Games, Printables

Large Keyboard printable

At last Saturday’s Piano Party, I wanted to play the Spell-A-Keyboard game with my students as a team game, but indoors.  Since I couldn’t draw keyboards with chalk as I did when we played the game outdoors, I realized that I needed to come up with some other way to provide a floor keyboard for each team.

So, that is why I decided to create this:

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It is not as large as a floor keyboard, but it could substitute for one in a pinch.  It is just the right size for beanbag games!  Perhaps you can find other uses for this large keyboard.

Directions:  Download the “Large Keyboard Printable” pdf from the Printables > Other Resources page.  Print the pdf on four pieces of cardstock paper.  Cut on the dotted lines and then tape together as indicated.  When assembled, the keyboard measures approximately 20 inches x 13 inches.

You can print the printable more than once if you want to create a longer section of keyboard.

Let me know if you come up with other creative uses for this keyboard!

Games, Group Classes

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 twink.net).  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.

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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.

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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!

Games, Resources

Music Dice & More from ThePracticeShoppe.com

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a wonderful little online shop called The Practice Shoppe.

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Leslie, the owner, is a Suzuki violin teacher/mom.  She sells a variety of fun things in her shop to help make lessons and practice fun for students.

I ordered a few of her wonderful music dice, which are just begging to be used for some music games!  I’ll be sharing about a new game tomorrow.

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Continue reading “Music Dice & More from ThePracticeShoppe.com”

Games

Ice Cream Interval Inspiration

My friend Susan Hong from Texas recently sent me a few photos, showing how she is using the Intervals Ice cream game in her studio.

Susan affixed adhesive magnets to the back of each card, so they can be used on a dry erase magnet board.  She also punched holes on the side of each card, so she can organize the intervals on binder rings.  For example, younger students can use the ring holding the Unison through 3rd scoops.

When students arrive early for their lessons, Susan’s students practice matching the intervals to the correct ice cream cone.

Ice Cream Interval game collage

What a fun learning station, perfect for the waiting room area!  Thanks for your inspiration today, Susan!

Forum Q&A's, Games

Forum Q&A: Games for Note-Naming Flashcards

Middle_CLast week, we had a Forum Q&A discussion about health insurance for self-employed individuals (such as piano teachers).  It has been great to hear all of your feedback about this important issue, and I have found it helpful with my research!

I have a new question for you today.  Your responses will be helpful when I post a new freebie printable later this week!  ;)

Please share any game ideas you have that involve note-naming flashcards.  The games can be for either solo lesson or group class settings.  

I can’t wait to hear about your game ideas!

Games, Group Classes, Printables, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Rhythm Train Game

I love being able to print out rhythm cards for my students to practice at home.  I can give them just a few cards to start, and add more advanced rhythms and time signatures as needed.  My students store their cards in a zipper bag and bring them to their lessons each week.

At first, I assign students to randomly choose a few cards clap and count at home each day.  When that becomes easy, we are ready to play the Rhythm Train game.  :)

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Rhythm Train game

a music game for 1 or more students

Materials:

  • Rhythm flashcards.
  • Printed train cards of the engine and the caboose (download the FREE printable on the Printables > Games page, under “Rhythm Train game.”)

Gameplay:

Ask the student(s) to randomly choose 2 or 3 rhythm cards with the same time signature.  First, make sure that the student(s) are able to accurately clap each rhythm card separately.  As they master each card, they may add it to the train behind the engine, with the caboose at the end. When all the cards have been added to the train, ask the student(s) to clap the entire rhythm.  Challenge the student to see how many rhythm trains they can make, or assign the student to make a rhythm train every day at home.

Playing the Rhythm Train game makes clapping rhythms just a little bit more fun.  :)  It works well both in the private lesson (it can be played at the piano on the music rack, or off-the-bench on the floor) or in group classes.

You can download the free pdf of the train cards and instructions on the Printables > Games page, under “Rhythm Train game.”  Enjoy!

Note: If you don’t have any rhythm flashcards, you can find a pdf download to purchase at ColorInMyPiano.com/shop/.  Your purchase includes a license to be able to print the rhythm cards as many times as you wish, as long as you are using them with your own students.

Games, Group Classes

May 2013 Piano Party

My “piano party” group lesson this month was a lot of fun.  We began with the Rhythm Name game — always a favorite.  :)  The Rhythm Name game is described in this post.

Next, I played a variety of short classical pieces and asked students to aurally identify the piece as AB form or ABA.  This was also a good way to expose my students to repertoire by various composers.

This led us right into a listening activity of Leroy Anderson’s The Syncopated Clock, using Jennifer Fink’s wonderful worksheets.

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We listened to the piece a few times, filling in the information on the first worksheet about the three clocks in the piece.  Then, I passed out the worksheet showing the living room wall, and we listened again for the form of the piece and glued the clocks on the paper in the right order.  My students loved the music and enjoyed figuring out the order of the clocks!

After our listening activity, we played a couple of games: the Swat-A-Rhythm game and the Ice Cream Intervals game, as described in previous posts earlier this week.

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This was our last Piano Party of the year.  Over the summer, my students will have the opportunity to interact at the summer camps, and we will start up our monthly Piano Parties again in the Fall.

Planning monthly group classes does require extra time and planning, but I think it is so worth it!  It is valuable for students to make “piano friends,” and I love having the opportunity to reinforce old concepts, or focus on new concepts that don’t always receive the attention they deserve during weekly lessons.  I will definitely be continuing group classes again next year!

