’s directions:

Just a quick mention of another of my off the bench activities, this one to reinforce my Celebrate Piano student’s landmarks (Bass C, Bass F, Mid. C, Treble G, and Treble C).

It’s a “Swat the Landmark” game.

Materials needed:

1. Flashcards of each landmark note

2. Timer

3. Flyswatter (with a hole cut out of the center so you can see the card it’s slapped on)

To play: lay out all the cards face up randomly on the floor. Seat player on the floor in front of cards with flyswatter in hand. You control the timer. Set timer for 60 seconds (I use a 1 min. egg timer). At “go” you call out a landmark by name after which the student slaps at the corresponding flash card. If correct, a point is earned, if wrong a point is deducted. Immediately after a slap, call out “correct” or “error” then the name of another landmark. Names may be repeated. See how many points can be earned in 1 min. time. Slapping too hastily (and often incorrectly) will hurt the player’s total. Record their base score and then on subsequent playings, try to beat that score.

Just for fun during this holiday time, I’ve made a large simply
shaped Christmas tree cut out of green poster board. I’ve mounted it on my wall with poster putty, and then am going to mount the landmark cards randomly on the tree (like ornaments) also with poster putty. The student can then stand up to play the game. Fun fun.

Some other variations:

1. Play an interval at the piano and having the student “swat” the correct interval.

2. Show a flashcard of a note, chord, key signature, or whatever. Great for players of different levels.

Christmas Tree Folder Game

With it’s several variations, this is a great game for Christmas group lessons where students are of different levels. A Christmas tree is adorned with musical alphabet ornaments. “Decorate” the tree by matching either the note on the keyboard, bass clef note, treble clef note, or key signature to the tree. Can be played individually as well as in a group.

Christmas Tree Folder Game

Christmas Tree Folder Game





Keyboard Pentascale and Triad Cards

These are the result of some serious procrastinating on my part. I really need to finish a pile of stuff before a soon-to-come deadline, so I did these instead. The triads and pentascales are shown on keyboards. These can be used for simple identification, or print 2 copies for matching games. I made small cards for individuals as well as full page cards that can be used for large groups.

Keyboard Pentascales

Major Pentascale Flashcards – 4 to a Page

Major Pentascale Flashcards – Full Page

Keyboard Major Triads

Major Triad Flashcards – 4 to a page
Major Triad Flashcards – Full page

Tic -Tac-Toe Game and Variations

These are the first of the soon-to-be many tic-tac-toe variations. I love the idea of using tic-tac-toe instead of Bingo cards, since it is much faster to get through a game. Perfect for an off the bench activity during a lesson. There are 12 different cards in each set, making them ideal for group or individual lessons.

Directions for Tic-Tac-Toe (2 players)

  1. Print out the cards
  2. Print 2 copies of the last page (the answer cards,) each on a different color of paper. Green and blue, for example.
  3. Give each student a set of the colored answer cards. Two students play on the same “master board.”
  4. All of the answer cards are face up. Student #1 picks a green answer card and places it on the corresponding square. Student #2 picks a blue answer square and places it on the square. Continue in this manner until one of the students has three in a row of their color.


  1. Play the same way with the answer cards face down. If a student picked one that their opponent already had on the game board, they would just draw again. This would make it more random.
  2. Play like a traditional Bingo game, with each student having their own card and bingo chips. The teacher has the “answer” cards and calls out the notes. This is a good alternative to a bingo game with 25 squares, because it can be played much faster.

Thanks to Sharon for this great idea!

Tic-Tac-ToeLandmark Tic-Tac-Toe
Middle C Position Tic-Tac-Toe
Note Name Tic-Tac-Toe (Low C to High C)
Key Signature Tic-Tac-Toe

Key Signature Flashcards

Key signature flashcards with the major and minor answer on the back.

Key Signature Flashcards

Key Signature Flashcards




Treble and Bass Cards

I use these for all sorts of things. I will use bingo chips, and have students place them on landmarks, various notes, build triads, intervals, scales, or whatever else I can think of. They are great fun, especially when Hershey Kisses are used instead of bingo chips. Yummy!

Treble and Bass Cards

Treble and Bass Cards