30+ Fun Ways To Teach The Notes of The Staff Using Technology

30+ Fun Ways To Teach The Notes of The Staff Using Technology

What’s your favourite way to teach the notes of the staff?

I’m a member of a number of “music teacher groups” – email discussion lists and Facebook groups which are a great way to connect with others and get answers to questions that are music-ed related.

“What are your favourite ways to teach the notes of the staff?” is a common question that pops up every few months or so (sometimes every few weeks!) and everyone shares the online games, videos and apps that they use to teach or reinforce the notes of the treble and bass clef.

So I thought it might be useful to gather that list in one place. I’m hoping to add to it over time, so if you have any videos or games that you use that are not mentioned below, please leave a comment at the end of the blog post and I will add it in.

Games for the computer

Here is a collection of online games and downloadable software apps for desktop computers. These can be used individually by students if you have access to multiple computers, or used in a group setting with one computer and a data projector.

Staff Wars 1

1. Staff Wars 1

A space-themed favourite among most music teachers I know! The latest version adds the ability to see the correct note when the wrong note was chosen.

Download link

Staff Wars 2

2. Staff Wars 2

In Staff Wars 2, you play your instrument to trigger your answers. Staff Wars 2 “listens” to your note and if it’s correct, the space ship will blast the note off the staff.

Download link

Whack a note

3. Whack a Note

A carnival-style game that asks you to “whack” a given note.

Online link

Musictheorynet

4. Ricci Adams Music Theory.net note trainer game

Clean, functional note identification game. Great for older students.

Online link

Speed note 250

5. Vic Firth Speed Note

Designed for mallet percussionists, this more advanced online note trainer takes key signatures into account. It’s a shame it uses a constant pitch rather than play the pitch of the note you just identified. You can also download the game from TMI

Online link

Music teacher games lines and spaces

6. Music Teacher Games Lines and Spaces

Bright coloured, simple online treble and bass clef reading online games

Online link

Word Warrior 250

7. Word Warrior

A game using words spelled by the notes of the treble clef, created by teacher Karen Garrett.

Online link

Games for iPad and Android devices

Staff Wars app

1. Staff Wars

Staff Wars version 1 (based on the desktop computer version mentioned above) comes as an iPad app and an Android version.

iTunes Store link

Google Play link

Treble Cat

2. Treble Cat

French-cat themed game based on the notes of the treble staff.

iTunes Store link

Bass Cat

3. Bass Cat

The bass clef companion game to Treble Cat. iTunes Store link

iTunes Store link

Noteworks

4. Noteworks

This agricultural-themed game (!) is great for classrooms with shared iPads because it has multiple player login options. There’s also a free version – Noteworks free.

iTunes Store link paid version

iTunes Store link free version

Flashnote derby

5. Flashnote Derby

The more notes you get right, the faster your horse runs! It comes in an iPad version and an Android version.

iTunes Store link

Google Play link

Note Squish

6. Note Squish

Similar to the Whack a Note online game, Note Squish requires you to squish the mole who’s note name matches the note shown on the treble staff.

iTunes Store link

Princess piano

7. Princess Piano

Help Princess Piano escape the spell cast by an evil witch by identifying notes on the staff with an on-screen keyboard.

iTunes Store link

Learn Music Notes

8. Learn Music Notes

Simple note identification game.

Google Play link

Note Trainer

9. Note Trainer

Identify notes on the staff with an on-screen keyboard. Includes treble and bass clef and a variety of key signatures.

Google Play link

Videos

There are also some great videos online which teach the concepts of reading notes on the staff. Here are a few:

1. Quaver – Lines and Spaces

2. Quaver – Middle C and the Grand Staff

3. Dan Barrow – Every Good Boy Deserves Football

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri1-YHJgE9g

4. TED talk – How To Read Music

5. Teacher Kelly Schenbeck Riley – How to read the notes of the treble clef

6. Mrs Dennis – staff games

7. MusicK8.com FACE

MusicK8.com Every Good Boy Does Fine

Anything I’ve missed?

Do you have any favourite games or videos that are not listed above?

Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them in to the post.

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By | 2017-02-23T15:19:35+00:00 August 20th, 2014|Music Tech Tips, Music Technology Resources|29 Comments

About the Author:

I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community – an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.

29 Comments

  1. Nancy Otto August 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I have several IWB games for note recognition that I have created. They are: Recorder Baseball, Mad Measures, Trebled Words Bingo, Tag Team Music Bingo and Music Match-Ups.

    I’m not sure if my format is what you are looking for but these games are available on my website as well as in many of the leading music catalogs like J.W. Pepper, Poppler’s Music, etc.

    • Katie September 5, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Thanks Nancy – I’ll check them out!
      – Katie

  2. Katie O'Donnell August 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    How about the floor staff beanbag game? Kids take turns to throw a mini beanbag (underarm) onto a large floor staff then they have to name the note on the line/space it lands on (or just the line/space for younger ones) to get a point for their team. 5th line is 5 points because it is a risky throw, too far past the staff is no points. Great fun.

    • Katie August 25, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Nice one! Sounds like fun 🙂

      – Katie

  3. margaret conyers August 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you Katie – will save the links. Making the process fun is important.

