How to Teach Young Children About Music Notes

A staff has five lines and four spaces and houses musical notes.

Teaching young children about music notes should be both fun and entertaining for the child. Be patient with the child and play musical games to help them learn to enjoy music, as well as understand it. With children, it is important to make the games simple and easy to participate. Keeping each part of the process less than 15 minutes will help you to keep their attention and have a productive session.

Preparing Materials

Create a musical staff on a large piece of cardboard. Draw five equally spaced lines about one inch to an inch and a half apart. Use a ruler to ensure that the lines are straight and a thick black marker to make the lines easily visible.

Purchase a package of construction paper containing seven different colors. Cut the paper into small circles bigger than a quarter and smaller than a half dollar. These circles are going to be your music notes. Make sure you cut, at least, four circles for each of the seven colors. This will leave you with a total of 28 notes.

Write the names of the notes on each of the colored notes you cut in Step 2. Make sure that each note is a different color so that all the Cs will be one color and all the Ds another color. You should have the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B when you are finished. Using different colors will make it easier for the child to pick out the correct note and associate it with a position on the staff.

Cut out treble and bass clef music staffs. These will be used to indicate what staff you are using. In the early stages of note learning, stick only to treble clef. Alternatively, you could write the staff directly on the cardboard and create two staves -- one for treble and one for bass.

Teaching Process

Start by teaching the names of the notes on the spaces in the treble clef. Tell your child that when she looks between the lines she will see her "F-A-C-E." Then, explain that these are the names of the notes from the bottom space to top space.

Continue to reinforce this knowledge by asking her to select the note with an F on it. Ask her what color it is and see if she can find the correct space for it. You can make a game of this by saying that all of the spaces are missing their names. By adding the names of the notes to the staff, you are helping the staff.

Continue to test her on all 4 spaces of the treble clef. Once she gets them all perfectly, stop for the day and come back the next day to test here again. If she gets them right on the next day, then move on to Step 4. Otherwise, continue playing this game with her.

Learning the names of the lines on the treble clef staff is a little more difficult. Gather the notes E-G-B-D-F and put them in descending order on the floor. Ask your child if she can make up a word for each of the notes. Give her an example, "Every Good Boy Does Fine." If the child is very young, help them to come up with words and phrases.

Tell your child that each letter of each word is the name of each line on the treble clef. Show her that the bottom line is E, the next one is G and on up the scale. Ask the child to put the names of the notes on the correct line that indicates the note names. Keep doing this until she knows all of the notes in the treble clef.

Show your child that the notes moving from line to space spell a musical alphabet. Start with the lowest line E and go up the staff moving from line to space: E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E. Follow the same process for the bass clef. The names of the notes in the bass clef on the spaces are A-C-E-G while the lines are G-B-D-F-A. You will have to make up an acronym for each of these.


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