I had a request to make the Keyboard Pentascale Cards into a reference page for young pianists. Here is the result – All of the major pentascales on 2 pages. Susan Paradis also has a wonderful version of the pentascales here.
Megan, a piano pedagogy master’s student at, shared some fantastic games. I am excited to try these with my students.
I made a giant dice by wrapping a styrofoam cube in
paper. For each class I teach, I make 6 cards with the concepts we
worked on in that class or older concepts from past classes. The
cards are held on to the dice with large photo corners (but Velcro
would work too). In the last 10 minutes of class students take turns
rolling the dice and we review the concept that is rolled. Sometimes
I put a different key on each side and students have to play the
I was trying to think of a way to teach my class of 8 and 9
year old students how to be more aware of the notes they play in their
pentascales, rather than just playing the 5 notes that sound right. I
found your pentascale flashcards and started brainstorming games. We
ended playing a pentascale version of the card game “Spoons“. I made
a card with each letter name on it and instead of collecting 4 of the
same cards like in the real game, we had to collect all the letters of
a pentascale in any key. Your pentascale flash cards were spread out on the
table to help them know what to look for. When a student won and had
all 5 notes to a pentascale we went to the piano and played it. It
kept all the students thinking about which notes made up the scales
and we had so much fun!
I made keyboard flashcards and staff flashcards. We lay the
cards out on the table and look for pairs of the same note made up of
one keyboard and one staff.
For this one, you can use the note flashcards, and the keyboard cards below.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!