When it comes to reading music, knowing the note names is kind of a big deal.
Because I work with a lot of beginners, I’ve also realized how quickly students can regress in their note recognition abilities. If a 1st-year-student takes the entire month of July off from lessons and practicing, or fails to practice in between weekly lessons for a stretch, their frustration at not recognizing notes they once were able to read easily is palpable.
That’s one of the reasons I adore using note-naming apps on phones or tablets as a way to strengthen note reading skills and keep note names fresh. Not only are these apps a useful tool during lesson time at my studio for students, but they’re something parents can download and make available for their child as well. On a long road trip or plane flight, during a lengthy wait at the doctor’s office or even just for fun — your child can practice learning to read notes by sight.
There are a plethora of note-naming apps out there, but here are my four favorites.
This is my all-time favorite of the note-naming apps, because it combines the whole idea of using flash cards with your actual instrument. Students really begin to integrate keyboard geography with note reading as they play this note-naming app. You’ll want to have your phone or tablet sitting on top of your piano, and you play the note on the keyboard that is shown for you on the staff. The game times you, so students can try to beat their high score as they move through the levels, covering everything from Low C to High C (and all the ledger lines in between!).
Each race in this game is a timed test – students identify different notes and as they do, their horse pushes towards the finish line. Correct answers push the horse ahead, incorrect cause him to fall behind. While Note Rush is my favorite to use when a piano is handy, this is a fun one for “on the road”.
In addition to teaching note recognition, games are also available on this app to help students memorize key signatures and accidentals.
In this game, players figure out the name of the note and then tap the mole with the name of the correct note above his head to earn points.
Do you have favorite note-naming apps that have helped your child strengthen his abilities?
Share them in the comments!