The problem with most music board games is that they are so specific to one concept that at any given time, they aren’t appropriate for most of my students. Here’s a generic one that is practically free, takes about 10 minutes to make, and can be tailored on the fly for any student.
To Create the Board:
- Paint chips with three obviously different colors. I did yellow, green, and blue.
- Card stock in a contrasting color
- Sharpie Marker
Cut out the paint chips so you have stacks of squares or rectangles in each of your three colors. Mine range from pastels to brights, but as long as each stack is identifiably one of your three colors, it’s fine. Glue your squares onto the cardstock in alternating colors. The layout should make a wavy line (see the picture below). With the Sharpie, label the first one as Start and the last one as Finish. To add interest, draw a few arrows from certain squares to shortcut either forward or backward. In a couple of squares, write things like “Teacher loses a turn,” or “Go Again” or “Bonus Question (move forward two more spaces if you get it right).” When you’re done, I suggest laminating the cardstock to make it more durable, but you could also just slip it in a sheet protector.
What You Need to Play:
- Your game board
- Two game pieces (you can use coins, erasers, paper clips, whatever)
- One die
- Three sets of flashcards, separated by subject
- For example, treble clef notes, bass clef notes, intervals, key signatures, or rhythms.
- Decide which set of flashcards corresponds with which color on your board.
- Place two game pieces on Start.
How to Play:
- The student rolls the dice and moves forward that many squares. She then draws a flashcard from the stack that corresponds with the color she has landed on and answers the question. (If she gets it wrong, I just give her enough hints so that she eventually gets it right.)
- I take a turn. The only difference is that if I get it wrong and the student catches me, I have to move my game piece back to where I was before.
- This encourages the student to pay attention during my turn and also ensures that they always win. If my dice throws happen to be luckier than the students, I just start getting a lot of questions wrong.
- First person to get to the Finish line wins.
- The difficulty of this game is entirely controlled by which flashcards you choose. To make it harder, just use progressively harder concepts, even if you don’t have exact flashcards for it. For example:
- Draw a note flashcard and play the major (or minor or diminished or augmented) chord with that note as the root.
- Draw a note flashcard and name the note that is a perfect fifth above it (or any other interval).
- Draw a key signature flashcard and improv a melody in that key.