Forgetting sharps and flats is usually not a notation problem. The issue is in your student’s fingers – they need to feel the sharps and flats, not see them.
Accidental Amnesia: Feeling Fuzzy
What most students with accidental amnesia need is not to pay more attention to the sharps on the page, but to feel for them underneath their fingers.
- Help your student to find all the white keys that are not used in her piece. For example all the Fs in a G major piece.
- Place a small pompom, piece of felt or cotton ball on each of these white keys.
- Ask her to play her piece – being careful not to step on the fuzzies’ heads.
- Over time she will notice the fuzzy sensation before she plays the wrong note.
- Practice how to find the correct keys for the fuzzies several times during the lesson, and then loan your student the fuzzies for a-home practice.
Accidental Amnesia: The Symbol Siren
This is a fun way to draw students attention to missed sharps and flats, just make sure to treat it as game. Don’t use this one with very sensitive students.
- Ask your student to begin playing.
- If she misses a sharp or flat sound your siren! (Use a button, app or noisemaker as a siren.)
- When she hears the siren she should go back to the beginning of the piece and try again.
- Tell her to imagine a siren going off at home too. You might draw a police car or fire truck at the top of the page to help her remember.