Piano Puzzle – Piano flashcards that fit the keys!

Flashcards can be a great tool, but when it comes to note reading, they can cause a disassociation between the grand staff and the keyboard…that’s the last thing we want!

Piano flashcards that fit the keys

Tiny flashcards for piano keys

One way of combatting this is to have students not only tell you the name of the note, but also play the corresponding key. This is what we do with the 60 Second Challenges, and is also great for students who get confused between octaves (I have a lot of transfer students with this problem!).

piano puzzle

These tiny piano flashcards are small enough to fit on top of the piano keys. I mounted them on foam board to make sure they don’t slip between keys.

To do this I printed the first page piano flashcards on sticky back paper, stuck it to the foam board, and then cut the cards apart with a craft knife. When you’re printing make sure you don’t check “fit to page” but leave it as “do not scale” or “actual size”.

Vibrant Music Teaching members, you can access this resource inside the VMT library. Not a member yet? Find out more about becoming a member here.

There are also three black and white pages in the pdf file, if you prefer to print on coloured card and avoid printing in colour ink.

There are four colours of piano flashcards, blue, green, yellow and orange.

  • Blue covers bass f to treble g
  • Green covers bass c to treble c
  • Yellow covers low g to high f
  • Orange includes notes of up to two ledger lines

You can use whichever ones suit you, I made them different colours simply so they were easy to sort and find.

Piano Puzzle log

Each set of these piano flashcards is stored in a separate folder, along with a ‘Piano Puzzle Log’.

Students will not only use these in lessons, but will also be part of my games lending library, and students can take them home to practice. I think having a record of  what times other students got will create a good sense of competition within my studio.

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More Clever and Creative Music Theory Games

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How do you make sure that your students relate the grand staff directly to the keys?

Do you have any creative ways of making this connection? I’d love to hear all about them!

25 thoughts on “Piano Puzzle – Piano flashcards that fit the keys!”

    • You can click on either the big photo, or the link underneath it that says “piano puzzle flashcards (click here to download pdf)” let me know if you still can’t find it. It may take a minute to load if you have a slow internet connection.

      Reply
  1. I do a similar activity with flashcard and key association. I’ll show a flashcard and then the student gets to put a piece of candy on that key on the keyboard. After we go through the flashcards, I mix them up and show them to the student once more. This time, when that note on the staff is shown, they get to pick up the candy on the key and eat it. 🙂
    I really like the visual of these flashcards though. This will be very useful.

    Reply
    • That sounds like fun Tasha! I also get students to play the correct key always as well as telling me the note name when using flashcards. This activity just takes it that step further as they can see the staff laid out so clearly on the keys.

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  2. Hi! Fellow teacher here!
    I was just wondering if you would mind if I posted a link to this page with this idea on my blog? I made them for my studio the other week and I love them!
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Reply
  3. Beginning in the 1970s, Beatrice Carney produced “Bea’s Keys” — same idea as yours, but going from low C to high C, and only in black and white. I really like your color-coding idea, and the accompanying results/time chart. From all that I’ve seen, you must have a fun studio, with lots of good music learning happening! Thank you for letting us in on your helpful ideas.

    https://www.beaskeys.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words Susan. Yes other people have mentioned Bea’s Keys to me as being very similar, although I hadn’t seen them before I made these. Great minds eh? Hope you have fun with the piano puzzle cards!

      Reply
  4. Nicola- thank you so much for this idea and for the free printable! I happened to find some miniature “Jenga” blocks at our local dollar store that fit the puzzle pieces perfectly. I grouped them into 3 levels of difficulty and color-coded them with bright paint. Can’t wait to try them out with my students 🙂

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  5. Hi there! I really love these flashcards!! I’ve had a bit of trouble with my students not knowing how to associate the staff notes with the keyboard notes and this really helps! I even made a cute little set of drawers for them made out of match boxes stacked on top of each other (with a bit of glue in between to hold them together). Then I labeled the drawers with the seven letters of the musical alphabet for easy retrieval (if I want to quickly find a certain note, so the child can place, for example, all the E’s on the piano in different octaves.) Is there a way I could post a picture?

    Reply

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