Tag Archives: piano teaching games

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

Search and Find Bass A

Search and Find BassA

Search and Find Bass A

Last week I posted the Alligator song to help learn bass A. Here is the Search and Find game to go along with it. Of all the songs like this I wrote, my students like the Alligator one the best!

I decided to change the layout for the bass clef notes. Allie the alligator is at the bottom. All the bass clef Search and Find games will use this new graphic layout with the new keyboard border I drew. I hope you like the change. Yes, I draw everything; all the clip art, borders, even the background textures. That’s why it takes me a while to get things posted. 

This is the sixth printable in a series of “Search and Find” games. I have already posted Search and Find Middle CSearch and Find DSearch and Find E,  Search and Find F, and Search and Find G. Rather than post the directions and objectives again, new readers can go here for Search and Find C and read up on how to play this game.

If you come up with a good idea to use with these Search and Find Games, be sure and leave a comment here, on Facebook, or even send me an email. I like to try different ideas because it keeps the games fresh for students!

Bass B Bear is coming soon. Can anyone guess what the bear will be doing? I asked my students and they all guessed correctly!

 

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Filed under Games, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources

Nine Keys – a Key Signature Board Game

Nine Keys

If your students take a standardized theory test like mine do, you know how hard it is for some students to learn key signatures. My fifth grade students need to know nine key signatures for the TMTA theory test, so I created a fun board game that they enjoy.

I find that if I make something colorful and kind of silly, they all want to play. And as they play, they learn, even if I have to help them at first. Like we all do, I teach students how to figure out key signatures by themselves using the circle of 5ths. But  it is a good idea to learn to identify them quickly, because it gives students confidence. As time goes by, they realize the benefits of knowing key signatures quickly, just as knowing multiplication tables quickly gives them confidence in math.

How To Print

Read this section before you print all 4 pages. To download, click the link under the image above. This printable PDF includes 4 pages.The first page is the game board. The next two pages are the calling cards. I made the calling cards to fit on business card templates that are perforated for easy separation so that I don’t have to cut them. If you don’t have business card templates, there are some hash marks for you to draw a few lines to help you cut out the cards. The last page is the optional back to the cards.

Under the Pages to Print instructions in the pop-up box, select “Pages”, and then type 1-3.  In order to print on the back, insert pages 2 and 3 into your printer and type 4  in the Pages selection box. You will need to know which side of the paper your printer prints on, so test that out before you waste paper.

Materials

  • Nine Keys, the free printable game board from my website
  • The cards, cut or separated, and (optional) printed on the back
  • Two game tokens, such as old car keys or key charms from a craft store

Directions

  • Students should have a basic understand of key signatures in order to play. They might need help with the answers at first, and that is how they will learn.
  • Student and teacher take turns drawing a calling card and moving to the correct key signature or following the directions on the card. The player who lands on the last key wins. My students really love the card that says, “If you know the definition of Key Signature, move up 8 spaces. If you are the teacher, lose a turn.” Every time I draw that card I moan and groan, saying, “Who made the rules to this game, anyway?” and my students love it!

Objectives

  • To learn to quickly identify the major key signatures of C, G, D, A, E, F, B flat, E flat, and A flat.

Ages

  • Elementary to early middle school

Why I like this activity

  • I used business card templates for the cards, so there is nothing to cut out!
  • It is colorful and students like color.
  • Students had fun when they played the game. They love it when I lose and I make sure I lose a lot!

Please let me know if you can use more key signature games or worksheets.

27 Comments

Filed under Games, Texas State Theory Test, Theory

Whole Step Half Step Game

 

Whole Step Half Step Game

This is the time of year when students learn about whole and half steps so they can construct scales, which is a requirement for many theory tests.

If you have ever used little tokens or figures on the keyboard to construct scales and noticed it was confusing to some students, I think you will find placing the W’s and H’s behind the keys is a big help.

