Loads of music teachers use them, most have them in their “Kit bags” and the kids just love using them, but why??
What makes using flashcards so valuable to our learning and why do so many teachers and parents already use them worldwide. Here are four strong reasons why using flashcards should be an essential part of every music teacher’s curriculum.
Reason#1- Using Flashcards in music lessons allow you to learn “Bite Sized” pieces of relevant information at a time.
Too much information or having to wade through too much irrelevant information can be really distracting to anyone trying to learn about a new concept.
Just as an example, How many times have you tried to find some information on the internet only to get distracted with something else that catches your attention on the way. A job that should take minutes can sometimes turn into hours, just because the information is hard to find or you get distracted on the way to finding it.
Flashcards allow you to place small amounts of focussed and relevant information on them at a time which are easy to access anytime you want them. You can learn the material you need to learn without any distraction or extra time spent.
Reason#2 – You can review the same information over and over again using flashcards and then later use them to review learned material.
There are many ways and systems of using flashcards in your music lessons which enable you to repeat the same content and information in various ways. After all, our students all learn in different ways and have different ways of connecting with materials learned.
You can use flashcards as a deck of cards that gradually gets smaller as you know more information or you can use them as games or quizzes. The possibilities are endless and vary to suit your students and their learning styles. The point is that the same information is taught in different ways through repetition- a highly effective way of communicating new information.
Reason#3 – Flashcards “actively” involve you in the process of learning.
Think about the times where you enjoyed learning and learn’t the most. Were you
sitting in a “passive” style lecture where you sat and listened, nodded off to sleep in between and woke up to find you had still another hour to go….
Were you “actively” involved in an activity where you may have been asking questions, shouting out, getting excited about the content and playing games.
In this style of learning you often catch yourself saying something like “time fly’s when your having fun” and it does’nt feel like you’re having to work hard to take in and remember the new information.
The advantage of this active style of lesson is that you actually retain up to 80% of the information presented instead of the usual 10% in a lecture style “passive” session.
Flashcards are an excellent tool to encourage highly “active” learning. They encourage a student to see the information, use it hands on straight away and then recall the information later. They are also self checking so that it gives your students the confidence they need when learning information. Best of all they’re FUN!
Reason#4 -Flashcards provide you with Immediate Feedback on results.
I remember this scene vividly in my beginning years as a teacher.
It was the last lesson before one of my very hard working students had their first exam. We’d worked really hard all year on the pieces and technical issues and scales, so I thought I’d just run through a little bit of general knowledge…
I pointed to a crotchet/quater note and said “What’s that?”….
Well the student gave me a blank look and every other possiblity except for the correct answer!….
Of course I spent another hour that lesson explaining it to my student and making sure that they understood and could talk about it in their exam, but it could have all been solved if I had used flashcards consistently throughout that exam preparation time and it would have been a lot less stressful at the last minute.
Needless to say from that time on, that’s exactly what I did.
Flashcards let you know exactly what information your student does know and helps your student explain it exactly in the way in which the examiner wants to hear it.
Flashcards give you insight into what you need to work on further way before it’s too late like I experienced way back then.
If you are interested the Fun Music Company offers a complete range of Printable Music Flashcard, called the Ultimate Flashcard Set, which is also available as a bonus in our Printable Music Games product.