Pitch flashcards 1
Pitch flashcards 2
"Go Fish Pich Key" is a fingering chart for the violin showing letter names and how
to find them on the fingerboard. Plain paper is fine for the chart.
Go Fish Pitch Key
Some children prefer to use the cards as self quiz cards with the letters
penciled lightly on the back.
On the other hand, some kids prefer card games. At a certain age, getting
a cherished adult's undivided attention for a card game with a comfort
food snack is a reward in itself. The adult doesn't need to be the prime
home practice parent. The game can be a practice interlude in the beginning,
because the position we play in takes time to get muscles and mind used
to. As the child's practice stamina span increases, card games can be
at other times as suits your family rhythm.
Lowering the Bar (we'll raise it later)
The ulterior motive is that the players hear the names as often
as possible to become familiar. Who wins? Everyone who learns the letter
names. Grandparents especially have a secret "go to the next level"
button, which allows kids to win as often as they need to until they
become a force to reckon with.
~~~ In the beginning, JUST THE OPEN STRING NOTES are enough to deal
with. As those become old hat, introduce A string notes. (If enough
people nag me, I will soon add bass, 'cello, and viola sets. Some families
have other instruments in the house besides violins. In such families,
there's nothing wrong with mixing the sets and having kids become familiar
with other clefs. In violin/viola, or violin/cello families, add D string
notes first after open string notes.)
Concentration (print a double set):
Turn all cards face down. Each player turns over two at a time, trying
for a match. If no match, the cards go face down again for the next
person. For small kids, their goal is to get matches and win. The agenda
of the adult is to say the letter name of each card each time someone
turns it up.
Go Fish (print four sets):
1. Deal 7 cards to each player. The remaining cards become a "bone pile," a face-down pile to draw from.
2. First player asks a specific player for a specific pitch he/she already
has. (You can't ask for an OPEN E if you don't alredy have one.)
3. Naming cards: you can say, e.g., "B in the middle of the staff"
or B 1st finger on the A string," but since there's more than one
of each letter, you need to be specific once you are playing full deck.
4. STICKLER FOR ACCURACY rule (decide at the beginning of the game if
you want to play this way; older kids will): if you ask "Do you
have three Bs-1st-finger-A-String?" and the player only has two,
that player doesn't have to tell you there are two. He or she only has
to say "no," and it's legal for hi/her to ask you for your
lonesome little middle-of-staff B the next round. Go Fish strategies
are all fair game if you decide to go by those rules.
Raising the Bar
1. We raise the bar by adding pitches gradually until we have
a full set.
2. The next level is to note the key most used in the first half of
book one. For violin, that's A major with 3 sharps. For those pieces,
we have not F but F#, Not C but C#, and not G but G#.
........ That's two syllables per pitch, and that makes reading in rhythm
awkward. In other countries they use a naming system that adds "is"
to the name instead of "sharp." F# is "Fis." C#
is Cis with a soft C, and G is Gis with a hard G.
~~~ On every F flash card, take a "signal dot" or some temporary
pealable tab or lable (1/4" is fine) and paste it just to the left
of the note. Mark a # on the label. In all the games that card becomes
"Fis" instead of F.
~~~ All my students "read" the beginning pieces to me (without
the instrument) before playing them. As they read (and most of them
read in tune, whether they realize it or not), they are my "conductor,"
and I play at whatever tempo they read. Until they've become fluent
with the letters, they read me the numbers. Some say letters for open
strings, some say "zero."
~~~ Those who have learned the letters use them while reading aloud.
They find, e.g., all the Fs in Lightly Row and paste signal dots in
their books, so they know to say "Fis" each time it occurs.
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