Ledger lines are a concept that can make reading notes frustrating for new learners. I’ve found it is best to introduce the concept numerous times before they start seeing it in music and in as many different ways as possible. So I’ve compiled a grouping of ways that I teach and review the concept of ledger lines. Many are ideas created by other great music teachers. The links to their work are included.
I often show this video as a basic introduction to ledger lines.
My most basic introduction to ledger lines starts with this print out. I have laminated mine and I use a dry erase marker so that I have it available to use whenever a student reaches the point that I feel they are ready to discuss ledger lines.
I help my students draw in the staff lines, then put in ledger lines. We talk about how a ledger line goes on every other note. Sometimes we will erase the ledger lines and I’ll have them use toothpicks to add them back in. Sometimes I use a small frog figurine and ask them to “jump” the from from ledger line to ledger line like it is jumping on a lily pad. As they jump they say the names of the notes. Another way we have used this sheet is with note flashcards. I’ll show them a note and they use a cute eraser or some other marker to cover the correct note on the page. All of these “games” just help them become comfortable with seeing the ledger line notes.
The Chase: Ledger Line Game
Many of my students love this game. My own kids will pull it out and time themselves to see how fast they can complete it. This is ideal for increasing their ability to read ledger lines when they see them in music.
It was created by Teach Piano Today and can be found on their website teachpianotoday.com. It is also super easy to set up and they have a video tutorial on how to play.
I try to send emails with some follow up information and I like to include online games that can help reinforce concepts we learned. The games found on musicteachersgames.com are easy to use and quick. I like these in particular because the student gets to see the note and hear it.
Games from Music Tech Teacher
Ledger Line Flash Cards
These mini flash cards from Susan Paradis featuring ledger lines are a go to item in my piano teaching. I printed the set twice and laminated them. I use both sets to set up a matching game, or I’ll set up a “bingo” grid and use the other set to draw a card and call the note (students use cute erasers as their bingo markers. I’ll often let them take home an eraser if they get a bingo.) For bingo you can play at multiple levels. For beginners to ledger lines I’ll show them the card and they just match to right one and we both figure out the note name. For students who have been working a little longer with ledger lines I’ll just say a note name and they have to find the correct note. These flashcards also make a great “gift” to send home with your student so they can play games and practice.