Games

Games Handout

I recently gave presentations about music games to the Summit County OhioMTA and the MusicEdConnect.com conference.  I thought perhaps some of you might be interested in seeing the handout, which I have posted here on my personal website, joymorin.com.  The links in the handout all lead directly to the games and printables being discussed. Enjoy!

Preview:

Building Musicianship Through Games & Activities

by Joy Morin

INTRODUCTION:

  • Why use games?
  • When to use games?

*  *  *  *  *

PART I:  Considering the facets and goals of a teacher’s Teaching Philosophy.

The Teaching Philosophy states (1) the teacher’s GOALS for him-/her-self and the students, as well as, (2) HOW the teacher will lead students to achieve those goals.

Comprehensive musicianship involves:

  • Sight-Reading
  • Rhythm
  • Music Theory
  • Music History
  • Playing/Harmonizing by Ear
  • Improvisation/Composition
  • Memorization
  • Effective Practicing

PART II:   Examples of games and activities that will help you accomplish the goals in your Teaching Philosophy.

Concept: MUSICAL ALPHABET

  1. Musical Alphabet Card Snakes – Students sort their cards in order and say musical alphabet forwards/backwards.  Have students identify which card is missing.

Concept: KEYBOARD TOPOGRAPHY

  1. Black Key Sorting Cards – Build the keyboard using these cards.
  2. Find That Piano Key game – Ask student to play 3 different C’s, etc.  Can be played in a Round Robin version with a pair or group of students.  Use spinner or alphabet dice.  Can be done on the keyboard or on a paper keyboard in groups.
  3. Amazing Keyboard Race – You need a game token for each player and a way to randomly choose letters of the musical alphabet (Scrabble tiles, spinner, or dice). Play it at the piano or use a paper keyboard. On your turn, get a random letter and move your token to that key.  Take turns and race to get to the top.
  4. Spell-A-Keyboard game – Works great on the piano, a paper keyboard, or a floor keyboard (chalk outside).  Students spell the words from the cards by marking the corresponding piano keys.  Works great in the lesson or in small group settings.

Read the rest here!

Games

New Facebook Group: Piano Teacher FunMakers

Susan Paradis recently created a brand new group on Facebook called, “Piano Teacher FunMakers.”  It is a discussion group for piano teachers who like to get students off the bench and teach music with hands-on activities.  The goal of the group is to share games that work, places to get games and activities, ways to store them, how play them in a lesson, etc.

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Susan has asked me to be a co-moderator for this awesome new group.  I hope you will consider joining us other there!

To join, click here and look for the “Join Group” button on the right.

General, Giveaways

Don’t Miss the 2014 MusicEdConnect.com Online Conference

Make Your Students Shine

Hello, readers!

I just wanted to help spread the word about a new online conference for music educators scheduled for February 5-8, 2014. MusicEdConnect.com has recently announced the lineup of speakers for the sessions and it looks great! Conference registrants can watch the sessions live online or they can check out the videos later, on-demand.

You can check out the full list of sessions here.  I excited to announce that I will be giving a session on February 6 called “Building Musicianship Through Games & Activities.”  During this session, I will talk about the value of teaching through games and how teachers can go about choosing or creating games that will teach the concepts they wish to reinforce in their students.  I will also be demonstrating some of the games that are available here on my blog.I just wanted to help spread the word about a new online conference for music educators scheduled for February 5-8, 2014.  MusicEdConnect.com has recently announced the lineup of speakers for the sessions and it looks great!  Conference registrants can watch the sessions live online or they can check out the videos later, on-demand.

Below is the official press release from the folks at MusicEdConnect.com.  Read it over and then check out their website and facebook page for more info.

Good news: MusicEdConnect.com is giving away one free conference registration to one lucky blog reader from Color In My Piano!  To enter, please leave a comment below this post describing one of your students’ favorite games (it can be a group game or an individual game).  The deadline to enter is Midnight EST on October 16, 2013.  The winner will be randomly selected the next day.  I can’t wait to read your comments!   Continue reading “Don’t Miss the 2014 MusicEdConnect.com Online Conference”

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.

Find-the-Music-Note-game

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.

logo

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”

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.

syncopated-clock

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”