Fun Ways to Teach Children Music Notes

Teaching children the names of the notes on the treble and bass clef staff can be difficult since they have to learn to recognize spatial relationships on the staff. It can be hard for a child to find the second or third space of a staff. With practice, these skills can be learned and the child will improve his ability to identify notes. Turning exercises into a game will greatly improve the child's ability to learn.


One of the most effective ways to teach children music notes is to provide them with an instrument. Playing an instrument requires that students have to learn to recognize where notes are on the staff. At first, they will likely write fingerings underneath the staff, but with time they will begin to learn what the notes look like and be able to identify them without resorting to fingering charts. A great instrument for a classroom setting is the recorder. It is not just an instrument for elementary school, recorders are useful for teaching music at any level.

Note Drill

Provide each student with a sheet of music that has a treble and bass clef staff. Write in 75 notes on the paper with lines underneath the notes for the student to fill in the note name. Make copies and hand the sheet out to each student in the classroom. When handing out the sheets, keep the papers face-down so that the student can't see the notes. Set a timer for one minute and say "Go." The students will then turn the papers over and fill in as many notes as possible. The student that gets the most answers correct wins.


Break the classroom up into two teams. Have each team select one member to participate. Create two staves and write 10 notes on each staff. The notes should be identical on each staff. Face the children away from the board while you write in the notes. When ready, ask the children to turn around and write in the note names. The first child that finishes will win, provided all of the notes are correct. For this reason, the second child should continue to fill in the rest of the notes since they may win if they get more correct. This way, accuracy will be more important than speed.


When you spell out the names of the lines and spaces on the bass and treble clef you are left with 5 lines and 4 spaces that can act as an acronym for a phrase. For instance, the spaces on the treble clef spell the word "face." However, you could also create a phrase based on those letters such as, "finding apples creates entertainment." Ask the students to write a letter from the staff on each line of a sheet of paper, and then tell them to create words to go with each letter. This will help them build familiarity with the note names.


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