They are colorful. I am all about anything colorful, and we all know that bright colors appeal to kids, and many times to adults, too!
They are inclusive. They cover practically everything a student needs to know for a very long time. In fact, off the top of my head I can’t think of anything else a student could drill! Here’s the breakdown:
Yellow: Clef signs and all notes on staff and ledger lines
Pink: Note values, time signatures
White: Musical terms, tempo marks, dynamic signs
Blue: Key signatures and intervals
They have more uses than just being boring flashcards. Because they are cleanly printed and large enough to be clearly seen, they can be used to play games as well. Use your imagination! Don’t let them seem like a drudgery, find a way to make them interesting for your students. I shared here how I am using them to help my students into the One Minute Club. They are working extremely well for that purpose!
They are inexpensive. I usually order mine through alfred.com. (Note: When you go to check out, alfred.com will ask you to select a distributor in your area. I usually use musictime.ca or sheetmusicplus.com) I hesitated at first, wondering if it was worth it to buy flash cards or if I should just print my own freebies, but the reasons I mentioned above sold me very quickly. I think I may have pondered it for about 3.5 seconds. It is a wise investment of a few of our dollars!
Here is how I present them to a student the first time. For a beginner, I usually go through the yellow and pink sections and select the ones I feel appropriate for the student. I usually will start with the notes in the Middle C and C positions. I don’t want to confuse the student by giving them ledger line notes, etc. Depending on the student I may just give them the notes in Middle C position and add the others as they learn them. I also select the pink cards that they will learn first - 4/4 time, 3/4 time, quarter, half, and whole notes, etc.
I put these selected cards in a binder clip and assign those to the student for the first few weeks. (I do send all of the cards home with them, though, so that if they get ambitious and want to look through them they can.) For a young student I assign 5 minutes a day/5 days a week. For an older student I assign 10 minutes a day/5 days per week. I encourage them to take them with them when they go places that they will have a few minutes of extra time - waiting rooms, car rides, etc. Unlike regular piano practice, these can go anywhere!
I don’t drill the cards at every lesson, but I do at most. I think that this gives a little motivation for the student to spend quality time with their flash cards during the week. They know I will be checking up on how they are coming!
I also supplement flash cards with games and activities that go over the same notes. More about that here.
I encourage you to check out these flash cards for yourself! I think you will quickly fall in love with them as I did! And I would love to know how you use flash cards in your studio.
Note: I wasn’t paid or perked in any way to give this plug about these flash cards. I just seriously adore them and wanted to share the love! There is plenty to go around!