Tag Archives: piano teaching games

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

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Games, Music Printables, Note Identification

Christmas Lights

Musical Christmas Lights Musical Christmas Lights

Musical Christmas Lights is an update of my old Christmas game. This is a bingo-type game for students who can identify notes up to sixteenth notes. The remainder of the symbols are from beginning to about level 2.

I remade it using a lot less ink. I also remade all the graphics so they looked fresher, and added a fermata to the game! For teachers who have to use black ink only printers, I made a black and white version.

Before you print, be aware that you don’t need to print both the color and black and white versions. If you don’t know how to select individual pages to print, please check out my FAQ.

Materials

  • Musical Christmas Lights printable
  • Calling cards for the teacher
  • 20 bingo chips for each Christmas tree printable used (I use the Magnetic Wand and Bingo Chips from Amazon).
  • Crayons or colored pencils for the black and white version

Directions for color version

  • Print only the colored Christmas trees. Use as many individual cards as you need. If you have more than 6 students, group some on the same card.
  • Print and cut out the teacher calling cards.
  • Optional: Do not cut out the calling cards. Simply print and call out the symbols and put a check by the ones you have called.
  • To help children find the symbols quickly, call the color and the symbol, such as “Red, quarter note.”
  • The student covers the symbol on his card.
  • The first student who covers all the symbols wins.

Directions for black and white version

  • Print the black and white cards and the teacher calling card page.
  • With the printable open on your computer monitor to the teacher calling card page, use it as a guide to label the color of each symbol on your black and white version of the teacher calling cards.
  • Color the lights on the cards using the teacher calling cards as the guide to the colors.
  • For a classroom, make a copy for each student. Tell the students or write on your whiteboard the color each symbol should be colored.
  • Play the game using the directions for the color version, or create your own rules.

Objective

To review basic music vocabulary and symbols.

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Filed under Christmas, Games, Group lesson ideas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets

Animal Alphabet Clothespin Matching cards

Alphabet Clothpin MatchupAlphabet Clothespin Matching Cards

I’ve used the little animal characters I designed to create a matching game for students who are learning the note names around middle C. Students take a clothespin and clip it on the matching letter on the staff. It’s fun, and something a little different. It’s not hard but I think it’s a good way for younger students to practice learning note names. I also made a version for pre-readers using keyboards. If there is enough interest I’ll post it.

If is funny that some children don’t know what clothespins are. I tell them how I was the person in the house who had to carry the clothes out in the back and hang them on the clothesline. And I was the one who had to run out real fast and take them down if it started raining. Their eyes seem to get big like they are sitting in the presence of a true pioneer woman, especially when I tell them I remember finally getting a washing machine when I was a little girl. When I was real young we lived in a small city and the laundry man came around and got our dirty laundry. One student asked me if I remember when cars were invented!

There are 3 pages of cards. Print them on sturdy card stock and laminate. If you can’t laminate, and you want them to last, cover with clear plastic, such as clear Contact™ paper.

A few years ago I gave a baby shower and one of the games used little mini-clothes pins. I still have them, and I’m trying to think of some way to use them. But they were too small for my young students to use, so I went into my laundry room and got these. Laundry rooms are nice, but in a way I miss those simpler times when I spent the summer dashing out in the backyard to bring in the clothes!

Objective

  • To quickly identify the 9 notes around Middle C
  • To work on eye-hand coordination
  • To strengthen the fingers
  • To enjoy a hands-on activity

Ages

  • Children ages 5-8 who are learning to read note names

Materials

  • Regular size clothespins
  • Alphabet Clothespin Matching Cards, printed and cut out of card stock

Directions

  • This activity is for one student, but can be modified for more than one
  • The teacher gives the student the cards and a supply of clothespins
  • The object is to attach the clothes pin under the correct name of the note on the staff
  • As the students get better and know the notes, the game can be played with a timer

Why I like this game

  • It does not require a lot of preparation
  • It is fast and can be played in a few minutes
  • It is something a little different for students but they recognize the characters
  • It also helps to strengthen the fingers a little

 

 

62 Comments

Filed under Games, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources