Tag Archives: Music Theory

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

Step Skipping Along Game Revised

 

Step Skipping Along GameStep Skipping Along Game

I believe this is the first “computer-made” game I posted on my website to share with others.  It has been downloaded many times by music teachers all over the world. When I originally made it, I didn’t know how to combine PDF files into a multi-page document and I’ve always intended to fix that.

So I finally did!  While I was at it, I remade the art on the game board and the step and skip cards. Styles change, just like clothes, and I learn how to do things better.

I also reduced considerably the number of cards that go along with the game. Plus, I made the new cards to fit  business card size card stock, which so many teachers have asked me to do so they don’t have to cut anything.

If you have never printed the old Step Skipping Along game,  you might want to try out this new version. The directions are very simple. Even so, it is a helpful game that helps students recognize steps and skips quickly, and that makes them better sight-readers.

Objective

  • To recognize seconds, thirds, and repeated notes on the bass and treble staff

Ages

  • All students who are working on steps and skips on the staff

Material

  • Game token for each player
  • Game Board printed on card stock
  • Step and skips cards printed on business card stock, or cut if printed on regular card stock
  • Optional cards with written instructions

Directions for 2 players

  • The first player draws and identifies a card as a step, skip, or repeat.
  • If it is a repeated note, the student stays in the same place.
  • If it is a third, the student moves his token forward, skipping the note next to the one he is on. Skips will be to notes of the same color.
  • If the note is a second, the student moves his token forward to the next note. It will be a note of a different color.
  • If a student draws an (optional) card with text, he follows the directions.
  • The first player who reaches “finish” is the winner.
  • The optional cards with written instructions speed up the game if you have very limited time.

Why I like this game

  • The directions are easy and I don’t forget how to play it.
  • It focuses on one skill: reading steps, skips, and repeats.
  • It is a very fast game that a teacher can play with a student in less than 5 minutes
  • It is good for all ages of beginners.

[Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, which means that if you buy something from my Amazon store, I earn a few cents, which helps support the website. Also, it is a way for me to show you what product I am referring to.]

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Filed under Games, Steps and Skips

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