Reindeer and Elves Keyboard Race
Reindeer and Elves Keyboard Race

When I made my first Keyboard Race game, I really had no idea that it was going to be the first in a series of games for every season. I’ve always used the snowflake version for this time of year, but my students wanted a Christmas version, so I drew one for them. The elves are students in my studio and each one is special to me! I hope you enjoy the diversity of elves from around the globe!

Notice I have cards for F# and Bb. That has proved to be a bonus for my average age beginners, because they learn the terms and how to use them early on. However, I remove those cards for my youngest students. I like to teach new concepts informally like this, rather than waiting for it in the method book. There is no reason students can’t learn something before they actually play it in their music.


  • To quickly identify piano keys.
  • To enjoy a seasonal game.
  • To identify middle C.
  • Optional: to identify B flat and F sharp.


  • Beginners of all ages enjoy the keyboard race games, but with your older beginners, I suggest the Snowflake Keyboard Race.


  • Piano or a music keyboard
  • Keyboard Race Cards
  • Two tokens (Inexpensive erasers will not damage your keyboard.)


  • The game is played with two players, usually the teacher and student.
  • The teacher sits on the right side and the students sits on the left side of the piano bench, at each end of the piano. The students chooses if he/she wants to play with the “Elves” or “Reindeer” cards.
  • Each player has one set of cards and one token, and places the cards on the piano book rack. The cards should be well shuffled.
  • The first player turns a card and moves his token to that piano key, the closest to his end of the piano.  The second player does the same.
  • Play continues with each player drawing a card and moving his token toward the middle of the keyboard.
  • The game is over when one player passes the middle of the keyboard. I like to use middle C with my young students.
  • Note: The player on the right side (treble end) usually loses, so that’s where I sit. Games are more fun for students if they win.

Why I like this game

  • My students love it and want to play it over and over.
  • It is the fastest and most fun way to learn keyboard names.
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5 thoughts to “Reindeer and Elves Keyboard Race Game

  • SE22 Piano School

    This is lovely – just what I need for the last week of term before the Christmas holidays. Your site is such a great resource – thank you for your hard work!

  • Anonymous

    Great game! Thanks – I too was mystified to find my little student was still having trouble remembering note and key names, after one year of regular once a week lessons.

  • Beverly Porter

    Thanks Susan, this is just perfect for my little ones this afternoon

    • susanparadis

      Well, thank goodness I was able to post it in time. I have been so busy, as we all are! I hope your students can find an elf that looks like them!

      • Beverly Porter

        Actually, G looks like both of them…..sisters. Their photo is on my website on the duet page.


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