Finger Numbers for Beginners
My last post was a tutorial on how to use the Skitch app with the iPad during music lessons. Above is a worksheet downloaded from my website into Skitch. It is one of the most popular documents on my website, and I recently completely revised the file. (You can click on the link for a printable copy.) I wish I had made the boxes bigger for use with the iPad, but I tell students it’s ok to write outside the box, so it works fine with young students.
This rest of this post is going to show a newbie another educational, but fun way to use Skitch. If you’re already familiar with mobile apps, you probably don’t need this tutorial, but since Skitch doesn’t come with directions as far as I know, this might help some teachers learn a few tricks.
Drawing Notes in Skitch
First open up a music staff in Skitch. You are welcome to use the Skittle Game Board that I made several years ago. I like this one because it has ledger lines. If you want one without ledger lines but with a line for middle C, download Grand Staff for Dimes. For one with just lines so you can draw clefs, use Large Grand Staff Paper. I’ve been planning on taking down some of these old graphics, but now I’m giving them new life on the iPad! It helps some students focus when there are not other illustrations on the page. Email me if you have any trouble with the downloads.
Once you have the staff in Skitch, use two fingers to make it the size you want it to be. Mine looks like this. Use the picture tool to save the size. Now it is on the home page for future use.
Now we are going to draw a note to use on our staff. Chose a color from the tool bar. Using the slider in the color tool, move the slider toward the left. If you move it to the right, the note will be too thick. Adjust it to the size you like best.
Select the circle tool and draw a note that will fit on the staff. If it’s too big or too small, don’t worry, you can change that in the next step. If you prefer, you can draw your note with the pencil tool, which is a lot easier if you plan to draw quarter notes or eighth notes.
The tool with the pointed finger is the selection tool. Touch it to make it active, and now touch the note you just drew. See the flashing dots? That means it is selected. You can modify your note now. With two fingers, pull out diagonally on the note to make it larger or come in and make it smaller. If the flashing dots disappear, you can touch your note and it will be selected again as long as the selection tool is active.
Now comes the fun part! With the note selected, you can move it all around the staff. Use your finger to move the note down to bass G and move it up one step at a time. Or move it in spaces so students can learn skipping notes. You can do so many things with a moving note! This is a great tool for learn steps and skips, note names, intervals, etc.
Not only can you draw notes on your staff, but you can add text. Be sure to move the slider over to the largest setting for text. Otherwise, the text will be too small to work with. If your text is big enough, you can grab it and re-size just like we did with the note. When text is too small, it’s impossible to re-size or move around. I don’t think the developer planned on text being used in this way!
You can have all this ready to use before your student arrives so that all you have to do is select the note and let your student move it. But if you draw the note at the lesson, it will only take a few seconds as long as you have practiced before hand.
Use Skitch Anywhere
You can draw in Skitch without a WiFi connection, too. (You need one to download graphics, of course.) Without any internet connection, it only took a minute to draw the staff below. I selected “Blank” on the home page, then used the straight line tool to draw the staff. I drew the treble clef and note with the pencil tool. Skitch automatically saved it on the home page. So if you’re on the plane this summer, you can make all kinds of things for your students!
Don’t forget you can email the parents a worksheet their child does at the piano lesson. So they can keep up with what you are doing at lessons without using paper and ink.
If you buy a stylus for your students to use, I suggest an inexpensive one that is a thick as a pencil. That will be easier for them to handle. My student used his finger for the finger number worksheet at the top. Experiment with the line size.
The possibilities of things to do with moving notes and letters are endless, and I hope that teachers will leave some comments with ideas. (Comments are anonymous.)