Name that Christmas Tune

Christmas Tune Challenge

I am posting some cards to cut up and use to play Name That Tune or Mystery Rhythms with Christmas songs. I took a poll of the songs most students knew and used those songs.

I decided it was time to play the rhythm version of this game at my  group lesson.  I remember from past experience how much fun they can be,  but also how challenging. Since I had already made the little cards of  Christmas songs, all I did this year was add a color border and a  stocking I previously drew so the game would have a more festive look. I am always going back and changing things.

I decided to do Mystery Rhythms this year and use the same cards  next year for Name That Tune. After printing,  I cut up the cards on the dotted line and chose the ones to use for each group.  To keep my group lessons moving along, I play short games,  so I didn’t use all the cards. Besides, you need to keep the list short for the young ones and use the simple songs.  I turned the cards upside down  in a small bowl for students to pick from.

I played the game differently for each age group. The youngest group sang while they clapped the rhythm. The students called out answers and the one who guessed first was the next to draw a card. Older students had a partner and would tap the rhythm with a mallet. Sometimes younger students will do better if they clap, rather than use a mallet.  I used the less known carols for the high school students and only used the easy songs for the younger students.

Since this game is so much harder than it seems,  I made a list of the carols that I planned to use with each group and put it in front of the students.  This really helped a lot, and this page is included in the file. While that may seem to make the game too easy, it didn’t for my students.  Students are usually surprised  how difficult it is to identity a song just by the rhythm.

After the game, we discussed this.  One student said that you have a certain tune in your head, and no matter what the person taps, you think you have the right one. We discussed how students also do that also when they take rhythmic dictation. Often students are so sure they have written the correct note values that they cannot hear what is actually being played.  I think this Christmas Tune Challenge will help with listening skills. Plus, it is fun!

If you like this kind of rhythm challenge, check out  “tappers and listeners”  from Natalie’s Music Matter’s blog and watch  the videos of her students. Watching her videos will really help you if you haven’t tried this at a group lesson before.

If you want to print out some  very nice flash cards with Christmas tunes to use for mystery tune games, check out Wendy’s site at Compose/Create.

D’net also has very good group lesson ideas. I really believe that when we read what other teachers do, it gets our creative juices going and we can modify things for our own students.

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4 thoughts to “Christmas Rhythm/Tune Challenge

  • Pingback: Christmas Group Lessons « Notes from A to G Piano Studio

  • Inna

    Thank you for the wonderful idea.

  • dtrince

    this is pretty cool… would love to see photos or videos of your students clapping and tapping their rhythms. Happy Holidays!

    • susanparadis

      Thanks! That’s on my list of things to learn how to do.


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