Tag Archives: Music Theory

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!

 

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

The Incredible Whole Rest – Another NoteBoy Poster

The Incredible Whole Rest

The Incredible Whole Rest

Do your students think that a whole rest always gets 4 beats? If so, they probably get confused when they are asked to add a rest for the entire measure in 3/4 time and not use dotted rests! According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Music, “The whole-note rest is used as a whole measure rest, irrespective of the actual time-value of the measure.”

I print out my NoteBoy posters on cardstock and laminate them. Then I place them on the sofa table in my studio for students to read and chuckle before their lesson. Humor has a way of sticking to your memory!

Teachers always ask me who is the note with the red cape and mask who always has a little comment to make. He is Mighty Dot, the super hero who wears black and flies to notes to make them longer. He’s a powerful guy. In my mind he has an accent kind of like Zorro, and he is an expert in rhythm and all things theory related!

If you are not familiar with my NoteBoy posters, check them out. There are NoteBoy posters on all kinds of music theory, such as lead sheet, ledger lines, and chord inversions, and they are all my gift to your music students.  My students love them! Let me know if yours do, too!

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Filed under NoteBoys, Rhythm, Teaching Business, Texas State Theory Test, Theory

I Can Count Rests

I Can Count Rests

I Can Count Rests

As a teacher or parent, you already know that children vary greatly in the ages they learn cognitive skills. I tried today’s I Can Count Rests  and its companion,  I Can Count Rhythm, with preschool children and they had no trouble writing the number of beats the notes/rests received, but had trouble drawing the notes. They also drew a blank when it came to the last section, counting the notes. So I am not recommending these rhythm worksheets for children who cannot add and subtract. The part where they have to cross out the extra rest is too complex, and it is a lot harder than the math they are doing in school.

On the other hand, a 7-year-old loved the last section the best and thought it was so much fun she asked me to make her some more examples just like it.

[I have a silly poster that helps them learn the difference between whole and half rests. If your students get mixed up, try using this printable. It really helps.]

In my last post, I listed some easy rhythm games. To keep you from having to go back,  here are the links again for simple  games to review rests and notes: Quarter Note Hunt, Fish Rhythm Matching Cards,  Rhythm Round About, Counting Up the Mountain, and the black ink Rhythm Memory Game.

I hope you find just the right age for these worksheets. They are large enough to use on an iPad or some tablet of that size. Click on the title link under the picture to print them, and be sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Some teachers in places I would love to visit have asked about a version using the UK names for notes and rests. I don’t have time to post it, but for a limited time if you will send me your email address,  I will be happy to email it to you.

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Filed under iPad Ideas, Texas State Theory Test, Theory, Worksheets

Christmas and Seasonal Printables

It’s time for the yearly roundup of  Christmas and seasonal printables from my website.  If you can’t find the directions to some of these games,  do a search or ask in the comment section. To print, click on the picture, which will take you to my website. From there, click on “download” and you will be able to download and print the file.

Snowmen and Reindeer Notes

Snowmen and Reindeer Rhythm

The Snowmen and Reindeer theme  was a new set of Christmas games I designed last year.  My students loved the colorful design. There are cards for the games on my website.

Snowmen and Reindeer Intervals

Ornament Bingo

This is a game for beginners who are learning the names of piano keys.

  Christmas Note Bingo

This year I revised this fast, easy, bingo game. It is easier to read and uses less ink.

Christmas Composing Train

Beginning students write finger numbers or letter names to write their first song.

Christmas Worksheet

Christmas Notes in Random Order

Color the Chanukah Gift

Golden Menorah composing activity

Peppermint Notes

Students can use peppermints as notes or to construct key signatures.

Ornament Notes

This is a black and white printable for students to color the names of notes.

Draw the Ornaments

Students write notes on the grand staff on this printable. To save ink, place it inside a sheet protector or laminate it,  and  use a dry erase or a wet erase pen.

Gingerboy Keys

Light up the Tree

This is a (mostly) black and white printable for students to color notes on a Christmas tree according to the names of notes on the staff. It is similar to Ornament Notes, but different so siblings won’t have the same printable.

Christmas Musical Symbols Vocabulary

Students match music vocabulary to the correct answer.

Christmas Tree Vocabulary Words

This is a quick printable that is fun for group lessons.Students try to find all the music words.

Christmas Tune Challenge

Students love “name that tune” games. I find it very helpful to have a list of carols in plain view that they can choose from. You can list your carols on this printable.

Cards for Silly Sentences

This is a different kind of game for older students at group lessons. My high school students had fun and reviewed some music terms. Be sure to download the sentences found here, and use the easier cards for younger students.

If you are looking for easy Christmas piano music, go here, and scroll way down past all the Halloween music. I have posted many carols in pre-reading notation. Have fun!

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Filed under Christmas, Games, Holiday Activities and Worksheets

Chasing the Turkey Board Game

Chasing the Turkey

After we finish taking the state theory test, I give my students a theory break. I don’t assign formal theory work to complete at home and bring back. This makes everyone happy, including me, because by now we’re all kind of “theory weary.” But there is the problem of forgetting everything we carefully learned. So I like to play theory games to keep everything fresh in my students’ minds. They don’t mind reviewing theory in a game. In fact, they like it!

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving game, I hope your students love this one as much as my students did. I don’t know if it was the farmer with his ax, using dice, or if it was the fact that they all beat me. (I must be the most unlucky person in the world!)  This game meets my criteria for a music lesson game. It is fast and over quickly, so it doesn’t take much lesson time.

There are several levels of cards included in this printable. Look at all seven pages in this PDF, and only print what you need. If you don’t know how to do that, see my last post for instructions. The last page in this set is an optional back to the cards, but I didn’t use it!

The nice thing about this game board is that you don’t have to print out the cards I made. I also played this game using note flash cards to review note names, and for beginners, keyboard flash cards. If you want to review all the major and minor key signatures, check out my key signature flash cards on my website.

Objective

  • To review previously learned musical symbols, intervals, key signatures, and vocabulary.
  • To enjoy a seasonal game.

Ages

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

Materials

  • Game board.
  • Cards with musical symbols and terms, or use your own cards.
  • One die.
  • Tokens. (I used milk carton tops.)

Directions

  • The game can be played with two or more players
  • Print the game board and cut out the cards or use your own cards.
  • Each player puts his token on the game board. The first player draws a card and answers the question.
  • 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.
  • The first player to reach Safe is the winner.
  • Optional: Write the instructions on the back of the game board for future use.

Why I like this game

  • My students loved it and didn’t want to stop playing.
  • It really helped them remember their theory vocabulary and terms.
  • By using flash cards I already have, I can modify the game for all ages.

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Filed under Texas State Theory Test, Thanksgiving