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


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


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


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


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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