Making Music on a Chalkboard

Early morning. I’m in that stage where I’m just beginning to ease out of sleep into wakefulness. And what flashes through my foggy mind? Being in music class as a kid and wishing I could use the cool chalk holder thingy that the teacher employed to draw the musical staff on the chalkboard. Remember those? They were wire contraptions attached to a wooden handle and there were 5 holders for chalk. The teacher would glide the chalk across the board and suddenly there was a musical staff. The next thing to appear would be the treble clef, then notes, measures, sharps and flats.

I wanted one. Or rather, I wanted to be able to walk up to the front of the classroom, take that holder in my hands and make a muscial staff magically appear. (I was that kind of kid – always wanted to write on the chalkboard, be class monitor, that kind of thing,)

I hadn’t thought of them in years and assumed they were no longer in use. Because I now think that anything used in my childhood must be vintage and retro nowadays. (If I see one more item from my childhood labeled “Antique” on Craigslist, I am going to scream.) Surely there must be some new high-tech way of drawing a staff?

So, hoping to find a photo of one, I googled ‘musical staff chalk’ and found lots of them available. New ones. On eBay, on Amazon, everywhere. Teachers are still using them. Sigh of happiness.

This one is made by Quartet. It’s officially called a Wood Music Staff Liner.

I want one. I could use it on my chalkboard.

I could pretend I was the Music Teacher. I could compose a little melody.

But even better? Finding a vintage liner. I could hang it on my wall. Wouldn’t that be cool? I suppose if I can’t find a vintage liner, I could ‘age’ a new one. But I like vintage, as you know.

One sleepy thought = a search and a Friday post.

Thanks for all the wonderful tips on getting back to sleep. It looks like I am in good company. So many of us struggle with this. And I can’t blame it on menopause because that particular pain-in-the-tush is over, thank goodness.  In fact, next Wednesday is my birthday and it’s rather a big one.

How can that be? I’m still around 39 in my head and heart.

I’m wearing black that day.

I’ll be back at 8:00 EST with A Favorite Thing.

Happy Friday.


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  1. says

    Oh- You were ME in school. I totally wanted to do that type of thing, too. I do remember those music line things. How cool that they are still available. I hope you get one- Blessings for your Friday- and big birthdays are the best- it means you made it through another decade! xo Diana

  2. says

    Menopause is NEVER over as my hubby says! I think it’s the excuse I use for being so persnickety, sugar, as I am definitely THAT!

    I’ve always wanted to be old and have grand- and great-grand kids, and I’m now at that age. Getting older doesn’t bother me one bit as I’ve always been 25 in my head. Everyone tells me that also, even my granddaughter who is 32. We’ll be having Juliet come in a few weeks from now and we can’t wait for the 2nd great grand. I’ve never, ever let age get me down, only when I experience the “effects on the body” do I get a bit wistful, but never in my head. I’ll always be 25. Even my hubby says when he looks at me, he always sees that bride coming down the steps. He’s a kind man! LOL But, truly, age is definitely in the head and in mine, I’m a young woman.


    • Claudia says

      I feel pretty young, too, Connie. Sometimes the aching in my hip or lower back tells a different story – but basically, I’m still in my thirties.

  3. says

    I don’t remember those. Where was I? Probably ditching class. I was never good at sitting still. And often scurried out the door while the teacher’s back was turned. I know: BAD!

  4. Judy says

    Claudia, what a delightful Post! Maybe you should be a little worried about how much you think like I do. Probably why your still my first” “click” every morning! Judy A-

  5. Mary D. says

    Hi Claudia,
    Next Wednesday is my birthday! I knew we had a connection.
    I had totally forgotten about the music staff liner. I now have a vague picture of the teacher using one during out music class.
    Thanks for the memory.

  6. says

    Hurry and find your vintage liner (thanks for the reminder… had forgotten all about those amazing contraptions). If you find one by Wednesday you can load it up with fresh chalk and hand it to Don. Wear black as planned and spin while Don holds the liner… you’ll have a striped birthday outfit!!

    Don’t stress about the number… rejoice that you’re still here to celebrate another one. :)

  7. says

    Oh, Claudia, I can see us now…both of us waving our hands frantically to be chosen as…classroom monitor, attendance taker, message bearer to the office, escort of sick student to nurse’s office, first person to answer the question (unless it was a math question lol!)….you name it, I wanted to be it! And oh how I loved music class…Mrs. Nelson, with her purple dress, purple handbag and matching shoes, bright red lipstick and rhinestone brooch, her handy dandy music staff liner and her RCA Victor vinyl LP records of Amahl and the Night Visitors. Heaven!

    • Claudia says

      Oh yes – I wanted to do everything you’ve listed – and more! And math? No answer from me – I was always dreading it. But everything else? Hand raised frantically. Love Amahl and the NIght Visitors. And the Nutcracker Suite. Lots of time spent listening to those two LPs.

