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






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.

Color Coded Landmark Interval Cards

This idea came from Cecilly, one of the most creative, inspirational piano teachers out there. The flashcards have all of the landmark notes, followed by a 2nd’s and 3rd’s above and below.  They are color coded as well – the bass landmarks are green and the treble are blue.  The cards are rather large – 2 cards per page, so they work will with group classes as well.  I printed mine front and back on heavy card stock.

To print these 4 cards to a page, do the following:
1. Click on Print
2. Go to Page Scaling
3. Choose Print Multiple Pages Per Sheet
4. Put a 2 in the box for number of pages per sheet
5. You’ll get a nice preview of what it will look like
6. Push the print button, and you’re done!

Color Coded Landmark Interval CardsColor Coded Landmark Interval Cards




Interval Cards

Here is a set of 30 interval cards. There are cards with 3, 4, and 5 notes on a staff. There are no clef signs, so cards can be used right side up and upside down. This came from Mary Gae George’s Teaching Music Note Notes DVD. She has students look at the cards for a few seconds. She then takes the card away, and students tell her how many notes, say the interval size and direction in rhythm, then all possible finger number combinations the notes can be played with. Thanks to Gail from for this great idea!

Interval CardsInterval Cards