Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Teaching the Musical Alphabet on a Piano

Playing a musical alphabet game is a great way to reinforce the concept of reading music. Younger piano students also love to do any activities ‘off the piano bench’, don’t they?

Alphabet Piano Game

Alphabet Game for Piano

Teaching the Musical Alphabet 

One of my favourite piano games helps my beginner students to learn the musical alphabet using a set of foam letter blocks.

I encourage them to trace over the letters, put the letter blocks in the correct order, place them one at a time on the piano keys (having picked them randomly from my bag) octave by octave – students see how the letters can be read backwards through the alphabet.  These are only a few of the ideas that could be used.

The alphabet blocks are cut from a sheet of foam that can often be purchased quite cheaply in craft stores.

Each block fits within the width of a white piano key (approximately the shape/size of a domino, i.e. the height is twice the width).  Individual capital letters for A through to G are written using a felt-tipped pen, one on each block.

AlphabetGame

Alphabet Game

For each game, I use five octaves of letters to enable many repeats along the piano to reinforce the logic of the repeating musical alphabet.

Note: I could have used actual dominoes by flipping them over and sticking printed letters on the flip side.

Many game sets have been created in my studio so I can lend out a set of these letters for students to take home.

Having these alphabet games available for parents also creates an opportunity for them to play with their child at home to help the student practice and learn where the letters would be found on the piano.

I certainly encourage extra alphabet practice at home – this is usually after parents have been able to watch that part of the music lesson so they know how these blocks have been introduced to the student and some of the games that have been taught.

Have you created some games like this of your own too?

About the Author

Maggie George
With her husband Peter, Maggie George owned, operated and taught in a large music school/store in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, scheduling hundreds of students each week with up to 15 part-time teachers for individual music/art/drama lessons, summer camps and more.
Having sold the business back in September 2013, they returned to their home country, England, where they now teach private lessons at ... [Read more]

6 Comments

  1. Sandy

    Nice idea. I like your use of foam for this activity. I have used cardboard pieces before and they are more slippery.

  2. Brian Jenkins

    Great idea! I’m always looking for better ways to help students learn the notes/reading. I’ll give it a try.

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