  8. Renée says

    I believe this is the first time I have commented…but I absolutely have to. Why? Because
    I’m not too many years behind you in age and I refuse to buy into the black birthdays! Each day, each year is to be celebrated and enjoyed! Get yourself dressed up in your favorite outfit, thank your God for another beautiful day, and enjoy your birthday!

    • Claudia says

      Oh, I will. I find the time leading up to the birthday is the hardest. The actual day? Not so bad. I already have my present but Don and I will do something fun together.

  9. Susan says

    Just wished my 26 years old niece and nephew happy birthday. And remarked to them to enjoy their youth because it will go quickly. Of course they have no concept of what I mean anymore then I did at that age when my mother made remarks like that to me. You wear black if you want and rail against the coming of the night if you feel like it. After all it is your right to celebrate however you want. Like so many of us past our prime (whatever the hell that means) I feel like I am in my thirties and don’t recognize the woman who stares back at me from my mirror. I love your blog and early Happy Birthday.

  10. says

    Hi Claudia!
    I sometimes wake like that with a little bit of residual dream lingering in my mind.
    Your post reminded me of my childhood too. While I remember the music teacher drawing lines and notes on the board–my first recollection of ever seeing one of those chalkboard gadgets…was in 1st grade. If you remove the 2 inside pieces of chalk you can make lines for writing ‘LETTERS’. My teacher used the same thing to draw lines and then show us the strokes it took to write the ALPHABET…and later in 3rd grade…CURSIVE!
    I always wanted to write pretty like my teacher. :)

    • Claudia says

      I forgot all about that, Pat! Yes, of course, the teacher could draw 3 lines and we could practice our cursive writing!

  11. Annette Tracy says

    As for me I have no musical ability whatsoever and don’t even recall having music classes or instruction at all in school. I love that diagram of the piano you have. That is just awesome. As for me, I just celebrated my 3rd 23rd BD, and I have no idea where the time went. You’ll be lovely in your black dress dancing with Don.

  12. Donnamae says

    I remember that music chalk holder thingy! Oh I thought that was the neatest thing! And of course, it’s vintage…but we’re all becoming vintage too. And I’m here to tell you, that’s a good thing! (I’m older than you by a bit.). And, wearing black doesn’t help!! 😉

  13. says

    I remember those chalk liners and loved them too! It was almost high-tech in my low tech world! My mother actually became a teacher because she loved how her teacher would roll the chalk between her hands and it would, “click, click, click” on her rings!

    White boards aren’t nearly as thought provoking as chalkboards!

  14. says

    Oh, I really coveted those, and yes I always wanted to write on the chalkboard and be the class monitor, too. I was a pick me, pick me kind of girl. Hooray that something we loved doesn’t have to be vintage. I guess I am 2 years older than you. Once you get over that hump, it’s just like any other age (except a few more aches and pains )


  15. says

    This chalk holder is a wonderful tool. I’ve never seen one in my life, and I am sure that my colleagues from school haven’t seen and used one either. :-) Maybe I can make one myself? :-))

  16. Maria S. says

    Did your teacher have two types of chalkboard erasers? One was the short kind that didn’t do a very good job of removing the chalk but the other one…ah, that one was magic! It was twice as long as the other eraser and I think it had some sort ofchamois material. It seemed to make the chalkboard look like new!!! I had completely forgotten about those liners. Thanks for remembering that. Love-love random memories! :) As for vintage birthdays, I’d rather be a “Mabel” over a plastic wannabe any day :)

    • Claudia says

      Oh my, I forgot about that! Yes, I distinctly remember that second eraser – it was so much better!

  17. says

    I do remember those, Claudia. Don’t give it a second thought. We’re not vintage. We’re in our prime. Oh, if they only younger people would let themselves learn lessons of those who have gone before. We could teach them a few things, couldn’t we? I wish I had been smart enough to listen when I was younger.

  18. JudyT says

    I remember those — and that round thing the music teacher used to have that she blew into to give us the first note of a song. I have no idea what it is called but we used to play school and use thin mint cookies as our music starter.

    • Jan Lehman says

      JudyT – called a Pitch Pipe. Oh, my… the good old days of music classes…thanks for the reminder, claudia

    • Claudia says

      Yes, Jan beat me to it. It’s a pitch pipe. I still use them at times! I love that you used thin mints! I would have eaten mine immediately!

  19. says

    My teachers used a staff liner. I’m happilly suprised you discovered that they still make and sell them! Nowadays in some music schools the blackboards (which are now GREEN) have staff lines painted on at intervals. I love items that remind me of my school days and childhood. I always wished I’d be picked to clap the erasers together on the fire escape steps to get the chalkdust out of them, but I never was. *sigh*

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