Ear Training, Games, Group Classes, Rhythm

Swat-A-Rhythm Game (With Variations)

At last Saturday’s Piano Party with my students, we played a fun game that I call the Swat-A-Rhythm game.  I have seen many variations of this game on various forums and websites, so I am not sure who to credit with the original idea.  In any case, I will describe the way I played this game with my students.  :)  I also have some ideas for varying the game for concepts besides rhythm — such as notes, intervals, melodies, and terms.

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Swat-A-Rhythm Game (& Variations­)

Materials:

  • A fly swatter for each student.  My local Dollar Tree store is currently selling some colorful fly swatters for 2/$1.00.
  • 5-8 different cards with rhythm examples.  (If you don’t already have some, I have a pdf of rhythm cards available for purchase here in my shop.
  • Bug cards (optional), for keeping track of points.

Gameplay:

Spread the rhythm cards out on the floor, within reach of each player.  After the teacher finishes clapping the rhythm on one of the cards, the first student to swat the correct card earns a bug card.  The player with the most bugs at the end of the game is the winner.  (Note: You may wish to stress that anyone who swats before the teacher finishes clapping the rhythm cannot win the point.)

I’ve created a free pdf with the bug cards and game instructions.  You can download it on the Printables > Games page, by scrolling down to the S’s for Swat-A-Rhythm Game.

It is sometimes challenging to come up with good aural-based games, but I think this one is a winner!  My students had fun with the colorful fly swatters, and the game provided an incentive to listen closely to the rhythm.

Variations:

  • Swat-A-Note – The teacher calls out a letter of the musical alphabet, and students must swat the flashcard with the correct note on the staff.  Or, do it backwards: Hold up a staff note-naming flashcard, and students swat cards that say A, B, C, D, E, F, or G.  (If you need some alphabet cards, click here.)
  • Swat-A-Piano-Key – After the teacher calls out a letter, students swat the corresponding piano key flashcard.  Or, the teacher holds up a piano key flashcard and students swat cards that say A, B, C, D, E, F, or G.  (If you need some piano key cards, click here.)
  • Swat-An-Interval – After the teacher plays an interval on the piano, the students swat the interval card they heard.
  • Swat-A-Melody – Cut a short piece of sheet music into two-measure pieces.  The teacher plays random sections on the piano, and students must swat which two-measure section they heard.
  • Swat-A-Term — After the teacher reads a definition of a musical term, students must swat the card with the correct term.

I hope your students enjoy this fun, versatile game!

Games, Group Classes, Music Theory, Printables

Ice Cream Interval game

Check out the newest item added to the ColorInMyPiano Shop!

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Being able to read notes on the staff intervallically is crucial for sight-reading.  I like to tell my students that reading music is at least 80% interval reading, and only 20% note identification.  To help my students learn to identify intervals quickly upon sight, I created the Ice Cream Interval game.   Continue reading “Ice Cream Interval game”

Games, Music Theory

Piano Keyboard Printable

Today, I’m sharing a simple but useful freebie: I call it the Piano Keyboard Printable.

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I love using my wooden/foam silent keyboards during group classes (both Piano Readiness or Homeschool Music Classes) and for theory worksheets/activities at my Piano Parties — but sometimes I just want paper, so I designed this printable.  I printed and laminated a bunch of these keyboard printables — and I love that I can also print these to send home with students.  I like to encourage my Piano Readiness students to play the games from class at home with their parents.

A quick list of a few uses for this piano keyboard diagram printable:

  • With my Piano Readiness class, I have students “play” the piano on their paper piano.  We can learn simple pieces this way in a group setting.
  • We also play simple games.  For example, I hold up a flashcard of Middle C on the staff, and they must put their gem on the corresponding piano key on their keyboard.
  • There are lots other games you can play using this printable keyboard, like the Spell-A-Keyboard game.
  • When teaching music theory concepts in group settings, I like to pair the keyboard with a printed/laminated staff.  I have students build scales/chords both on their staff and their keyboard at the same time using glass gems, which really helps build the connection between keyboard and staff.

You can download this free printable by visiting the Printables > Other Resources page and scrolled down to “Piano Keyboard Printable.”

P.S.: The 20% sale in the Color In My Piano shop has been entended for one more day!  (And the sale won’t be back until next year!)  Use the discount code “YAY4YEARS” by midnight EST on Friday, March 15, 2013.

Games, Group Classes

March 2013 Piano Party

Last Saturday was another monthly Piano Party day for my students!

As we waited for everyone to arrive, the students competed two worksheets:  a lines vs. spaces worksheet from Fun & Learn Music, and an intervals worksheet from my Printables page.

I always have students go around the room to introduce themselves, just in case they’ve forgotten each other’s names and so they can learn the names of any new students.  I like to have them share fun facts about themselves along with their name, so it doesn’t get too serious.  :)  This time, I had them share their favorite flavor of ice cream.

Our first game was called, “Floor Staff Race.”  It is based on this game I read about at pianimation.com, but instead of using “Step/Skip” and “Up/Down” cards, I decided to make dice.  Here’s how the game works:

Each student chooses a beanie animal.  The goal is to race from the bottom of the staff to the top of the staff.  On their turn, they roll the dice and follow the directions to go either up/down by a 2nd/3rd.  Whoever reaches to top of the staff first is the winner!

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Continue reading “March 2013 Piano Party”