The Right Notes

Every so often, a bright new idea comes along in the world of music pedagogy that makes you wonder, “Why didn’t anyone think of this before??”   The Right Notes is one of those ideas.

Show of hands… how many of us find time to consistently and systematically introduce our students to music history?  Stories about the great composers, facts about period styles and instruments… Anyone??  ( I’ll be the first to admit, my students get nuggets of history from time to time in group lessons and as we start new classical pieces, but I don’t know that I’d describe my current approach as consistent.)

Now, show of hands again… How many of us require our students to have some kind of assignment journal or notebook to record weekly assignments and instructions??  (If I were to guess, I’d bet I got a lot more hands up for that question than the first one!)

What if a resource came along that let us teach music history to our students every week, through fun anecdotes and colorful illustrations built right into the pages of their assignment journals?  The Right Notes does exactly that.  Brilliant!!

Each page of the journal features a short section on a composer, instrument, musical form or period, complete with a bright illustration.   Below that is a traditional assignment notebook layout with ample space to list repertoire and practice tasks and a place at the bottom of the page for students to record their daily practice minutes.   Check out these examples (click on either picture to view a larger image):







The history excerpts are laid out in chronological order, from the Baroque period to the present.   They’re written in a style that’s accessible to elementary students (perhaps with a little adult assistance), but also appealing to older students… and certainly in a style that makes history come to life!  On top of typical background information on each composer, students will read about things like Scarlatti’s cat and Brahms’ fear of boats!

The Right Notes is available in both download and hard copy versions on the Alberti Publishing website. The hard copy edition comes in full color with spiral binding.  The download version includes both a full color and a black & white file, in case you’re looking for a way to save some printer ink! Licensing options are available for purchase of multiple copies.

From now until the end of July, both versions are available at a 20% discount!  Visit the site and enter coupon code RN20 at checkout.   Better yet… the first 5 people to sign up on the publisher’s email list will receive a free copy of the book.  Winners will be contacted by email and have the opportunity to choose their preferred version.  Hurry on over!!


The Right Notes — 4 Comments

  1. Hey Jennifer,
    After reading your blog, I went and purchased a copy of the assignment notebook. Today I introduced them to my students, and they loved it. We incorporated the composer into our lesson, and the kids loved it. Thank you for posting about about this product in your blog. 🙂

    • Hi Emily,

      Glad you and your students are having fun with it… and good to hear from you!! Are you still in the KC area?


  2. Ok, I am officially in love with your creation of a “grand staff rug”! I’ve spent the last several days pricing out the rugs designed for public school classrooms and was having trouble convincing myself that $200 was really worth it!

    Here’s a game I “created” which I’ll share with you – Note Memory. Use 2 sets of note flashcards (you need ones with blank backs). Choose the notes that the student is learning or needs to have reinforced. Shuffle the pairs of cards for the notes you chose and lay them out face down. Now you play traditional preschool memory with the cards. When I play I use the piano bench as a table. The students must name and play every note they turn over. Because it takes a few turns to find a “match”, they get to name and play each note a number of times. Good reinforcement and a lot of fun (even for older kids)! Sometimes, I even win!

    • Jan,

      Thanks for sharing! I love memory games – they’re so quick and easy to fit in a private lesson. I never seem to win, though!!!

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