Baseball Keyboard Race

BaseballNoteRace     Baseball Keyboard Race

This game is absolutely the best way to identify the piano keys quickly. Even if you think you don’t have time for games in your lesson, you have time for this one! It’s fast and fun.

When I posted my first keyboard race game, I had no idea that using erasers to learn piano keys was going to become so popular! From the beginning, my goal has been to revolutionize piano lessons into something more fun and engaging by using hands-on activities that are educational. The fact is, children of all ages retain information and learn faster when the learning medium is fun.

I have never posted keyboard cards for this time of the year. I have pumpkins, elves, shamrocks, and snowflakes, but nothing for the spring and summer. So here they are! As a bonus, this game coordinates with the Let’s Play Ball worksheet, so you can use them together. It takes me so long to draw something, I like to use the art again!

For those of you who are new to teaching, here are the directions to the game. I don’t use the cards with the sharps and flats for beginners, but they come in handy when students get to that point in their music education.

Objective

  • To quickly identify piano keys.
  • To identify middle C.
  • Optional: to identify B flat and F sharp.

Materials

  • Piano keyboard.
  • Keyboard Race Cards.
  • Two tokens (Inexpensive erasers will not damage your keyboard.)

Directions

  • This is a two-player game, usually the teacher and student.
  • The teacher sits on the right side and the students sits on the left side of the piano bench, at each end of the piano. The students chooses if he/she wants to play with the “glove” or “baseball” cards.
  • Each player has one set of cards and one token, and places the their cards on the piano book rack. Shuffle the cards well.
  • The first player turns a card and moves his token to that piano key, the closest to his end of the piano.  The second player does the same.
  • Play continues with each player drawing a card and moving his token toward the middle of the keyboard.
  • The game is over when one player passes the middle of the keyboard. I like to use middle C with my young students.
  • Note: The player on the right side (treble end) usually loses, so that’s where I sit. Games are more fun for students if they win.

Why I like this game

  • My students love it and want to play it over and over.
  • It is the fastest and most fun way to learn keyboard names.

If you want to see cards for other times of the year, here are some links.

2 Comments

Filed under Games, Music Printables, Note Identification

Bunny Note Matching Printables in Color and Black & White

 

Bunny Notes

Bunny Note Matching Worksheets

Maybe you remember the Bunny Bass Notes that I posted several years ago. Well, evidently my short attention span got the better of me and I never made one for the treble notes.

So, recently I decided to complete the set.  While I was at it, I remade it from the ground up. I drew a new bunny, changed the fonts, and generally updated it. I also made black line (black and white) for those of you without color printers. My daughter tells me I should not say “black and white” because printers cannot print white. I know that, but old habits die slowly. So all you young whipper snappers, please don’t laugh at my old terminology. It dawned on me that some of my material is older (pre-Windows!) than the teachers who are using it! So I am going to continue to update my older material to bring it into the 21st century.

There are four pages, 2 in color and 2 in black line. Select the pages you want before you print them. If you don’t know how to do that, or if you have any trouble printing, please check out my FAQ’s above. 

These printables have big staves and a big type face,  so they are great for  younger students. To save on printing, I suggest you put them into page protectors and use dry erase markers so you only have to print one copy. You can store them in a binder for use next year. However, I tried to design them so they don’t use a lot of ink so we can use them in our students’  binders.

I’ve posted a lot of Easter material over the years. Go to the free section, select older free resources, and start scrolling! You can also do a search on this page to find older material. There are hundreds of free printables of all kinds you can select from. Thank you so much for your very kind donations that help so much with the expenses for hosting this site!

Enjoy!

4 Comments

Filed under Easter, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Music Printables, Note Identification

RoboRama – A Fun Robot Board Game!

RoboRama

RoboRama

My husband made some robot figures on his 3D printer and gave them to me. Since I have a lot of students who like robots, I thought it would be fun to make a game and use them.

Keeping with my piano game philosophy of only playing fast games so we can spend most of our time learning artistry at the piano, (yes, that is my goal, after all!) I created a game called RoboRama. I tested it out on my K-5 students and both girls and boys liked it, so I decided it is worth sharing. This game can be played in less than 5 minutes if you play it the way we did.  It’s over so fast they were excited to have time to play it more than once.

This is a game to review theory terms, so I made the cards in different levels, starting with primer. I actually went through all the primer level books I’ve collected over the years to make sure I was using common primer level symbols.  So keep this game in mind when you start new students. If your student is really new, you can print out several pages of just the keyboard cards and play with those. Texas teachers, the key signatures for the 5th grade of the TMTA test are included.

To allow the different levels to be easy to use, I made 2 different ink-saving colored backs for the theory cards. This allows me to customize a game using cards from several levels, and to easily put the cards back in the correct order. You can do the same thing by using different colored card stock for each level, or even writing, drawing, or using stickers on the back to help you keep the levels straight. I don’t know about you, but I have different levels of students who come back to back and if I want to use the game with all of them I need to be able to separate the cards quickly. Check out my FAQ above if you don’t know how to keep from printing the entire document.

I used a business card template, because I have a large box of business cards that I bought on sale some years ago, and I have plenty left. If you don’t have business cards or you want to use colored card stock, there are cutting lines on the edges. Here is a link to Amazon if you want to order a large box of 1000 cards at a good price that will last you years and years. [Amazon pays me a few cents if you buy something I link. It helps support the growing cost of maintaining this site.]

When I was writing the directions for this game, it seemed so complicated, but it’s really not. Actually, it’s a fast and easy game, because that is all I can think of!

