Review: NoteBusters

Contest, Reviews

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Do you have students in your studio that struggle with note reading? When I received the book, NoteBusters in the mail my first thought was WOW!!! I was not expecting such a thick book. NoteBusters is a note reading drill workbook on steroids. I kid you not.

Developed by Karen Spurney and Steven Gross, NoteBusters is jam packed with 240 one minute exercises your student can do covering over 30 notes on the grand staff. The cover page is bright and fun and the inside layout is very clean and organized. It is divided into 6 sections adding more notes on the grand staff to drill. As explained on the website, “The first three sections cover notes that appear on the treble, bass, and grand staves. The final three sections cover notes both on and off the staff (ledger line notes). Each one-minute exercise contains 20-24 notes for the student to identify.” Included in the back of NoteBusters is an answer sheet for students to check their answers on their own.

Sample pages…

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The nice thing about this book is it can be used however you need and would like to use it. Want to use just one exercise each week? Or maybe as a class in a group setting? Or maybe you want to drill several pages at a time? Or perhaps you would like a resource for a little friendly note reading competition? Regardless what your goal is for a student, it can be done.

On the NoteBusters blog, Karen has created a 3 part series of video’s for note reading that students can watch before they begin NoteBusters (optional).

There is something to be said by repetition. By the time a student is done with NoteBusters they will have BUSTED their note reading problem away.

Steven has graciously offered to giveaway 1 copy of NoteBusters to a lucky reader of FPSResources!  To enter, leave a comment on what you do to improve note reading in your studio.  Deadline to enter is Thursday, October 17th 10:00pm (mountain standard time).  (*Winner MUST respond within 72 hours of announcement or another winner will be chosen*) The winner will be announced on this blog and on the Facebook page by Friday, October 18th. Be sure you subscribe to the blog and on our Facebook page so you don’t miss out seeing if you are a winner! Good luck!

Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own. 

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  1. Claire Westlake

    I use a combination of apps, flashcards and the Bastien “Dot-To-Dot Notespellers” to help my students learn their notes. Repetition and keeping it fun is the key.

  2. sustainstudio

    We do the One Minute Club in my studio and I also let the kids play Flashnote Derby on my ipod touch while they are waiting for siblings to finish lessons. It has helped, but I am seeking extra worksheets we can add to their binders for study at home and quickly at the end of their lessons.

  3. Karla Conner

    I use a book called Perfect Start and constant review!!

  4. Loriann Hamelwright

    So far I have done games and activities I found online but I am always looking for new ways to reinforce notes since my students are all beginners.

  5. Margaret Fontiveors

    Different timed activities with flashcards (one note on a grand staff) is my go to stand by. I also really like Flashnote Derby app. Sometimes I use Joyce Lundeen’s Mr. Bass Clef Note Reading for “say and plays”.

  6. Jennifer-Anne Creekmore

    I have a middle school child that is having the most difficult time memorizing the notes on the staff. He has some special needs and we have been working on the notes in middle c position for a year. Every week we play games ( note bingo, etc.) and go over how guide notes can help us locate notes on the staff. Nothing seems to stick so this book would be a blessing. 🙂

  7. Tiffiny

    I use flashcards and the student says the note then places a gemstone on the correct key. I also have a 1-minute club. I have a transfer student who insists on saying all cows eat grass and all of those sayings. It has been difficult to break this habit and it slows her learning down considerably. Any ideas would be appreciated.

  8. Debbie Wiser

    Looks like a great tool for the studio! We drill landmark notes, use music wrap ups, worksheets, flash cards, and iPad note reading games.

  9. Carla Quelhas

    I use flashcards and a series of fun apps with games. I keep looking for new material, so this one is a good choice! 🙂

  10. Marilyn Wade

    Drill landmark notes and flashcards. This looks like a great resource!

  11. MrsLorrie

    I use a combination of note drills- 1 minute club — worksheets & sight reading to work on note reading skills.

    I would live to wins copy of NoteBusters To add to my list !!

  12. Christine Bookman

    We drill landmark notes, use flashcards, play my note games, board games, etc. We also use the Be a Star books series which has music based on intervals and patterns along with Diane Hidy’s sight reading cards.

  13. Christy

    I use my magnet board a lot when introducing staff reading. Also refer to landmark notes frequently. I also use a variety of iPad apps, worksheets, flash cards,..whatever it takes!

  14. Robbin

    I use a combination of things, but my students’ favorite is the penny game. I set a timer for 20 sections and pay the student 1 penny for every flashcard note he can identify during that time. Even my older students think they should get pennies!

    • Robbin

      That would be 20 seconds. I need to proofread before hitting “enter.”

    • Donna

      I love this idea! I have a student I’m going to try this with tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Michelle Miller

    I love doing smartie note drills (name and play) and mad minute sheets….this would be a great addition to my studio!

  16. Rebecca U

    I use a combination of the minute club and having them practice sight reading every day.