    • Katie August 25, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Thanks Margaret!

  4. David Turner August 21, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Fantastic selection Katie. I really appreciate your ongoing support with materials and ideas. I look forward to catching up at MTEC

    David Turner Tasmania

    • Katie August 25, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Hi David – good to hear from you 🙂
      Look forward to seeing you in October.

      All the best
      Katie

  5. Jacqui Stewart August 21, 2014 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Another app that is a good challenge for note readers is ‘Name that Note’. It is more random than Noteworks or Flash Note Derby but it has 3 levels and is based on speed and accuracy. Not suitable for beginner note readers but fun for those who do know their notes and want to test their speed!

    • Katie August 25, 2014 at 9:39 am - Reply

      Thanks Jacqui – that sounds good. It’s always useful to have some more advanced options available.

      – Katie

  6. Applications iPad musique | Pearltrees November 11, 2014 at 12:37 am - Reply

    […] 30+ Fun Ways to Teach The Notes Of The Staff. Posted on August 20th, 2014 in Interactive Whiteboards, iPads, Music Tech Tips. […]

  7. Christi November 16, 2014 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Skittles Note Name Game is mine and my student’s favourite. Each player have a staff board and 15 skittles or bingo chips, and take turns choosing a card. The cards say things like put a skittle on your low F, take a red skittle off your staff, take two skittles off your staff, place a skittle on any space, eat a skittle etc. The goal is to be the first to fill all your lines and spaces. You can play with treble clef bass clef or both, tons of fun!

    • Katie November 25, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      Sounds great Christi!
      – Katie

  8. Pauline Garrard January 8, 2015 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    NotesDeMusique is a favourite of mine on Android.In training Mode you can choose G, F or C clef or G & F and can change the parameter of notes used over 4 octaves. It is great for beginners – with a minimum of 4 notes. I also like that it has 4 notes on screen at a time, so that you can point out relationships.

    • Katie January 13, 2015 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Pauline! I don’t have an Android device, so I’m always interested in hearing about recommendations from those that do. Thanks for sharing.
      – Katie

  9. Patrick April 5, 2015 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Hi Katie,

    Have you seen any apps that teach notes instead of test them? I’m thinking of something along the lines of typewriting tutors that teach through repetition. Thanks.

    • Katie April 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Patrick,

      No I haven’t seen one like that. There are some music theory-type apps that will teach them, but not in the repetitive way you mention. I would be inclined to use an app like Flashnote Derby which allows you to choose specific (limited) notes so you can teach them to students ahead of time and then use the app to reinforce the notes. Treble Cat and Bass Cat might be worth a look at too since they start off with limited notes before progressing. Hope that helps!
      – Katie

  10. Rameshgar February 10, 2016 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Thanks. Nice apps.
    I want to add this app for older students

    http://rameshgar.com/en/sight-reading

    It could be used in browser by mobile or computer

  11. Kirstin April 19, 2016 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    What about the video “I knew you were Treble” based on the Taylor Swift song? It’s great!

  12. Curtis Winters May 9, 2016 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    NinGenius Music is a new iPad app that tests students on both note names and fingerings for every common musical instrument. It has a learning mode (which doesn’t really “teach” the notes, but shows the correct name and fingering for each note as you toggle through them) and a test mode, which features a fun ninja theme in which you compete for different belts.
    I am arrange for you to get a free download code if you would like to try it. Thanks for your consideration.

  13. Music Curriculum | Pearltrees May 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    […] Three of my favourite videos It was almost impossible to choose just three videos, but here they are. You can click on the images below to visit the pin and play the video. If you have a Pinterest account, you can use the Pin It button to add the link to one of your own boards. 1. One of favourite Youtube artists, the Walk Off The Earth group are known for their extremely clever covers of well-known songs. 2. OK Go are also well-known for making clever videos to accompany their songs. 3. Follow this board (and others!) 30+ Fun Ways to Teach The Notes Of The Staff | Midnight Music. […]

  14. Amanda August 31, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    I find my students like the iPhone/iPad app “Music Notes Go” – the game challenges players to drag music notes to the correct positions on the staffs, some levels are timed and this make the game exciting. Here’s the website:
    http://www.edlink.ca/MusicNotesGo/

    • Katie September 6, 2016 at 7:10 am - Reply

      Thanks Amanda – I’ll check it out 🙂

  15. Narzędzia | Pearltrees September 12, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

    […] 30+ Fun Ways to Teach The Notes Of The Staff | Midnight Music. […]

  16. Danese Linderman September 16, 2016 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Are there games like Bass Cat except for alto clef? I’m struggling!

    • Katie September 25, 2016 at 11:20 am - Reply

      The Staff Wars app has an alto clef option which will help you practice. You can set it up to test you on lines only, spaces only and there are a couple of different range option too.

  17. Caroline November 11, 2016 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Ive recently discovered 2 fab videos called I knew you were Treble and It’s All About the Bass both by Janette Young.

    • Katie November 13, 2016 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Yes! I like those ones too. They went viral on Facebook when they were first uploaded!

  18. […] that, if teachers are keen on checking out some interesting apps that facilitate note recognition, here is a good site that you can look […]

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