Leonie Thompson

Melbourne Piano Teacher and Pianist

Teaching Resources

SIGHTREADING Adventure Board

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 24, 2012 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (8)

The more new music you read, the better your sightreading will become!

And having good sightreading skills means you can read more new music and learn your music faster (by speading up the long note learning process). Think of it as a key to unlock any music you've ever wanted to play!

SO! Why not turn sightreading into a game!

I made a sightreading board, which I have with me in students' lessons. After pin-pointing what aspect of reading music they need to practice - like note naming, interval distance, patterns, shapes, repititions etc - I'll draw a pathway of notes with a treasure chest at the end. Once they finish with no mistakes and unlock the treasure chest, they get a prize from my incentives box.

The level of difficulty can be managed too: Chose the treble or bass clef, or both! Chose to test single melodic lines, melody with accompaniment, chords and inversions, or transcribe a Chopin etude!! All levels benefit from this.

Below are the instructions to make your own!


  • 2 x A4 sheets of paper
  • 2 x A4 card board sheets (or bigger if possible)
  • Clear contact (the kind you protect school books with)
  • Ruler
  • Permanent Marker
  • Whiteboard Marker
  • Sticky Tape


  1. Sticky Tape the 2 A4 pages together, long ways / landscape view.
  2. Attach the cardboard behind this pages to reinforce them.
  3. Take the Ruler and Permanent Marker and Draw 10 equally spaced lines, with a double gap between the middle lines (you are currently creating the lines and spaces of the grand staff. The double gap is important).
  4. As carefully as you can, completely cover the front of the newly drawn music lines with the clear contact. You can wrap the contact all the way around if easier. I find lying the contact sticky side up on the floor is easiest, then lay the music face down and smooth over to avoid those annoying wrinkles.
  5. Use the Whiteboard Marker to START DRAWING! A treble clef and Bass clef is a good place to start... Or an invention maybe?
  6. A tissue will easily wipe the board clean for the next person.

Have Fun!

Leonie x

Rhythm Activity

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (3)

This is an activity you can print and cut out, to play on a table or spread out on the floor.

The semibreves go for 4 beats, minims for 2, crotchets for 1, and quavers for 1/2. All values are depicted by their size, so each bar of 4 beats can be tested by measuring it with a 4 beat semibreve card.

How many levels high can you make a tower, if it can only have 4 beats on each level?

How many different combinations are there if you start with one quaver?

Find a partner and challenge them to a race - make up your own rules (for instance; no minims allowed, make 3 bars of 3/4 time!)

Clap back the rhythm you create! Maybe you can make a tune to go with it!

OPEN GAME HERE and to name notes and know their value, OPEN HELP SHEET HERE

Have fun!

Online Music Games

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 20, 2012 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (6)

Interactive music games are great for younger students. They can have fun playing a colourful game whilst learning important musical concepts, like note naming, rhythms, key placement, time signatures and more.

Below are a few FREE games I found online (some would look like fun if I were 5 again!)

Test yourself!

How did you go?

  • NOTE NAMING in the TREBLE CLEF - This is a fun (and bright and colourful) click and drag game, testing knowledge of treble clef notes. See what words you can make.

  • NOTE NAMING on the entire GRAND STAFF - After chosing which notes to be quizzed on (try the 'select all' button), students are then being timed and need to name the note appearing on the grand staff... This is a great one for those with a keen sense of improving their Personal Bests!

  • PIANO KEY recognition - This is a VERY IMPORTANT one for every pianist. So, the sooner it's conquered the more easily sight-reading will come, and the quicker music can be learnt.

  • TIME SIGNATURES and bars - This game is a free compose game, with play-back functions to LISTEN to what you compose! The trick is, you must know how many beats fit in each bar.

  • RHYTHM! - I highly recommend this one for young students as it not only developes their sense of pulse and rhythm, but it trains the ear to listen, retain, and repeat small sections of rhythm as accurately as possible. It also helps them to recognise small discrepencies in the different rhythms, important in their own piano playing.

  • RHYTHM reading - This game differs from the one above in that students READ (not listen to) the rhythm and then tap it out.

  • RHYTHM writing - This is a rhythm dictation game, where student get to move the correct notes onto the music. Start easy to build confidence and an understanding of how the game works, then move up to medium etc.

Thanks to www.classicsforkids.com and www.emusictheory.com

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