During a recent lesson, I used my Ice Cream Interval Game — one of my favorite games for piano teaching — to reinforce and improve my student’s visual recognition of the intervals unison, second, third, fourth, and fifth in staff notation. Today, I thought I’d share a three-minute video clip of the activity.
Here is what you’ll see in the video:
- 0:00 When playing this game with my students, sometimes I like to hand-pick certain cards from the pile for the student to sort next, in order to build success. First, I made sure Emma could easily distinguish 2nds versus 3rds.
- 0:10 Then, I gave Emma a card showing a 4th on the keyboard, and then a 5th on the keyboard. After that, I start giving her 4ths and 5ths notated on the staff.
- 0:12 I like to ask the question: “How many notes are being skipped over?” I have found that this is a more effective strategy leading to being able to quickly recognize intervals on the staff upon sight, as opposed to allowing students to count all of the steps within an interval (for example, counting “1-2-3-4-5” for a 5th).
- 1:00 I point out to Emma that 5ths look like triads except that the middle note has been removed.
- 1:18 I encourage Emma to try to recognize the intervals on sight, instead of immediately resorting to counting the steps within the interval.
- 1:44 Emma enjoys taking note of which cone has the most ice cream scoops so far. Students often comment on this during the game, because it’s fun! Emma does it again at the end of the video.
- 2:08 Emma is beginning to recognize the various intervals upon sight, as evidenced by the increased amount of ease and decreased amount of time she uses while sorting the cards.
The Ice Cream Interval Game is available in my shop as a digital PDF download here. To read more of my thoughts regarding the important role of interval recognition during sight-reading, check out this post. Thanks for watching!