Students answer a question, roll a die, and move the number on the die. They move on the green dots on the outside oval. If they land on a big green dot next to a house, they start moving toward the center. If they draw a RoboRama card, they try to knock over an opponent’s token. That’s all there is to it!

Your students might be interested to know that robotics clubs often have contests with motorized robot vehicles that are programmed to move ping-pong balls. My husband and son have made these kinds of robots and I love to watch robot contests, so that is where I got the idea for this game.

 Objective

  • To review musical symbols, intervals, key signatures, a few notes in middle C position, and some music vocabulary words.

 Ages

  • Grades 1-5, using the appropriate cards for the concepts students have learned.

 Number of Players

  • Two to four players. The teacher can play with a student, or students can play in a group lesson.

Materials

  • Game board and symbol card printables.
  • One die.
  • A different, small token for each player that stands, so it can be knocked over.
  • One ping-pong ball or another small rolling ball.

Directions

  • Print the game board and cut out the cards.
  • Each player puts their token on a house on the game board. The first player draws a card and identifies the symbol. If students do not know the symbol, give them hints until they get it correct. No one loses a turn if they don’t know the answer in my games! We are not trying to teach life lessons about winning and losing, just learning a little music theory.
  • After drawing and answering the card, the student rolls the die and uses that number to move their token on the green dots of the large outside oval, not toward the center. Players take turns drawing cards, rolling the die, and moving their token on the green dots on the outside oval.
  • When a student lands on one of the large green dots next to a house, they turn and move toward the center, playing the same way as before.  The first player to reach the center is the winner.
  • If no player lands on a large green dot, the game is over when a player goes completely around the oval and passes or lands on his starting “home.”
  • However, if a player draws a RoboRama card, he rolls the ping-pong ball to try to knock over an opposing player’s token. If he is successful, he gets 2 more turns to draw and the opposing player starts over at “home”. If he is unsuccessful, you can adjust the rules to the age of the student. The older students let to set the rules before they start. There is a big difference in kindergarten and 5th grade. Really any way you play is fine, as long as the students are having fun and learning something.
  • Students always ask me if they need to roll the exact number as they head toward the winning center. That depends on the age of the student and how much time we have. In a piano lesson, if they roll a number over the required number to get to the center, they win. In a piano camp or a long group lesson, I might require the exact number to get to the center.

Why I Like This Game

  • It doesn’t take much lesson time.
  • When I play this game with students, I discover right away what they know and what they need work on. So it is like an achievement test, only a lot more fun!

 

6 Comments

Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Music Printables, Theory

Let’s Learn Scales

 

WholeHalfStepKeyboard

Printable Keyboard (for Scales F-B)

C Scale Keyboard (New)

Last year I posted a game, the Whole Half Step Game, that I developed to construct scales on the piano keyboard. Recently, I made a paper keyboard using the same colors as the game so it will be a set. Students often have trouble transferring knowledge from one skill to another similar skill. I’m sure you’ve noticed that in your teaching. This paper keyboard is big enough so that students can use manipulatives on it to construct scales. At the bottom is the whole half step pattern for major and minor scales, as a reference.  

I’m sure you creative teachers can think of a game to go along with this printable. Please share if you do!

Before you use either of these materials, be sure they understand the difference in a whole and half step.

As a bonus, this keyboard is so large that it works well on the iPad!

So what comes first, a paper keyboard or a real keyboard? Generally, a real keyboard works best for most children. They need to go from concrete to abstract. However, some children benefit from getting away from the piano. All of us learn differently, so a multi-sensory approach is a good thing. If they don’t get it one way, try another! It’s worth remembering that when they do theory worksheets, they will not have a real keyboard, so they need to learn how to transfer information.

By the way, the Whole Step Half Step Game, which I posted about a year ago, is an excellent game to teach scales.  It’s colorful and fun, and it really teaches the concept of how to construct a scale. I know my directions seem hard to understand, but give it a try, because it’s really very easy.

Whole Half Step Game to Learn How to Make Scales

Whole Half Step Game to Learn How to Make Scales

Whole Half Step Game

Both are these files are free downloads.

You will need to have the latest version of Adobe Reader installed on your computer, which you can download free here. I am not affiliated with Adobe in any way, so I am just posting this link to help you out.

 

9 Comments

Filed under iPad Ideas, Music Printables, Theory

Write Your Own Scale Fingering

Scales-WriteYourOwn

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I have been busy making things! Sometimes I look through my website for material for my students, and I notice gaps or things I thought I posted but didn’t. That’s what happened as I was looking for the “write your own scale fingering” files.

Unfortunately, I don’t use the software that I originally used to make the files, so in order to remake them, I had to start all over. By this I mean really start all over, drawing white and black rectangles for the keyboards on a blank document. I know there are keyboard graphics and fonts to use, but I am picky and like to draw my own.

I also made some blank two octave keyboards to make whatever scale we need, such as one octave scales, natural minor, melodic minor, chromatic, whole tone, the blues scale, and modes. There is a line above each scale to write in the name. These are great for student composition. Some students like to make up their own scale. For a bonus, I made a plain grayscale version for teachers who do not use a color printer.

The idea behind the “write your own fingering” scales is that if students write in their own fingering they will understand the fingering better. Also, some teachers use different fingering than I do.

These are big files, so give them time to download. If they don’t print correctly, download the latest version of Adobe Reader, which is a free program. If you don’t want to print all of the scales, check out my tutorial in the FAQ to learn how to select pages to print. 

As usual, if you see a mistake please let me know, and I’ll fix it right away!

11 Comments

Filed under Music Printables, Picture Scales, Teaching Aids, Uncategorized, Worksheets