Have you ever had a student return from the holidays and sadly inform you that they had been out-of-town and didn’t open their books the entire time? I usually turn it into something funny, like, “I can’t believe that they don’t allow you to bring pianos on airplanes anymore!” or something equally silly. One student thought I was serious and wanted to know if we could do that in the old days. That might have been the same student who thought I rode a horse and buggy to piano lessons.
If your student is a beginner, pull out this New Year’s game, and after this brief review of music symbols and vocabulary, you can get back to work at the piano!
This game is very much like the Birthday Game. [The art is the same, but the Birthday Game is a 3-level note-identification game, including ledger lines. If you have older students, you might want to give it a try.]
Below are two ways to use this activity, but please feel free to make up your own rules.
Beginning piano students.
New Year’s Game board.
Star cards cut into circles.
Directions for Student/Teacher
Print only one copy of the game board. You and your student will use the same game board.
Place the circle cards in a container.
Each player will choose 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 symbol and places the card on the correct symbol on the game board.
If young beginners do not know the answer, help them out because we want the student to be successful.
The object of the game is to cover all of one color of stars on the game board.
The student draws all the cards and identifies them as they place them in the correct spot.
You can time older beginners to see how long it takes them. Some students freeze when they are timed, but others love it.
If you have middle or high school group lessons or a Valentine’s Day party, try this really fun Valentine game, Steal A Heart. I remade it a few years ago so that it is ink friendly. My teens love this game. Ledger line notes are included, but you don’t have to use them.
Valentine Card Rhythm Hunt is a fast game you can play with beginners who are learning rhythm. I’ve made this game for every holiday, so if you don’t get to play it now, check out the other versions.
There is a 4 page (folded) Valentine’s card with a note story and a sudoku rhythm game. This makes a nice card to give students the week of February 14.
If you want to see more Valentine music activities, check out my Valentine page! There are links to some Valentine music, too.
This is one of my favorite games. It’s fast and fun and I think it’s a good game to play this time of year. I’ve revised it and remade the keyboard cards.
I suggest printing the colorful game board on photo paper and then laminating it so the colors really come to life. It can also be taken to an office shop. MTNA members, use Office Depot/Max and receive a big discount.
Before you print the cards, decide which pages you want to use. Please don’t print all the pages at once because the last page is the optional backs.
Print on card stock. They do not have to be laminated.
There are 5 pages of cards.
Pages 1-3 are notes on the staff.
Page 4 has keyboard cards.
Page 5 is the optional back of the cards. After printing the cards on pages 1-4, insert the pages back into your printer to print the back of the cards. Please see my FAQ for a tutorial on how to do this.
This game can be played with students or teacher and student.
Each player has a token.
The cards are placed face down next to the game board.
The first player draws a card and moves their token forward along the path to the closest letter that matches the note on their card.
The next player draws and moves in the same way.
The game is over when someone draws a card that takes them to the last G or any note after the last G at the end of the path.
There are many games you can play with this game board. Use your own ideas and I hope you have fun!
To learn the music alphabet.
To learn to recognize notes on the grand staff or keys on a piano keyboard.
To reinforce learning steps and skips.
Early childhood and elementary ages.
Why I like this game
It’s fast, under 3 minutes, students always like it.
Children learn faster if they are having fun.
It’s a great game for beginners to learn piano key names.
This is a remake of a very old game because I wanted to add a page of 6/8 rhythms and also update the art. This is a very fast activity with very simple instructions and good for older students.
There are 3 pages in this PDF. The cards have one beat missing in a measure and students have to identify the missing note.
Have you ever had an adult tell you they took music for years and never learned how to figure out rhythms? This happens not only to students who take performing classes such as band and choir, but also students in private lessons. Many times we think our students can count when actually they are just really good at learning rhythm by ear. This game will identify students who need some extra help.
To review 4/4 meter
To review 6/8 meter
To reinforce counting rhythm
Shamrock Rhythms game board, printed on card stock
Rhythm cards printed on perforated business card paper or card stock
Place the cards upside down near the game board. The student will draw a card and place it on the note or notes that are missing in the measure.
If a quarter note is missing from a measure in 4/4 time, students may put it on either 2 eights or the quarter note.
Use your phone clock and time the student.
Print more game boards and cards and use at a group lesson.