Gemstone Scale Cards

It’s scale month in my studio!  This February, we’ve put a special emphasis on scales – building them, playing them, memorizing them… you name it, we’ve done it!   Several of my students are preparing for spring theory exams, so it’s given us a good opportunity to review the foundations of scale construction.  And thanks to our February extra credit incentive challenge that rewarded students with a Cranium Coin for every major or minor scale they could successfully perform, even those students who aren’t signed up for theory exams have been faithfully working on their scales. 🙂

Several years ago, I made a set of gemstone triad cards to help students practice triad construction.  This month, I made a similar set of cards for students to use as they practiced building major and minor scales:

Gemstone Scales


To use the cards, you’ll need a set of gemstones (these can be purchased at most craft stores) or similar small manipulatives.   The starting and ending note of the scale are marked on the card; it’s the student’s job to fill in the rest of the notes.  

These cards work well in private lessons, or as a station activity at a group lesson.  For a little more fun, we used these in conjunction with this set of BINGO boards at our last group lesson.   Each student started with a blank BINGO board and a set of scale cards.  I called out a scale degree (i.e. “3rd step” or “6th step”), and students took turns calling out answers and marking the note on their BINGO boards.  

You can download the cards from the Flash Cards page.   Stay tuned for more new scale resources coming soon!

Gemstone Scale Cards
Gemstone Scale Cards
Gemstone Scales.pdf
Version: PDF File
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Gemstone Scale Cards — 5 Comments

  1. I am an upper elementary music teacher, and I LOVE using your blog for ideas. I am trying to teach beginning keyboarding skills to my fourth graders, and I only have one piano and one keyboard. So I used these printouts and took the gemstones (clear) and I printed out a bunch of A-G letters. I modge-podged them onto the gemstones so you could see the letters and let the kids label the white notes. Your resources are wonderful!

    • Hi Emily,

      That’s a great idea! I’m glad you enjoy the site and have found some things to use with your students. I can imagine it’s quite a challenge teaching a class full of student keyboard skills with just 2 instruments!!


      • Well, I have several xylophones so I have 2 sharing the piano, one on the keyboard, 4 on xylophones and the rest are practicing on the print outs. It works! If you know how to get me donated keyboards just let me know! :o)

  2. Jen, could you please go into a little more detail about how you use the scale cards? Do you have a chart with the Major scale pattern the kids can refer to and then give them a starting note? And how exactly does this work with the BINGO game? Are they matching the candy colors to scale degrees, and if so, is there supposed to be some kinds of pattern they end up with? Sorry, I’m just a bit confused 🙂


    • Hi Lea,

      I have my students memorize the pattern of whole and half steps in the major scale. Before we use the scale cards, I usually do this activity:, so students are already familiar with the scale formula.

      For BINGO, each student gets a stack of cards. The cards need not match – one student’s first card may be A Major, another B-flat Major, another D Major, etc., etc. I’ll call out a scale degree and each student builds their scale up to that point, then names the note on that degree. That’s the note they mark on their BINGO board (so everyone will be marking a different note on the BINGO board).

      Hope that helps!!


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