Member Submission:

Helen Jacob Stein

Many years ago, at holiday time when I had a few spare days, I made a set of felt shapes that “stuck” to a felt board (backed with cardboard). The only tool needed is a pair of sharp scissors, and materials were all from a dollar store or craft store. There were multicoloured ovals, sticks/lines about 2 inches long, longer 3-4-inch lines, letters A-G, sharps, and flats – all the components of written music notation, but in an extra fun format!


They got stored for a long time when I moved and I forgot how fun they were. I focused on other ways of teaching notation, mostly books printed in black-and-white.

Recently I got them out again and started using them in private lessons and group classes, and the kids love them! We make Twinkle rhythms with sixteenth notes, eighth notes, and quarter notes, capital letters for naming notes, and finger numbers, etc.

I notice that the motivation now comes from the kids themselves, rather than from me or their parents. The felt shapes are more like toys they can play with than duty-driven “work”.

Does anyone else have an experience like this they can share?