May 2019 Plans

Week 1: We practiced notes with Race to the Top (Note Review), except that I didn’t use the die. Instead, I just had them draw cards with the note names on them.

Week 2: We practiced rhythms with Jenga (How to Drill Anything). Depending on the sticker they either had to create a rhythm or count and clap a rhythm.

Week 3: We made music to match our weather with Thunderstorm (Improv).

Week 4: We drilled tricky spots in our pieces and ear training with Rainbow Board Game (How to Drill Anything).

Rainbow Board Game (How to Drill Anything)

This is a board I drew up on graph paper in a few spare minutes and can be used for anything.

What You Need:


  • Place the two game markers at the entry square.
  • Assign each color a category or flashcard:
    • I varied this for each student. Sometimes it was different sections of the piece they were learning, sometimes it was ear training on intervals or dictating a rhythm.

How to Play:

  • Roll the dice. Move your marker that many squares forward. Do the challenge for that color.
  • Rolling doubles means you get to go again.
  • Catching the teacher in a mistake means the teacher has to go back to where she was at the beginning of the turn.
  • Winner is whoever gets to the end first, or if you run out of time, whoever is ahead when the lesson is over.

Rainbow Game Board0003


Jenga (How to Drill Anything)

I have seen a couple of different versions of music Jenga on various blogs.  Mostly people write note values or something of like that on their blocks. But I like a lot more flexibility than something written in permanent marker.  Here is my version.

What you need:

  • Jenga
    • Use two or three types of small stickers and stick one to each block in the set.
    • To be totally honest, my set is old and some of the stickers have fallen off. That’s not a problem. My three categories are star stickers, smiley face stickers, and no sticker at all.
  • Flash cards for whatever you want to drill
    • Use two or three different sets or split one set into different piles. Each set should be assigned to one type of sticker.
    • One set can even be something as simple as measure numbers in the student’s current song.


  • Create a Jenga tower according to the rules of the regular game.

How to play:

  • Each player draws a digital block and places it on top just like in regular Jenga.
  • Depending on what stickers on that block the player must also answer flash card before moving on.
  • Play until the tower falls or you run out of time.




Rhythm Building Blocks

Rhythm Building Blocks


Most of the kids love building things. Here’s a way to practice rhythms and build at the same time.

What You Need:

  • Blocks, Keva planks, Legos, or something similar
  • 1 die
  • Paper
  • Writing Utensil


  • Write out the numbers 1-6. Assign a note value to each number. I do this on the fly because it varies depending on how advanced the student is.

How to Play:

  • The student rolls the die. She then composes a one measure rhythm in 4/4 time and writes it on the paper. The rhythm must use the note value corresponding with whatever number she rolled. Other than that one note, she can use whatever note values she wants.
  • She counts and claps her measure. If she gets it right, she earns one block and begins a structure.
  • She rolls again and composes a second measure based on her roll. She can earn one block for counting and clapping just that rhythm. Then she can earn two more blocks by counting and clapping both of her measures in sequence.
  • Continue on. The student will earn progressively higher numbers of blocks each time.