As the year begins to wind down (from my perspective, possibly not from the students’ perspective!), my goal for a number of my 2nd and 3rd year students is to be able to say the letter-names of all the notes on the grand staff on flashcards in a minute or less. Prepping them for this last week, I noted with satisfaction that most could play the right note on the piano, but that they couldn’t necessarily put the labels (note-names) on the notes.
The idea of the one-minute club has been around for decades. I remember my mom doing it with her piano students many years ago – and Susan Paradis mentions that she got the idea from Jane Bastien many years ago. I re-read Susan’s post on this topic – she addresses a number of questions about this kind of challenge. One point that resonates with me is to make sure the students have the potential for success. It’s not necessarily for every student.
I made a quick chart and posted it beside the 50-Piece Challenge. The chart just has the names and dates for the remaining weeks of the piano year (we’re done June 23). Every week I’ll enter the time it took to say all the letter-names. I should add that all of these students have a set of flashcards and are expected to practice this every day.
I’ve tried many methods over the years of drilling these letter-names into the brains of the students. What I’ve finally settled on is focusing on the treble clef spaces (FACE rhymes with space) and the bass clef lines, by using the Grizzly Bears mnemonic and picture from oddquartet.com that hangs on the bulletin board in the studio. The low G is for Grizzly – I think they find this easiest to remember.
And, as they always seem to expect some sort of reward – the intangible life-long knowledge of note-names not enough at this stage – I’ll have to make sure the Treasure Box is well-stocked for the next few weeks. A certificate at the final recital is also in order. Susan Paradis is posting a certificate version of her One Minute Club “Membership” cards today. Be sure to check out the numerous posts that she has written about this.
I’m interested to know how other teachers may have handled this. Leave a comment and let me know :)
- One Minute Club (susanparadis.wordpress.com)