CelebrateNoteNaming copy

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Celebrate! Note Game all started when I decided to update my New Year’s game. Then I started thinking that it would be a lot more useful if I changed it into a birthday game! What is more fun than celebrating birthdays! I’ve always wanted a game I could pull out the week of a student’s birthday. But I tested this game with my students when it wasn’t their birthday, so now I realize you can play this game anytime! Everyone likes to think about birthdays. My students helped me with the reward/penalty cards, and I hope your students enjoy them as much as mine did.

To make it easier on all my dear teacher friends, and, I have to admit, myself,  I color coded the note levels. The yellow stars are for beginners who are learning the notes in middle C position and the blue cards contain the rest of the notes on the grand staff. The green cards have the difficult ledger line notes that always cause students to stumble. So you can even use the ledger line version of this game at group lessons with your older students. Let’s face it, high school students don’t really want to play games with the teacher, but with a group it’s different.

There are so many ways you can play this. Every time we tested it out here in my studio, we changed around the rules.  I am going to list a few ways to play, and please feel free to take it from there. And if you come up with a version your students enjoyed, leave a comment here to share with other teachers. Email me if you don’t understand the directions.


  • Celebrate! game board.
  • Star cards cut into circles, including the levels you wish to use and the reward/penalty star cards.


  • Print only one copy of the game board. You and your student will use the same game board.
  • Place the note cards and the reward/penality cards in a container. Use the level of cards that are appropriate for your student.
  • Each player will chose a color of star to cover. For example, the student will cover the yellow stars on the board, and the teacher will cover the blue stars.
  • Players take turns closing their eyes and drawing a card from the container.
  • After drawing a card, the player identifies the note and places the card on his color star on the game board.
  • If young beginners do not get the note correct, help them out. The idea is to learn notes, not win. This depends on the age of the student, of course.
  • The object of the game is to cover all of one color of stars on the game board.


  • Print one game board for each player.
  • Print note cards with the ratio of one page per player. The cards can be all the same color (such as all yellow or all green) or a mixture of levels.
  • Play the game as above, but the object is to cover all the stars (both colors) on the game board.


To review the names of notes on the staff.

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15 thoughts to “Celebrate! – a Birthday Game

  • Julie

    I just found your website and have spent the last few hours looking at ALL the wonderful games and activity ideas that will help me. My students will LOVE these ideas. Thank you for spending SO MUCH time and in offering these free
    ideas. You have a wealth of knowledge and skills that we all benefit from. You are MUCH appreciated!!!

  • Donna McLain

    Susan, love the revision. I had the New Years game but I couldn’t find the time to play in January trying to get everyone back on track after Christmas break and recital. This idea is so much better to make the birthday an acknowledgement and little special! Thanks again!

    • Susan Paradis

      Thanks, Donna. I’ve been trying to revise my seasonal games, or at least, make the good ones for more than one season.

  • Doreen Gilbert

    ONce again you have a WINNER! Kids love it. I do not put cards on board but use colored buttons as a few younger ones found the cards a bit small to handle so I cut them out bigger. Always enjoy your material. (my favorite is when the playing cards are business card size – easy to turn and easy to keep track of!) These games are fun and teach at the same time – great stuff!

    • Susan Paradis

      Doreen, that’s a great suggestion. I have all those magnetic chips and the students love them, so it might make the game more fun. Thanks for letting me know your students liked it. Most of my elementary students said they liked it, but one said, no, sorry, he didn’t. But I guess we can’t win every student, which is why I make a lot of different things! [I asked him which game he liked, but he couldn’t remember the name of the one he thought was more fun.]

  • Kerami Roberts

    Lovely to see your real face as I have really enjoyed receiving new ideas into my inbox and love your materials. I felt guilt at first, for not writing my own as I usually do…but then I have been ill and frankly yours are great so why not! I have donated, just a little as I am not able to work much but I really want you to know how grateful I am for your generous spirit with your resources. Absolutely LOVE your flashcards – they are so faffy to make- and now I can just adjust them and print, thank you. I have pointed several friends to your site too.

    Love this game. I find with so many resources that they expect beginners to do one peice / game / worksheet then its all learnt where as youcreate a rage of games and activities covering similar material which has been a life saver when enouraging kids finding music reading tricky. Particularly those whose parents don;t read music and the kids need stuff to do themselves in the week which can really increase workload

    Many thanks

    • Susan Paradis

      Thank you for your nice comment! Glad you like my material!

  • Dianne C

    Susan – I want to thank you for this and ALL of the other fun games and resources you have given over the years! They are all fantastic and I appreciate your talents and you sharing so much with us! I just wanted to be sure I told you that I use so many of these fun creations.

    • Susan Paradis

      Dianne, I appreciate your comment very much! As a matter of face, it is so nice to be appreciated and that is what keeps me posting!

  • Sylvia Kelly

    Thanks Susan……couldn’t have come on a better day….it’s MY birthday…lol

    • Susan Paradis

      Sylvia, I hope you were able to play the birthday game yesterday! Happy Birthday!

  • Ginger Storts

    Thanks, Susan! You always come up with such great ideas! : )

    • Susan Paradis

      You’re welcome, Ginger!

  • Donna Walden

    I would also like to subscribe to your site using my home e-mail address.

    • Susan Paradis

      Donna, welcome! To subscribe type your email into the box on the right side of my home page.


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