I'm starting to learn that with students sometimes the most simple things are the most affective. One of the key problems with late beginner guitarists and bassists is knowing the notes on the fretboard. There isn't any magical way to learn the notes. It just takes a little time and dedication. I'm sure I'll come up with some games that are more involved in the future, but for now this gets kids out of their seats and gets them thinking. 
Walk the Line
  1. Benefit: Learning notes on the fretboard, playing from a standing position
  2. Items Needed: Guitar or Bass, Guitar Strap
  3. Setup: Have student stand in the middle of the room. 
  4. Game Play: Student faces teacher. Teacher calls out a note and student plays it. If student is correct, she takes one step to the right. If student is wrong, she takes one step to the left. Play until she runs into one of the walls!

I used this game yesterday with a bass guitar student and we worked on one string at a time. We started with simple notes, then used sharps and flats. Next I would call out a sharp or flat and she would have to play it and then tell me the enharmonic name of the note (F#/Gb). Lastly, we worked on octaves. 

I have no delusions that she went home and told all of her friends that this was the best game that she had ever played in her life. She probably didn't call her brother or parents into her room so that they could all play as a family. But, after 10 minutes playing the game she's got a good grasp of the notes on two strings of her guitar, understands octaves, and seemed to enjoy it more than sitting in the chair and looking at a music stand. That's a win in my book. 
12/8/2011 03:15:32 pm

That's really an outstanding idea. Not exactly a trip to Disneyland, like you said, but just adding the element of movement and having something "at stake" with the answer would lead to much better retention of the notes.

I'll have to get a bigger studio to try this out. ;)


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