Let’s See! What Note Could It “B?”
(How To Teach Note Names Without STRESS!!!)
By Irene Light
Okay. It is time to learn the recorder but first, we should learn our notes. Right, class? Do you know that Every Good Boy Does Fine? That was taught to your Granny when learning treble clef line notes.
Does every good boy do fine? Are they excited about doing fine all of the time? Even girls would rather have a better incentive. So, we need to update this system now!
Well, chocolate works. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge! You must point out that the ‘boy” must be “good” or else forget about the fudge. The teacher gets it instead. YES!
Now we know the treble clef line notes are E G B D and F. What about the letters F, A, C and E for the space notes? They spell the word ……FACE. (Very good, class!) That still works but only if you remember that FACE is in the SPACE. That’s easy. It can even be a rap by repeating, FACE is in the space – AH!
FACE is in the SPACE – OH!
FACE is in the SPACE – YEAH! etc.
So now we are cool and not boring but how are the kids going to remember all of this information? What should we do? Well, have you heard of the “Poke Your Fingers” game? I sure hope not since I have only taught it to my students and you’re not one of them! All right. I’ll teach it to you but only one time. So LISTEN!
First you take your right hand, which is always handy. (Sorry!) Then you hold it horizontally in front of you with your thumb facing upwards. Let’s see. You have 5 fingers and 5 spaces. Hmmmmmmmm! That resembles something like a STAFF! 5 lines and 4 spaces are always part of our right hand. That works. So now you take your left hand pointer and insert it into the spaces from the bottom up while repeating F-A-C-E until you have memorized this. Next, you close your eyes and poke a space using your pointer finger on your left hand. Now open your eyes. Can you figure out the note name? If it is in the bottom space, then it is “F.” GOOD JOB! Now, keep testing yourself and, when this gets to be too easy, switch to the lines (fingers) and point out “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.” Remember that it’s from the bottom going up. Fudge happens to be your thumb, which is why people tend to suck their thumbs rather than any other finger. (Well, at least that’s what I think!) Now, after practicing awhile, you are ready to close your eyes and poke your lines (finger.) When you get to be good at this, mix up the lines and the spaces. Getting harder???
Now you have taught the treble clef notes without the stress. For fun, and if the students get bored, have a contest and see what other sentences they can create. Many will be better than the originals. Of course, Every Girl Buys Dead Frogs isn’t an appetizing possibility for the line notes but it’s gross enough to remember. I like “Feed Alligators Children Everyday.” I wonder who made that up?
©2005 Irene Light