Lines and Spaces on the Grand Staff

Do you still get confused when you’re staring at the lines and spaces on the music staff? Here’s a little tutorial to put any ignorance, doubt, and second-guessing to rest.

And, okay, so I’m a nerd. I actually like teaching this to my students, because we get to be silly and it’s just fun!

Here’s a simple chart to help you learn little “cheater ways” to remember the lines and spaces for both clefs:

These are the classic, elementary school music lesson ways to remember them, but they still work great for me, some 40+ years since I first learned them.

Treble Clef Lines:

Every Good Boy Does Fine
Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Every Good Boy Deserves Football
Empty Garbage Before Dad Flips

Treble Clef Spaces:

(No others needed, really; but do tell if you have a little ditty you use for the spaces.)

Bass Clef Lines:

Good Boys Do Fine Always
Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always
Good Burritos Don’t Fall Apart

Bass Clef Spaces:

All Cows Eat Grass
All Cars Eat Gas

My favorite is the “empty garbage” one. What’s yours? Let me know below!

Know any other good ones you like to use? Please add them in the comments below!


3 thoughts on “Lines and Spaces on the Grand Staff

  1. I’m a bit concerned about using “Good Boy” nowadays: what about the girls? what about the nongendered, cross-gendered, gender-uncertain, nonbinaries, and genderqueer? Not sure about “good birds” — what about ostriches and emus, which are flightless?

    “All Cars Eat Gas” was much more fun than “All Cows Eat Grass” — but today, not ALL cars eat grass (some eat electricity instead).

    Or is the idea that if someone calls you on the exceptions to the rule, it means they at least remember the rule?

    Also, is there a standard mnemonic for the C clef? (It seems hardest because it’s usually the last to be introduced.) One doesn’t want to repeat “good boy” or “good bird”… Is something like “Gray (or Green) Bunnies Don’t Forget” for the spaces any better than “Good Buddies Don’t Forget” or something a bit more standard?

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