Category Archives: Texas State Theory Test

Fifteen Keys – A Key Signature Game

Fifteen Keys

 Fifteen Keys

In our state theory test, students in the 6th grade need to know all of the major key signatures.  Minor keys are added in the 7th grade.  Like many teachers, I show them how to use a chart to help with accuracy and possible careless mistakes.

This year I made a board game to give students some guided practice in using a chart and learning key signatures. First we downloaded a blank chart and filled it out. You can get it below.

Key-Signature-Chart-Blank

Blank Key Signature Chart

I encourage you to use this chart with the game, too, unless your students are very experienced in key signatures. One good thing about this game is that by using the chart, even beginning students can play.

I had fun making the cards for this game.  Some of the cards have silly riddles and puns on the word “key.”  I hope your students enjoy the humor. I thought of more riddles after I made the cards, and if you think of any, let me know!  The answers to the riddles are here.*

This game is similar to the Nine Keys Game that I posted a few years ago, except that this one has all new cards,  and the Nine Keys Game only has, well, 9 key signatures, rather than 15! Nine Keys

There are 7 pages in this PDF. The last page is an optional back to the cards. You will need to print the cards separately because I formatted the cards  for a business card template, such as this one on Amazon. First, I printed just the game board on card stock. Then I inserted the business card stock and printed the cards. Finally, I reinserted the cards and printed the backs. If you don’t have business card stock, connect the short lines and cut them out. But I am so happy to use the business cards! [I also found the business card stock at Sam’s for less.]

I’ve played this two ways. The longer version has the tokens moving all over the game board, backwards and forwards, which makes it fun, but takes a little longer to finish.

Ages

  • This game is for middle school students, but I’ve successfully played it with younger students.
  •  Remove the minor key cards from the deck to play with students who are learning only major keys.
  • The game is also good for group lessons or music camps.
  • It helps if students have a basic understanding of key signatures, but it is not a requirement if they use the chart.

Material

  • Fifteen Keys, the free printable game board from my website.
  • Key signature chart, or Circle of Fifths chart
  • The cards, cut or separated.
  • A small game token for each player.
  • If you don’t know how to print individual pages of a PDF, go here and scroll down.

Directions

Fast version

  • Place the key signature chart in full view.
  • Players take turns drawing a game card. Depending on the card, they either move forward to the key on the card, or answer the question and follow the directions. Students can look at the chart to find the names of the key signatures.
  • If they draw a key signature that is not located past their token, they do not move to a key they have already passed, but draw again.
  • The game is over when a player lands on or moves past “win.”

Slower version

  • Place the key signature chart in full view.
  • Players take turns drawing a game card. Depending on the card, they either move forward to the key on the card, or answer the question and follow the directions. Students can look at the chart to find the names of the key signatures.
  • If it is a key signature card, the player moves to the closest key signature specified on the card, even it they have to move backwards to a key they have already passed by.
  • The game is over when a player draws the exact number to land on “win” or when a player moves past “win.”

Objectives

  • To learn to quickly identify all the major and/or minor key signatures.
  • To learn how to draw and use a key signature chart.

This game works on identifying key signatures. However, I have also made some worksheets for writing key signatures. If your students have trouble learning how to draw key signatures on a staff for written tests or composing, these are a lot of help!

Simple Sharps

Fearless Flats

Down a 5th, Up a Fourth

Up a 4th, Down a Fifth

The Noteboys Circle of Fifths Poster

*Riddles:

  • 3 things that need a key: House, car, scale, door, music, etc. 
  • What barnyard bird can open doors: Tur”key”.  (or Turn”key”)
  • Key signature’s favorite dance: Ho”key” Po”key”
  • What jungle animal loves key signatures? Mon”key”
  • What barnyard animal sings off key? Don”key”
  • When you are slow you may be called: Pokey
  • What kind of key can you type on: Keyboard
  • Another name for the tonic is: the Keynote

 

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Music Printables, Texas State Theory Test

Color Coded Rhythm Pattern Cards

Rhythm Strips-3

Rhythm Cards Set 1

Rhythm Cards Set 2

Rhythm Cards Set 3

I’m back from a wonderful piano camp with Elizabeth Gutierrez and the nicest group of teachers you could ever want to talk to! I am so glad I got to meet them and to visit San Antonio again. Today I am posting a set of rhythm flash cards that are *color coded* so that I can quickly pull out the ones I need. That really helps me save time.  The flash cards start at primer level and progress up to intermediate. The levels below are not meant to go along with any specific method book, but are simply the progression I made the cards, especially at the later levels.

