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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Open Strings Note-reading Exercises: A Supplement to Be An Amazing Note-Reader

Many teachers are now using my note-reading book in their classes and I hope everyone is finding this resource useful in teaching students to read and understand music notation.  In the workbook, students learn about the staff as they figure out the names of the lines and spaces for their instrument.  You can read more about the workbook HERE.

The first notes that I have my students actually perform on their instruments are the open strings.  It is very easy for students who are just starting to read music to recognize the difference in the notation of the open strings because there is so much space between each note. I ask students to make their own flashcards with the open strings for their instrument (I draw exactly how each note should look on the board and students copy my example).  This is the form I use for students to make their own flashcards:

I then ask students to put the flashcards in order with the lowest note first...then on to the highest note on the staff.  I ask students to figure out what the notes must be if they are open strings.  Students can quickly recognize on their own which note goes to each string.  Next, students can practice memorizing their flash cards for a few minutes before trying to read some real music with open strings.

I have just completed some music for students to read with only open strings.  I wrote an 'A' - melody line for the teacher to perform (or for advanced students) and a 'B' line which consists only of open strings.  I have found that students love to hear an advanced melody over the open strings.  It makes reading the music way more fun!  Plus, students are very motivated when they hear the advanced part and many go home and try to learn the harder part.  This helps students learn to read music even faster!

You can download my new Open String Exercises for Beginning Orchestra HERE.  Downloads are very convenient for a teacher because after purchasing the file, you can just print as many copies as needed each year.  You never have to worry about lost or missing parts!

Here is a sample:


  1. Hi Angela,

    I just completed payment for both the 4-Note Reading Exercises on Open Strings and the Be An Amazing Note-Reader! How do I download the documents? Thank you!

    1. I will be sending the files directly to your email. You can check it in a few min. thanks!