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

Setup:

  • 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.)

 

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Spider Web (How to Drill Anything)

The specific board I use for this game is created by Hatch Patch Creations. It is intended for a church lesson on honesty for kids, and I did originally use it for exactly that purpose. But I am all about repurposing, so here it is again in a different form.

What You Need:

  • A printable spider board game
    • Basically, it just needs a spider web and some numbers going around it. See the picture below.
  • Die
  • A few plastic spiders
    • Mine were rings in a previous life
  • Two small items to use as game markers
  • Flashcards for whatever you want to drill

Setup:

  • Place your game markers in the middle of the web. The goal is to escape it.

How to Play:

  • Have the student place the plastic spiders on any numbers they choose.
  • The student rolls the die. In order to advance, they need to correctly answer a flashcard. If they get it wrong, they stay where they are.
  • The teacher takes a turn. Repeat.
  • Whenever anyone lands on a number with a plastic spider, that is a wild space which could mean different things, such as:
    • Double or nothing: move forward twice
    • Teacher loses a turn
    • Go back to start
    • Write your own flashcard
      • I was drilling rhythms, so my spiders meant you had to write your own rhythm.
  • Whoever escapes the web first wins.

Variations:

  • To make it easier or harder, just vary your flashcards.
  • To make it shorter, declare whoever is ahead the winner.

 

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Primary Chord Drill

This hardly counts as a game in and of itself, but I made it up this week to use in conjunction with Skeleton, Human or Monster? Most of my students were drilling note names, but several are beyond needing that so we drilled this instead. You could use it with anything in my How to Drill Anything series.

What You Need:

  • Notecards that have the keys you want to practice
    • I always start with C major, G major, D major, and F major. If they’re doing well on those, then expand to A major, E major, B-flat major, and E-flat major.
    • You can use generic note name cards, or write it out on index cards. It won’t take more than 30 seconds to create.
  • Blank Die
    • These things cost 29 cents at my local teacher supply store and are invaluable.
    • On the die, use a sharpie marker to write on the six sides: I, IV, IV, V, V, and *

Setup:

  • None

How to Drill:

  • Student draws a card. That determines the key signature.
  • Student rolls the die. That determines which chord they need to name in that key signature.
    • For example: in the key of C major, the IV is F major, in D major, the V chord is A major.
    • The asterisk can change meaning depending on the student.
      • If the student’s doing well, use it to call out another chord, such as the vi chord or the iii chord.
      •  If the student’s struggling with the concept, use it to mean roll again.

Primary Chord Drill

Suspend (How to Drill Anything)

This balancing game is one of the kids’ favorites. I like it too, since it’s infinitely customizable to each student. It does require owning a specific game, but you can do a similar thing with blocks or plastic cups, if that’s easier to get.

What You Need:

  • Suspend (a Melissa and Doug Family Game)
  • Flashcards of anything (optional)

Setup:

  • Set up the basic stand for the game.
  • The game comes with a die that has six colors on it. Assign a different type of flashcard or challenge for each color. For example, note names, rhythms, chords, key signatures, improv duets, play by ear challenges, sight reading, review songs, hard spots in their current song, etc. You can even leave one color to be a freebie.

How to Play:

  • Ignore the rule book entirely.
  • The student rolls the die and completes the challenge for that color. Then she can place a metal stick of that color on the stand.
  • Repeat.
  • If anything falls off the stand, just add it back into the pile at the bottom.

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Zap It (Rhythm Review)

This is my spin on a traditional educational game listed on many places on the Internet. I use it for rhythm, but the principal can be used for anything. My version is a little different. It’s for two players only (teacher vs. student). The kids love beating me, and they have yet to point out that they always win. It takes a bit of prep work to create the game in the first place, but absolutely no setup during or right before each lesson.

What You Need:

  • Popsicle or craft sticks with rhythms (or whatever you’re drilling) written on one end
    • You can buy different colors or sizes to make different levels of rhythms.
    • All the rhythms are two measures long. I have mixed time signatures.
  • A few sticks with “Zap It!” written on one end
  • (Optional) A few sticks with “Instrument” written on one end, plus a selection of percussion instruments
  • An opaque container to hold your sticks

Setup:

  • None

How to Play:

  • The student draws a stick. She identifies the time signature and then counts and claps that rhythm. If she gets it right, she keeps the stick.
    • In reality, I have the kids do it again until they get it right, so they always keep the stick.
  • As teacher, I draw a stick. I identify the time signature and then count and clap the rhythm. If I get it right, I keep the stick. If the student catches me getting it wrong, the student gets a chance to do it right. If the student gets it right, she can keep the stick instead of me.
    • I do this strategically, not only to make sure they are paying attention during my turn, but also to ensure they always win the game.
  • Alternate turns until someone draws a Zap It! stick. At that point, everyone counts their sticks. Whoever has the most sticks is the winner.
  • If someone draws an Instrument stick, they draw another stick to get a rhythm and can choose a percussion instrument to use instead of clapping. They keep both sticks at the end of the turn.
Zap It! (Rhythm Review)
Zap It! (Rhythm Review)