Using color to teach music

I have found many different programs that use color to help teach music reading to children, especially on the piano. Piano Wizard, and Piano for Preschoolers come to mind, but there are many others. Some have even used color to teach singing and perfect pitch, such as the Taneda method.

I think that using color is a good idea, and I experimented with it with some of my beginning students who were struggling to read music. I created my own color code and created a piano chart for my students. Then as either a theory assignment or as part of our lesson, I would have my students color the notes the appropriate colors. For example, they would color all of the Cs pink, and all of the Gs green. Because my students were the ones to color the notes, this reinforced the note-reading for them. One of my students told me that she loved how pretty her book looked after she colored the notes. In this manner, color coding can be compatible with any piano method.

I have created several manipulatives that I will be sharing soon that use the same color-coding as the following pdf. If you are already using a different color-system, and you want to use the games that I will be sharing, I would advise changing the colors in photoshop to match what you are already using. There is no scientific reason why I had C be pink and G be green, I just experimented with colors and thought that this combination had good color contrast. It looked pretty to me. :o)

Here are the piano charts that I made for my students. I recommend printing on cardstock, laminating if desired, then cutting them out and taping them together to make a strip that can be slid behind the keys.

In color:
color-code-on-piano.pdf

In B&W (can be used just to teach letter names, or could be colored with crayons or colored pencils to save your ink)
color-code-piano-bw.pdf

Please note:  I am not a graphic artist.  The black lines for the black keys on the piano do not line up exactly when you place the chart on the piano.  This was slightly frustrating for my younger students.  I’m sorry!  I am good at coming up with ideas for teaching, but recreating them on the computer is hard for me and so some of the print-outs are not perfect in that respect.  My husband is going to teach me how to use adobe illustrator soon…

About the Author Tamsyn Spackman

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5 comments
Anonymous says March 23, 2013

You are insane if you think color coding was invented in the 90s. LOL

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Anonymous says March 23, 2013

Check out the CMX system by:
http://www.colorcodemusic.com
For piano chords, all in 2 pages and very easy to understand. Who needs a wheel?

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Anonymous says March 23, 2013

The term Colorcode was invented by colorcode music in 1993 to develop the finest line of guitar learning software, Colorcoded notations and the CMX system for guitar and piano players. Then somebody decides to steal the copyrighted name and make his on line. Visit: http://www.colorcodemusic.com and read the all rights reserved legal claim.

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Anonymous says March 23, 2013

thanks!

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