Tag Archives: piano games

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.

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Filed under Games, Music Printables, Note Identification

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

Are You a Line or Space? A Quick Valentine Activity!

 

Are You a Line or Space

 Are You a Line or Space

I am always looking for something different to do with my students, to shake things up a bit and add some fun to piano lessons.

I put a sign on my front door, “Are You a Line or Space?” This made them curious and got them interested. They all had no idea what I was planning on doing, but they have come to expect that piano lessons are not going to be the same-old thing.

I printed two staves with either line or space notes shaped like hearts. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up,  I used that as a theme.

I told them I was doing a musical experiment on lines and spaces. I explained there would be two teams, the Lines and the Spaces,  and I wanted to see which was the easiest for students. They could choose their team or pick a line or space card from a bowl to be assigned a team. I have some students who would take 10 minutes to decide, and I need to move fast in piano lessons, so picking from the bowl turned out to be a time saver for those indecisive or aprehensive students.  

 I sat them down in front of either a line or space card. While I timed them with my phone stopwatch, they placed a bingo chip on each note as they called out the name of the note. 

It didn’t take long, and students were allowed to try several times, so I could write down their fastest time on the printable I made to record the times. The more practice, the better, and everyone wanted to try it several times.  Even so, it took less than 5 minutes.

Many of the students decided to be on the “space” team, because they said spaces are the easiest. That was fine with me. What they don’t know yet is that next week I’m going to post the Are You Ready to Switch poster, and we are going to switch sides!

I hoped to have time to made ledger line cards, but I didn’t. However, you could use my mini-ledger line flash cards and accomplish the same thing. Spread them out of the table and play the same way.

Yesterday I shared this activity  with my Facebook Group, Piano Teacher FunMakers. I really wasn’t planning on blogging about it, because it’s kind of silly, the clip art is from other things I’ve made, and the printables were hastily made to get it done before my students arrived!

But, it has turned out to be fun and I wanted to share. I told teachers  I would get this posted in time for them to use it Monday, if they wish, so here it is. If you start Monday, you will have 2 weeks to play it before Valentines. Hope you have fun with it! I know we are!

 

15 Comments

Filed under Games, Note Identification, Valentine's Day

Celebrate! – a Birthday Game

CelebrateNoteNaming copy

Celebrate Note Naming Game

Celebrate! Note Game all started when I decided to update my New Year’s game. Then I started thinking that it would be a lot more useful if I changed it into a birthday game! What is more fun than celebrating birthdays! I’ve always wanted a game I could pull out the week of a student’s birthday. But I tested this game with my students when it wasn’t their birthday, so now I realize you can play this game anytime! Everyone likes to think about birthdays. My students helped me with the reward/penalty cards, and I hope your students enjoy them as much as mine did.

To make it easier on all my dear teacher friends, and, I have to admit, myself,  I color coded the note levels. The yellow stars are for beginners who are learning the notes in middle C position and the blue cards contain the rest of the notes on the grand staff. The green cards have the difficult ledger line notes that always cause students to stumble. So you can even use the ledger line version of this game at group lessons with your older students. Let’s face it, high school students don’t really want to play games with the teacher, but with a group it’s different.

There are so many ways you can play this. Every time we tested it out here in my studio, we changed around the rules.  I am going to list a few ways to play, and please feel free to take it from there. And if you come up with a version your students enjoyed, leave a comment here to share with other teachers. Email me if you don’t understand the directions.

MATERIALS

  • Celebrate! game board.
  • Star cards cut into circles, including the levels you wish to use and the reward/penalty star cards.

DIRECTIONS FOR STUDENT/TEACHER: SHORT VERSION

  • Print only one copy of the game board. You and your student will use the same game board.
  • Place the note cards and the reward/penality cards in a container. Use the level of cards that are appropriate for your student.
  • Each player will chose a color of star to cover. For example, the student will cover the yellow stars on the board, and the teacher will cover the blue stars.
  • Players take turns closing their eyes and drawing a card from the container.
  • After drawing a card, the player identifies the note and places the card on his color star on the game board.
  • If young beginners do not get the note correct, help them out. The idea is to learn notes, not win. This depends on the age of the student, of course.
  • The object of the game is to cover all of one color of stars on the game board.

DIRECTIONS FOR STUDENT/TEACHER OR GOUP: LONGER VERSION

  • Print one game board for each player.
  • Print note cards with the ratio of one page per player. The cards can be all the same color (such as all yellow or all green) or a mixture of levels.
  • Play the game as above, but the object is to cover all the stars (both colors) on the game board.

OBJECTIVE

To review the names of notes on the staff.

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Note Identification

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