  17. Heather Byars

    I customize drills for them at

  18. Lisa Kiernan

    I usually print off worksheets and use flash cards for drill practice. I have a student right now, who despite every effort just does not seem to get it. Very frustrating all around, I think a resource like this would add to my arsenal!

    Sent from my iPhone

  19. Rebecca

    I use a variety of resources but emphasize landmark notes and reading intervallically. One of my students’ favorite games is the “Amazing Keyboard Race” in which they race a glass gemstone across the keyboard while answering flashcards.

  20. Cheryl Rytting

    We are doing note drills today in our group classes. This would be a perfect fit for my studio!

  21. Amy Sadler

    We use Flashnote Derby and a variety of apps, games, sightreading exercises, and flashcards. Always looking for something fresh and upbeat. This would be a fun addition!

  22. Geri Miller

    I use a combination of things – worksheets, card games, one-minute drills, etc. This looks like a great book for note reading review!

  23. Jane Berkowitz

    I have an under the minute club where we spread the flashcards on the floor. Also intervalic reading.

  24. Allison

    Been using NoteBusters for about 5 months now and it works great with my students

  25. Sarah

    I use timed flashcard practice, a write-on/wipe-off staff (student names the notes I draw, or draws the notes I play/name), and speed reading exercises (students play as many written notes as they can in one minute). I just today told a 7 year old student who needs additional help that I will make a new note reading game for her before her lesson next week – this book would probably be great for her!

  26. Kristina Roberts

    I would love to try these in group lessons and with students in their lessons who struggle with note naming.

  27. Carla

    I use flashcards, fun apps on my iPad and other games like “spelling” words on the staff. I would love to have access to this new resource as well!

  28. Coo Jarvis

    I use Flashnotederby Derby and Flashclass apps, various drilling worksheets for homework, sight reading, getting students to notate their own compositions. This book looks like a great collection of worksheets that would be really useful. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  29. Donna

    I use flashcards as well as have them do short sightreading activites. For my younger students, I put several notes on the staff of my dry erase board and they have to find all the “e’s” or “middle c’s”, etc. I also drill them on landmark notes. This book sounds like a great addition to my library. I would love to win, but will probably invest in it if I’m not the lucky winner.

  30. Steve Hughes

    We use flash cards, apps, my own theory note sheets, and focus on landmarks notes like everyone else. I also have them close their eyes as I call out intervals so they can visualize the staff in their head…a real brain buster!

  31. Rhonda H

    I use a variety of Flash cards, Theory Worksheets, Activities I’ve found online and just keep trying until I find the one that speaks to the student. All new ideas are always welcome. Would love to get a copy of this book.

  32. Jan

    I do the one-minute club, Pianoanne’s barnyard friends, theory gymnastics by kjos, and a few others, but I have never heard of notebusters. I am always looking for tools to learn notes

  33. Bev Conway

    I have key-sized flashcards that I use every fall with my returning students who must beat their own first-lesson-of-the-year time. I use the same flashcards with beginning students and I use bass clef/treble clef guide notes to start and gradually add more and more notes. I also use Susan Paradis’ speed drills and search and find worksheets. NoteBusters sounds like a very comprehensive approach and I’m intrigued!

  34. Andrea

    I vary my approach each month or two. I find that changing the materials up keeps students interested and motivated. Right now I am providing a subscription to Music Learning Community for all of the studio for two months. As this subscription ends, we will have group lessons featuring games requiring note reading. Around the holidays we will use some fun apps like Note Squish and FlashNote Derby. After the holidays, I will switch to paper and pencil or flashcard timed drills. NoteBusters sounds like a great paper and pencil resource!

  35. Tammy

    I use Flashcards and let students play Piano Is Fun on the computer. NoteBusters looks like a great resource.

  36. Rhoda

    I use this book in my studio –great resource!

  37. Brad

    Looks like a book that my students would benefit from!

  38. Reva

    Looks great!

  39. Teresa

    great resource

  40. Karen T

    Use flash cards, games, computer games, and apps.

  41. Cindy

    My students and I trade roles of asking pitch names on the staff and finding them on the keyboard, also using the mnemonics for learning line and space notes…quick learn for some and not for others. The more resources the better – thanks!

  42. Julie C.

    I do a one minute flash card game at the end of a lesson. The student tries to better his or her own score(number of flash cards correct in one min) each time we do it. If successful, they earn a small reward. Students are not in competition with each other, but with themselves. Would love a copy of this resource!

  43. Karen

    I use flashcards, worksheets, the Piano Is Fun pc game and many other note reading games that other teachers have shared in various blogs and websites. The kids don’t mind the repetition so much when there are many different approaches to learning the notes.

  44. Roz Gibbins

    I have my students sight read at most every lesson. They especially like it when I reward them with a goldfish cracker for each correct note played!

  45. Dixie

    I use flashcards, games, sightreading, worksheets and all sorts of different things.

  46. Caitlin Gervais

    I have been using flash cards, note spelling sheets, in class games, etc. This looks like it would be a fabulous addition!

  47. Roxy

    This week we are playing “Bats and Cats Notes” by 🙂


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