Smartie or Dum Dum

by | Apr 28, 2014 | Group Lessons, Lesson Ideas, Printables, Studio Ideas | 0 comments

I never know when inspiration will come for an idea for piano teaching.  I was at a trivia night recently and after each round of questions, the table that answered the most questions correctly got a small basket of Smarties candies, and the table with the most incorrect answers got a basket of Dum Dum suckers. I thought it was a cute idea and it inspired me to create an activity for my piano students. I titled it “Smartie or Dum Dum?”

Here’s what I did:

I have a long list of music theory questions that I use to prepare my students for a local music festival. I selected 10 questions at a time, grouped them together by week, and ask my students 10 questions at every lesson. If they answer 8 or more questions correctly, they get a “Smartie” candy and one point on their reward chart for Piano Points. If they don’t answer 8 questions correctly, they get to pick a Dum Dum sucker and try again next week. I make notes in their assignment notebooks so they can study for the questions they missed.  Now, I never EVER would tell a student they are dumb, I tell them “You are no dum-dum, we get to try again next week!”  Students think it’s fun and silly.

Here are the first 10 questions for week one of Smartie or Dum Dum. Feel free to incorporate your own questions and use it any way you want in your studio! Check back soon for the full Smartie or Dum Dum file!


Q: A note placed on the first space of the treble clef indicates what pitch?

A: F


Q: A musical staff consists of five lines and how many spaces?

A: Four spaces


Q: What two equal note values make up a half note?

A: Two quarter notes


Q: A note placed on the first line of the bass clef indicates what pitch?

A: G


Q: A note placed on the first ledger line above the bass clef indicates what pitch?

A: C (or Middle C)


Q: True or False: The note heads of whole and half notes are filled in.

A: False


Q: How many half notes can be found in a measure of 4/4?

A: Two


Q: What two note values could make up a dotted half note?

A: Half note and a quarter note


Q: The traditional piano consists of how many black and white keys? 55, 77, or 88?

A: 88


Q: What is the name of the musical syllable between DO and MI?


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