Race Across the Keyboard

Depending on the level of the student, you can use this quick game to drill notes on the keyboard, notes on the staff, or intervals.

What You Need:

  • Two Game Pieces
  • Flashcards with the note names (if you are drilling notes on the keyboard)
  • Flashcards with notes on the staff (if you are drilling notes on the staff)
  • A book of sheet music (if you are drilling intervals)
  • A die (if you are drilling intervals)


  • None

How to Play:

  • Place your two game pieces on the lowest key on the keyboard.
  • If you are drilling notes on the keyboard:
    • Take turns drawing the note name flashcards. Each time, move your game piece up to the next instance of the note on your card.
  • If you are drilling notes on the staff:
    • Take turns drawing the notes on the staff flashcards. Each time, name the note on your card and move up to the next instance of that note name on the keyboard.
  • If you drilling intervals:
    • Find a piece of sheet music, preferably one that uses lots of different intervals.
    • Take turns rolling the die. Count that many measures into the music.
    • Find the largest interval in that measure. Move your game piece up by the same interval.
  • First one to the top of the keyboard wins.


January 2019 Plans

Due to illness, we had only three lessons this month:

Week 1: We drilled notes with the giant staff, where students could choose between Twister, Hopscotch, and Bean Bag Toss. I modified the games for more advanced students.

Week 2: We drew snowmen, monsters, and faces while accomplishing lots of different music challenges.

Week 3: We practiced rhythms with Compose Your Own Rhythm Duets, except this time I used flashcards instead of having the kids create their own rhythms.

Roll-A-Drawing (How to Drill Anything)

Here’s a simple way to make things more fun during the lesson. I’ve provided a link to the three printables, I used, but the Internet is full of such drawing dice games, and you could use any of them.

What You Need:

  • Blank paper
  • Pencils
  • Die
  • A printable guide for a dice drawing game, such as Roll-a-Snowman or Roll-a-Face or Roll-a-Monster.
  • A list of what musical challenges go with each number on the die. You can put anything you want to drill here. For example, my list said:
    • 1 = Note name challenge
    • 2 = Rhythm challenge
    • 3 = Improv duet
    • 4 = Sight reading challenge
    • 5 = Review song
    • 6 = Freebie


  • None

How to Play:

  • The student rolls the die. They must complete the challenge for that number first. Afterwards, they can draw the corresponding snowman, face, monster, or whatever.
  • The teach plays too, so you can see more than one result of the drawing game, but the teacher doesn’t need to complete challenges. (It takes too long that way.)



Staff Games for More Advanced Students

I generally try to drill notes on the staff for at least one week each month. This week we did Giant Staff—Twister (Music Twist)Giant Staff—Hopscotch, and Giant Staff—Bean Bag Toss.

However, some of my students have advanced beyond mere note drills. Some of them are old enough not to need an activity in the lesson at all, but several have not, and there’s nothing I dislike more than having to come up with more than one activity for the week. So this week, I’ve dreamed up a few ways to make note drills more useful for advanced students. These will work with pretty much any note name game.

  1. Set a key signature and then play the game as usual. For example, if the key is G major, all the notes would be normal, except any F would have to be named as F-sharp.
  2. Set an interval. The student must name both the note and the note that interval above (or below). For example, if the answer is C and the interval is a 3rd, the student must say C and E to get credit.
  3. Set a key signature. Then use solfege or the scale degrees instead of note names in the game.