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15 Ways to use Magnetic Note & Alphabet Tiles in Piano Lessons

Posted by Wendy Chan on

One of this year’s new products is our color-coded musical note and alphabet tiles.

Today I want to share 15 ways you can use note & alphabet tiles in piano lessons.

Two elements that I find necessary in teaching tools are color and magnets. With these two things, you can add so much excitement to your music teaching!

I’m thrilled to announce the release of magnetic, affordable note tiles & alphabet tiles and am eager to share 15 ways to use them in piano lessons (order here). Several of these ideas also apply to our current wooden note & alphabet tiles.

What are Magnetic Note & Alphabet Tiles?

Before I jump into all the exciting ways to use these colorful music tiles in your piano lessons, I thought I’d briefly explain what they are and why they’re different.

Our wooden music note tiles and music alphabet tiles have been in the shop for a while, but NEW in the shop are magnetic alphabet tiles & note tiles made from economical, sturdy, thick foam. 

This means even more uses for the note & alphabet tiles in your music studio at a more affordable price.

The magnetic music note tiles is a 42-piece set featuring notes on the treble and bass staff, ranging from 3 ledger lines below bass clef to 3 ledger lines above treble clef. Notes are color coordinated to letters of the musical alphabet (A-G) and also match hand bell and boomwhacker colors. 

 
 

The magnetic alphabet tiles set contains 56 pieces with the color-coordinated alphabet (A-G)--enough to cover all the white keys on the piano.

Both the magnetic music note tiles & magnetic alphabet tiles are the perfect size to set on the keyboard. They are made from thick, durable foam that will not slip between piano keys. Additionally, their strong magnetic back now makes them the perfect teaching tool for even more uses. 

 

Let’s dig into some of those ideas now!

Where to use the magnetic alphabet & note tiles

Because the music alphabet & note tiles are magnetic, you can use them on any magnetic surface, such as:

  • Grand Staff Magnetic Board
  • Circle of Fifths Magnetic Board
  • Any magnetic dry erase/white board
  • Music stands (convenient for placing next to your teaching chair)
  • Refrigerator
  • Cooking sheets
  • Metal surfaces
  • Magnetic wall coverings
  • Metal bars/strips on wall

 

However, these tiles are versatile, so you can also use them as you would any music teaching resource: on the floor, on a table, and on the piano. 

 

Depending on the activity you choose depends on the place you’ll want to use your magnetic alphabet & note tiles.

Piano Teaching ideas using magnetic alphabet tiles

Magnetic alphabet tiles can be used for early beginners just learning the music alphabet to more advanced students who need visual aid in helping them with scales & chords.

1) Fill in the music alphabet blank

If you have very beginning piano students in your studio, one of the first steps is teaching them the music alphabet.

The magnetic alphabet tiles bring teaching the music alphabet to a fun, new level.

Walk beginning through the alphabet with a “fill in the blank.” 

Line up 6 of the 7 notes of the music alphabet in order. The student has to decide what letter is missing and where it belongs.

2) Scramble the music alphabet for a race

Once your beginning piano student is more comfortable with the music alphabet, mix all the magnetic alphabet tiles up in a bag or bowl and hand it to the student. The student races to see how quickly they can create rows of the music alphabet in order. Keep track of their time and see if they can beat the previous week’s record.

3) Use magnetic music alphabet tiles with the keyboard

As you teach the beginning piano students the notes on the piano, use the magnetic alphabet tiles to help your student easily visualize the letter names of the keys. You can use just one note at a time (“let’s put a tile on all the Cs”) or all the notes.


4) Build intervals, chords, triads, scales, and more 

Combine the magnetic alphabet tiles with a dry erase board to teach students intervals, triads, chords, scales and other theory concepts. 

Stack different alphabet tiles to teach student intervals. If the student needs help visualizing intervals, lay out all the notes between the interval (e.g. G, A, B, C), have the student count the tiles (4), remove the middle notes (A, B), to help them understand counting the interval.

 

Build simple triads by “skipping a letter” (e.g. A C E).

For chords and scales, line up the alphabet tiles needed on the dry erase board then draw the accidentals needed to create major, minor, diminished, or augmented chords or major and minor scales.

5) Patterns

Work with your student to create musical patterns. Hand the student a letter then ask them to find the corresponding letter for skips, steps, pentascales, intervals, and more.

Piano teaching ideas using magnetic note tiles

The magnetic note tiles will help piano students improve their note reading from beginning to late intermediate levels. 

6) Teach line & spaces

If your students aren’t quite ready to read the notes on the staff, use the magnet note tiles to help them learn lines & spaces. Mix up the tiles in front of your student then call out the line or space for them to find (e.g. “treble clef third line” or “bass clef first space”).


7) Reinvent flashcard games

Transform almost any music flashcard games into a magnetic note tile game. Even basic flashcard-type drills will be more fun as the student handles the magnetic note tiles.

For a free activity, check out our Word Cards that encourage student note spelling and will drill them in note recognition.

>>> Get free Word Cards here.

8) Match note tiles to piano keys


For the students who struggle with keyboard geography, the note tiles are perfect in helping them understand where all the different Cs or Gs belong (up to 3 ledger lines above treble clef and below bass clef). Have the student place the note tiles on the keyboard to help them better understand keyboard geography.


9) Ledger line matching

 

Use the alphabet tiles to have students match which two notes are the same in different clefs (e.g. D in bass clef and same D in treble clef).

10) Sight-singing/sight-reading


Create short singing or sight-reading exercises with the note tiles to strengthen your student’s ear, sight-singing, and sight-reading.

Game ideas for both Note & Alphabet Tiles


In addition to using the note & alphabet tiles for teaching theory concepts, they make great games. These games work well for both individual and group lessons (it will work best to have several sets for group settings).

11) Music hide & seek/scavenger hunt

Hide the tiles around the room and give the students a list of musical alphabets. Students have to find all the letters or notes. If you have a group class doing this activity, have them race to see who can gather a complete 7-letter alphabet first.

12) Music matching game

Use both the alphabet and note tiles to create a matching game. The colors will help the students out, but it will still enable them to review the placement of notes on the staff.


13) Music spelling bee

Test your students with a spelling bee! Call out a musical spelling word and have your student line up the magnetic note tiles on the board. Alternatively, you can place the note tiles on the board and have the student write the letters underneath to solve the word.


This idea works perfectly for all levels. For your beginning students, you can sort out the beginning staff notes and for your more advanced students, you can test them with ledger lines. 

Shake up note spelling by having a pile of note tiles in front of your student. Call out a musical spelling word and the student has to dig to find the tiles to create the word.

If you use this during group lessons, divide your students into teams and have them race against each other.

>>> Get free, printable Word Cards to help with this activity.

14) Music tile discard

In a group setting, divide the note tiles between all students. Call out a letter. Any student with that note gets to “discard” that note (and if they have more than one note with the same letter, they can discard all of them!). The first student with all tiles discarded is the winner

15) Music tile “I Spy”

Lay the note or alphabet tiles on the floor and begin a game of “I Spy” (“I spy treble clef F.”). If you are teaching group classes, have the students take turns “spying” and finding the correct notes.

 

To add a fun twist, get a new flyswatter and have the student “swat” the right answers.

What are your teaching ideas?

How would you use magnetic note tiles or magnetic alphabet tiles in your studio?

What games and activities would you like to try out? Please share so we can all experiment with these together!

Love magnetic teaching tools?

Get even more teaching ideas …

Here are all the links to get your studio equipped with magnetic tiles & more!

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