Monthly Archives: September 2010

Musical Memory Game Level Four

Musical Memory Game Level Four

Today is level 4 of the Musical Memory Game cards that I made back in the summer. This set includes some of the vocabulary words and terms that are on Level Four of the Texas State Theory Test. It doesn’t include all the words in Level Four however, so keep that in mind if you are using these cards to study for the test.

Other Uses for the Musical Memory Cards

Do you have trouble getting students to notice expression marks and  other musical signs and symbols on their music?

A few months ago my friend Cecilly had a good idea to help students become aware of the symbols  in a new piece of music. She calls that game Sign and Symbol Hunt and you can read how to play it here, or look in Cecilly’s Games category. You can use these cards for that activity.

I like to call this a “treasure hunt” and tell the students that looking for expression marks is like looking for hidden treasure. You can mix and match from all the levels of cards I’ve posted for this activity.

And, of course, you can use the cards from all four levels in the series as mini-flash cards.

Or, at a group lesson, you can put the cards in a bowl and let students draw them out. The student who knows the most cards wins. What? You have different levels in your group lessons? Don’t we all! Put your students in teams and let the older students explain the meaning to the younger ones.

As you can see, there are many ways to use these cards other than playing a memory game, so be creative! If you have some ideas, please post your comment here rather than email me, so we can share with other teachers.  Comments are closed after 30 days.

Have I left off any symbols and vocabulary words that you would like to see? If I  get a request for 8 new different words or signs, I’ll make another set of cards.

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Filed under Group lesson ideas, Music Vocabulary, Texas State Theory Test, Theory

Music Memory Level Three

Musical Memory Game Level Three

Today I am posting the third level of the Musical Memory Game, which is a review of musical symbols and vocabulary words. Today’s level includes the terms tie, brace, natural, slur, legato staccato, and tonic or key note as some teachers call it.  There are two pages in the PDF file for you to download, and the second page, which is the back of the cards, is optional.

Monday I am going to post the last level I have in this series. One of my students told me yesterday it is his favorite table game. Maybe it’s because he can beat me!

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Filed under Group lesson ideas, Music Vocabulary, Texas State Theory Test, Theory

Musical Memory Game Level Two


Musical Memory Game Level Two

Today I am posting the second set of my Musical Memory Game series. This level has the symbols of the second level of the Texas State Theory Test, but they are also appropriate for all average age beginning piano students. There are 8 symbols and vocabulary words: dotted half note, sharp, flat, piano, forte, 2nd, 3rd, and half step. I am using this set with second graders, if that gives you an idea of the age. Of course, it is also appropriate for older beginners. You can also mix these up with the level one game cards.  If you want the back to all 4 levels of this series to be the same color, pick the back you like best and use it for the entire series. I have found that a grid to place the cards really helps little ones, and you can print one here.  MusicalMemory_Grid

If you have never tried introducing theory terms before you introduce them in the student’s lesson book, you might want to rethink this. I love the fact that my students have been introduced to symbols and terms before they actually play them.

Take for instance the sharp symbol.  If you wait until the sharp is introduced in their method book, that is a lot more information the student has to assimilate in his brain for one piece, if you really want to teach the concept. You have to teach the physical properties of playing it, the visual, the concept of a half step up, and how to read it in a measure. Then you have to teach how to play the piece, including reading the notes and rhythm!

Alternately, if you do what I do and the student is already familiar with the sharp before they get to it in their book, there is a lot less to introduce at the lesson, and the student has a large measure of confidence, because they already know what a sharp is. 

So I do not wait for method books to chose the time when I introduce musical concepts. Who started that, anyway? I can’t imagine Bach turning a page in Anna’s notebook and saying, “Oh, look, today we’re going to learn an upper mordent.” I’m not anti-method book by any means, but I am trying to spread the word that we don’t have to follow a book like we’re chained to it.


Filed under Group lesson ideas, Music Vocabulary, Teaching Aids, Texas State Theory Test

Musical Memory Level One

Musical Memory Game Level One

This summer I finished up the theory memory games I started last spring for all the early levels of piano lessons.  These games are just like my Rhythm Memory Game, except they use vocabulary words and musical signs. Since I think memory games are more fun with  colorful backs,  I made the graphic for the back of the cards that you see above. Also, each level has a different color graphic on the back so I can keep the levels sorted correctly. The levels contains the vocabulary and symbols on the Texas State Theory Test. However, I could not fit all the words on level 4 because I only had 8 spaces. 

If this game looks familiar, it is the same game I posted in April, but I have changed the back sides. This time I promise to add the other 3 levels in my next posts. Last spring I was busy with recital plans and dropped the ball on the other levels.

Even if your students don’t take a special theory test, every piano student needs to learn these terms.  What better way to learn them than by playing a memory game? The student turns over two cards, trying to match the symbol with the definition. It is fun to play it with a partner, and the one who collects the most pairs wins. If there is only one student, I am the other player. The student can also play alone if you have the time.  I’ve noticed students who are good at sight reading are also good at this game, so a good memory helps with that skill.

If you would like to see how I set up and store music memory games, check out this post.  I am going to post a grid for this game to make it easier to play, so check back.

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Filed under Music Vocabulary, Preschool Music Resources, Texas State Theory Test, Theory