Friday, December 4, 2020

Tricks for Teaching Sharp Key Signatures

 Identifying Sharp Key Signatures, #Music Teaching, image of sharp key signature with arrow from last sharp to name of the key.

Identifying Sharp Key Signatures on the Staff

Most music students have probably seen this simple strategy for identifying sharp key signatures. 

Look at the last sharp in the key signature and step up to name the key. As I introduce new scales to my piano students following the Circle of 5ths,  I point out that the new sharp is the leading tone or 7th note of the scale to reinforce this pattern on the piano keys in addition to the staff notation.

Click here for a free printable Key Signature Poster

G (new sharp F#)

D (F#, new sharp C#)

A (F#, C#, new sharp G#)


Sharps in Scales

This trick that my first piano teacher introduced to me has been an even more unforgettable memory aid when it comes to playing scales without having the key signature in front of you.  It's especially effective with kinesthetic and visual learners.  The number of pencil strokes it takes to write each letter helps you know how many sharps are in the scale.

One of my favorite practical applications of key signatures is having students improvise in different keys with MusicClock or Backing Tracks.  It really gets them moving beyond key recognition to feeling the keys under their fingers. 

Related Posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment