Reviews, Videos

Teaching Tool Review: Wright Way Note Finder

wright way note finderWhen I am teaching piano, one of the teaching tools I use frequently is the Wright Way Note Finder (find it on Amazon). I love this tool because it is useful for building a stronger sense of staff-to-keyboard correlation in students in just a few minutes’ time during lessons.

Watch the video below to learn more about how I use the Wright Way Note Finder during lessons. In this video, I also describe what I consider to be the four steps that our minds go through when decoding music on the staff during sight-reading:

  1. Recognizing the note’s location on the staff (e.g., treble clef line #2).
  2. Audiating (hearing in your mind’s ear) the approximate pitch (how high/low is this sound?).
  3. Correlating the note to a specific key location on the keyboard (e.g., the G above Middle C).
  4. Knowing the name of the pitch (e.g., G or sol). This step is not nearly as important as the other three steps; yet, in practice, we and our students tend to overemphasize the importance of the note names. This step is not crucial during sight-reading.

I like to use the Wright Way Note Finder to help the student improve steps 1-3.

Where to find the Wright Way Note Finder and similar tools:

  • The Wright Way Note Finder costs about $12 on Amazon.
  • Alfred Publishing offers a similar tool called the All-In-One Flashcard for about $8. As the video on Alfred’s website shows, the tool is two-sided with letter names printed on one side. And the quarter note can be flipped upside down so that the stem is pointed the proper direction.
  • Slide-A-Note is a similar teaching tool, sold for about $7 at, that shows a sideways printed keyboard for the intent of further building the student’s sense of correlation from staff to keyboard.

Thanks for watching!Wright-Way Note Finger vintage

All past broadcasts are here: To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

Reading Notation

Missing Steps to Learning to Read Music

xxl_Note_on_a_glassIn the comment section of previous post, a reader asked for suggestions with helping a young student connect notes on the staff with their names and their corresponding piano key.  I gave a response in the comment section, but thought I would share some of those thoughts with you all as a separate blog post!

Sometimes, beginners (or even transfer students) seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle for understanding note-reading on the staff.  Below is a description of how I would systematically try to figure out what is missing with a student who is struggling with note-reading!

I would first make sure the student can say the musical alphabet verbally forwards and backwards. This seems basic, but believe it or not, sometimes beginners miss this step, and then note reading makes little sense to them!

The next step is making sure the student knows the names of all the piano keys. My favorite thing to do is to ask them to find 3 C’s on the piano, and then 3 D’s (etc.). I also like using The Amazing Keyboard Race gameContinue reading “Missing Steps to Learning to Read Music”

Music Theory, Reviews, Technology

Review: NoteWorks iPad app & Giveaway

Noteworks – (Links: Free iPhone versionfull iPhone version for $4.99, Free iPad versionfull iPad version for $4.99)  

This app is designed for students to practice identifying notes on the staff and finding the corresponding piano keys.  Noteworks features an adorable little “Munchy” who eats the notes when the student identifies the notes correctly!

Continue reading “Review: NoteWorks iPad app & Giveaway”