  • Red = Beginning Set
  • Aqua = Set  2A (8th notes)
  • Green = Set  2B (dotted quarters)
  • Purple = Set 3 (6/8 and triplets)
  • Yellow = Set 4 (16th notes)
  • Blue = Set 5 (dotted eighths)
  • Magenta = Set 6 (5-note tuplet and quarter note triplet)

These cards are in 3 separate PDF files to make it easier to print just the levels you need. There are 2 cards to a page. (My web go-to guy told me not to make my PDF files too big because it might cause the site to crash.) Remember to set your printer in landscape orientation. I can think of about 50 ways to use these cards, but that is a future post. I bet you can come up with lots of ideas!

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Filed under Rhythm, Teaching Aids, Texas State Theory Test

Pot of Gold Music Game

Pot of GoldPot of Gold

I’ve been testing out my new elementary level St. Patrick’s Day game, Pot of Gold, and it is fast and fun! It is a board game, where students answer a music question, roll a die,  and move their pawn.

This is a big file so it might take some time to download.  There are 8 pages, including 6 pages of elementary level cards: keyboards, notes, vocabulary, intervals, and key signatures. If you like to print a colorful back to your game cards so they look more professional, I included that, too. Scroll through all the pages included in this file and only print what you want. If you don’t know how to print the back to the cards, check out the FAQ at the top of my blog.

However, there is a little secret to this game. It is very much like my Thanksgiving game, Chasing the Turkey.  So if you have already printed the cards to that game and you are in a hurry or want to save ink, you can use the Chasing the Turkey cards.  I made this set of cards because I like to keep the game boards and cards together so I can find them quickly.

I printed the game board on card stock and laminated it, but I did not laminate the cards. I separate the cards by level before we play. I store board games in folders with pockets that I buy on sale at the beginning of the school year. On the inside of the folder, I glue the rules of the game because I forget the rules!

One of my older students was watching his brother as we played. “Hey, you’re giving him the answers,” he said. Then he quickly said, “But I guess if you don’t, he won’t learn anything.”

“You’re exactly right,” I said. The purpose of this game is to learn, and if he doesn’t know the answer, I help him out so he will!”

Objective

  • To review previously learned musical symbols, intervals, key signatures, the notes of middle C position, and some music vocabulary words.
  • To enjoy a seasonal game.

Ages

  • Grades 1-4, using the appropriate cards for the concepts students have learned.

Materials

  • Game board.
  • Cards printed with various musical symbols and terms.
  • One die.
  • On pawn for each player.

Directions

  • The game can be played with two or more players.
  • Print the game board and cut out the cards. 
  • Each player puts his token on the game board. The first player draws a card and answers the question. If he doesn’t know the answer, give him hints until he gets it correct.
  • Then he rolls the die and moves the number of spaces on the die. If he lands on a circle with instructions, he follows the instructions, such as taking a short cut, or moving back to Start.
  • The game continues in the same way with the other players.
  • When playing with a pre-school child, let him win most of the games so he will want to play again.
  • The first player to reach the Pot of Gold  is the winner.

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, St. Patrick's Day, Texas State Theory Test, Theory

Halloween Note Board Game: Bats and Cats

Bats And Cats Notes

Bats and Cats Note Game

Wow, this graphic really is over the top! I illustrated it this way so I could show the “Card of Doom” in Pinterest. We’ve been playing the game in my studio, and my students love the Card of Doom, especially since the teacher is usually the one who draws it! Honestly, it’s good that I love for my students to win because somehow they usually do!

We have really enjoyed this game. Even beginning students who have not learned to read notes can play by using a staff chart such as Halloween Notes on a Staff.  If your students are getting ready for a theory exam,  this is a great review for that, too.

Included in this set are 3 pages of notes on staves, one page of fun instruction cards to mix up with the note cards, a game board, and an optional colorful back for your cards, which make them look more professional. Be sure to set your printer to landscape orientation.  Yes, this uses a lot of ink, but you only have to print it once. If you want it too look really good, use photo paper and laminate it.  [If you don’t know how to omit the optional back to the cards, check out my FAQ.]

Directions

This game can be played with students or teacher and student. The players take turns drawing cards and moving to the correct alphabet name. Mix up the staff cards with the instruction cards.  The game is over when a player draws any note card after the last D. It is such a quick game you can play more than once.

Objectives

  • To reinforce or learn note names on the staff
  • To learn the word “octave”
  • To play a fast Halloween board game

Ages

  • Kindergarten to grade 4 or 5

I know some of you would like keyboard cards so you can play this with beginners. Email me and I’ll send a PDF copy to you. But give me a few days, because I don’t have them made yet. I didn’t think to add them to this set because I only have one beginner, and he knows the keys now.  So we used the Halloween Notes on a Staff sheet, which he filled out himself, and I was surprised to see him learn a few note names as he played.

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Filed under Games, Halloween, Note Identification, Texas State Theory Test