This has turned out to be a great success for my “hands on” learners, as well as students who have trouble understanding the entire concept of scales. Students who were very frustrated with  theory worksheets quickly caught on using manipulatives and these cards I designed to be placed behind the keys.

I made many sizes and styles of cards before I settled on this design. I wanted the cards to be big enough for children to handle, but small enough to see the W and H when placed behind the piano keys.

I am so happy to report how much it has helped my students who were confused. My philosophy is that if they don’t understand what you are teaching, change the way you teach. The student is not going to change!

You can use these cards in a game or simply as a way to visually show scale patterns. Be sure to use sturdy card stock and laminate the cards so they will stand up behind the keys. For major scales, consider using the sentence “We Were Happy When We Were Home.” I’ve noticed my students and I say this continually as we play. All the W’s and H’s are hard to remember, especially for some students.

The inexpensive, colorful pencil erasers in the photo above can be bought in bulk this time of year. Go look now while all the school supply material is on sale.  I bought a large pack years ago and  I use them all the time, especially with an older child who who might be insulted with all the cute toys I have collected. They are also good for the easily distracted child, or the child who takes 5 minutes to decide if they want a kitty or a puppy.

I am posting some of the ways I use these cards, but I would like to emphasize that after you have tried them, adapt the activities to fit your needs. If you have a better idea, please leave a comment. My students have really enjoyed learning scales this way, and I hope yours do too!

Material

  • Whole Step Half Step free printable from my website, cut into individual cards
  • Pencil erasers to use as game tokens
  • Piano keyboard
  • Optional: W W H W W W H written on a chart for student reference

Directions for playing as a game with two players

  • There are two color backgrounds, making it easy to separate the cards for two players. Each player receives 8 cards of one color. However, when I play against a student, I often do not give myself a “wild card” because students really enjoy winning and love to beat me.
  • Place the cards on the piano book stand, with the blank side up.
  • Decide which scale you are going to construct. C major is  good because the half steps are so easy to see.
  • Both players put an eraser (or token) on the first note of the scale.
  • Player one draws a card. If it is a “W”, place it behind the D on the piano keyboard, because that is the first whole step. The student also places a token on the D key. The first whole step has been completed.
  • If the player draws an “H”, the player discards the card by putting it in the back of his stack on the piano stand. No token is placed on the piano.
  • If a “Wildcard” is drawn, the student can place it aside to use later and draw again, or he can use the wild card immediately. The wild card can be turned upside down to be either a “half” or “whole” step.
  • The second player then draws and plays in the same manner as above.
  • Play continues between the players. The game is over when one player completes a major scale.
  • An alternate version for younger students is to let the student (but not the teacher) draw again if they draw the wrong card. Obviously the objective is to learn how to construct the scale, not for the teacher to win.

Directions for other ways to use the cards

  • With one player, the student draws all the cards, continuing until a scale is completed. This is a good way to explain how to construct scales to beginners.
  • The cards can also be used to simply explain whole and half steps, placing the cards and erasers randomly on the piano keyboard and not constructing a scale.
  • In a group lesson, 3 or more players can play. You will need to print out more cards.
  • Younger children love to use my collectible erasers of cute animals instead of the erasers in the picture above.

Objectives

  • To learn how to construct major or natural minor scales.
  • To learn half and whole steps on the piano keyboard.

Ages

  • Elementary to middle school, depending on the scale and the student’s abilities.

Why I like this activity

  • There is only one page to cut out!
  • It is colorful and students like color.
  • Students like the games and activities we use with these cards.
  • Students tell me the WWHWWWH cards really help to understand how to write scales.
  • When we get to natural minor scales, a light bulb comes on as they change the order of whole and half steps.
  • It really works.

I wish

  • I wish I had room on the printable to add a  “step+half step” card to construct harmonic minor scales.
  • I wish I had made a matching WWHWWWH chart.
  • I wish I could remember the sentence for the natural minor scale pattern! Can anyone help me?

28 Comments

Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Steps and Skips, Texas State Theory Test