As much as I love a visually exciting studio filled with all sorts of props and piano teaching aids, sometimes I long for a room void of everything but a piano. Highlighters, metronomes, and finger puppets all compete for my students’ attention.
But let’s be honest… minimizing distracting objects in my studio is never going to happen, so instead, I use them to my advantage.
In my studio, one of the most distracting of all objects are the highlighters. And because they are the most distracting, they are also the most useful! When I need to re-capture the attention of a student who is spellbound by my highlighters, I ask him to use the yellow highlighter to mark the “D’s” in his piece, or the pink one to highlight repeating notes… And all of a sudden… we’re making progress!
In a previous post, we shared a printable that enabled you to turn everyday highlighters into Score Study Tools (find that post here). Today, we’re sharing a printable that will allow you to turn highlighters into tools that will help your young beginners internalize the idea of directional movement on the staff.
A DIY Tool For Note-Reading Fun
When teaching note reading to beginning piano students I focus on two things: 1) the position of individual notes on the staff and 2) the directional relationships between notes.
The activity we’re sharing today focuses on the second skill… teaching students to internalize the concept of directional movement on the staff. Armed with a pack of highlighters and our printable (see download instructions below) your students will have a blast seeking out stepping, skipping and repeating notes in their music. Plus… it gives them a great excuse to use those oh-so-tempting highlighters we all have in our studios!
Instructions For Highlighter Fun:
- Download our Step/Skip/Repeat Label template here. Print out the labels using Avery 5160 (regular address labels)
- Select three colored highlighters. Label one highlighter “Stepping”, one highlighter “Skipping” and one highlighter “Repeating”.
- Place your student’s current piano piece on the piano.
- Pass the “Repeating” highlighter to your student and ask him to highlight three sets of notes that are repeating.
- Pass the “Stepping” highlighter to your student and ask him to highlight three sets of notes that are stepping.
- Pass the “Skipping” highlighter to your student and ask him to highlight three sets of notes that are skipping.
- Review the piano piece, discussing the different highlighted colors and their meanings.
This activity is a great introduction to score study... a habit I want all my piano students to develop. After using the highlighters, your students will have learned to pre-analyze their pieces and will have solidified their understanding of directional movement
Note: We’ve included an entire sheet of labels so that you can create a “take home” set of highlighters for at-home score study or multiple sets for group piano classes.
Concerned About Marking Up Music?
Don’t fret! With a membership to Teach Piano Today’s PianoBookClub you can print unlimited copies of each month’s piano book and mark them up until your highlighters run dry. This gives you the freedom to have both “score study” copies as well as “clean” performance copies! Click here to find out how you can get motivating piano music delivered to your inbox each and every month for just $8 US.