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Cool Practice Tip #5 with ice-cream sticks: Music Letter Names

This set of sticks is the easiest to create: Grab 7 ice-cream sticks and mark them 'A' to 'G' for the musical alphabet. (Tip: Marker ink tends to 'bleed' into the wood. So use a marker with a slimmer tip!)


Here are some practice ideas around music note letter names, starting from the easiest for beginner students:


#1 Find all the Cs (or any other letter) on your instrument (*)

Variation: Instead of naming C on repeat, your child can name a different animal starting with C for each C-note that he plays (e.g. cat, caterpillar, cheetah, chicken, chinchilla, etc.)


(*Pre-cursor activity for piano beginners) If your child has yet to learn how to identify single notes on the piano by their letter names, try orientating them to the keyboard by guiding their hands to the keys while saying "2 black keys - CDE, 3 black keys - FGAB, 2 black keys - CDE, 3 black keys - FGAB". Repeat along the length of the keyboard.

#2 Spell words using only your instrument (i.e. play B-A-G for 'bag'). If your child can spell independently, invite him to spell a word on his instrument for you to guess. Take turns to be the speller and the guesser. For older children, see who can spell - and play - the longest word using the musical alphabet.


#3 Play a Scale / Chord / Arpeggio starting on the letter that you picked (e.g. If child picks C, he will play the C Major scale / chord / arpeggio. More advanced students can be asked to play Major, Natural Minor, Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor versions.)

Variation for piano students for chords: Play all the Root, 1st Inversions and 2nd Inversions of the chosen chord up and down the keyboard. (e.g. If child picks C, he will play the C Major chord in Root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion, Root position, etc. and in reverse)

Do you have other ideas around using the musical alphabet for practice? Share them here!💡


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