September 2013 Piano Party

Last week was a busy week and I didn’t manage to get a single blog post posted!  Hope you missed me — I’m back!  ;)

On Saturday, I held a kick-off Pizza Piano Party with my students who are under age 14.  My goal with this get-together was for students to get to know each other (especially the new beginners) and to generate some excitement for the new year.  Before and after eating our pizza, we played a few simple music games.

First, I let students color and cut-out their own paper piano (download the blank printable here from  This was a good activity for students to work on as everyone arrived.  It also allowed students to chat openly and get to know each other as they worked.

Next, we played a game I called, “Find the Music Note.”  It is a musical twist of the old “Find The Thimble” game.  I read about this game somewhere online over a year ago — let me know if you have any idea whom I should credit for this game idea.

To play this game, you need something musical to be the thimble.  I found the plastic red eighth note pictured below at a thrift store a couple of years ago, knowing it would be useful for something one day!  I think it was originally a balloon weight.  You can any small little object for this game.  I have some music note and piano buttons I bought from a craft store — something like that would work well.

Each round of the game, there is a “Hider” and a “Finder.”  The Finder must close their eyes as the Hider finds a good place to hide the “thimble.”  All of the other students must pay attention and watch where the Hider puts the thimble.  Once the Hider has returned to his/her seat, the Finder may open his/her eyes.  As the Finder walks around the room, everyone else must help tell the Finder whether they are getting closer to or further from where the thimble is hidden.  Instead of saying “hot” and “cold” as the traditional game goes, I asked students to vocalize high sounds and low sounds.  (So they wouldn’t wear out their voices too much, I asked them not to make loud sounds — just high/low.)

We played a few rounds of this game until everyone had a turn to be either the Hider or the Finder.  My students had such a blast with this simple game!  It is a good party game to use with young students of varying levels.


Next, we played an indoor, team version of the Spell-A-Keyboard game.  If anyone is interested, here is the printable for making the floor keyboards pictured below.


The last game we played was what I call the Rhythm Name Game (read about this game here).  I use this game frequently at group events because it works well with a group of students at varying levels.  Students of any level can stand to improve their sense of rhythm, ear training, and musical memory!   This game works well as the last game because gameplay can continue even when students gradually leave with their parents.

I am looking forward to more monthly Piano Parties this year!

Joy Morin is a piano teacher in northwest Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1142 posts here.

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  1. Posted 9 September 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Your ideas for the parties are great. I host two Piano Popcorn Parties a year — one is the Friday before Halloween (they come in costumes) and the other is in March. The children enjoy it so much and always ask when the next one is. They voluntarily play one song for one another (some new students are shy and don’t play). Then, when everyone is finished, they may play additional songs.

    Thank you so much for your contributions to piano pedagogy!

  2. Andrea
    Posted 9 September 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Love these ideas! What is the length of a session like this?

    • Posted 9 September 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Usually, I hold Piano Parties for an hour-and-a-half, but I held this one for two hours because I wanted to leave plenty of time for the kids to eat their pizza. :)

  3. Posted 9 September 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I just want to tell you that I REALLY appreciate all of your wonderful blog postings and amazing printables! I have loved utilizing them with many of my students! If you are sharing the printable for the floor keyboard I would be so appreciative of that as well. Thank you – thank you!

  4. becky
    Posted 15 September 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks sooo very much for all you share! I, too, had piano parties this past weekend.We performed for each other, learned about a composer and focused on drilling triplet and 8th note rhythms. They LOVED playing the “cup game” from the Pitch Perfect movie. The hour and a half flew by! I love what happens in the camaraderie of group lessons!:):) I’m so excited about the large floor keyboard. Thanks, Joy! You’re such a blessing!

    • Posted 15 September 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Becky — the “cup game” is on my list of things I want to do at an upcoming Piano Party!! I actually taught myself how to do it this afternoon. Was it difficult for your younger students to learn? I might be emailing you to get more details. :)

  5. Posted 14 November 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I am really grateful for your group lesson posts! Do you provide light snacks at every group lesson? If so, do you cover the cost of food or ask parents to donate money or snacks?

    • Posted 17 November 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Angela, I don’t normally provide a snack unless I happen to have something in the house that I want to share. If you want to serve a snack, though, I think it is a great idea to ask parents for a volunteer or two!

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