# Race to the Top (Note Review)

Yet another way to drill note names, with the added bonus that it drills intervals too.

What You Need:

• A large grand staff
• Mine is on a whiteboard, but a paper version would work just as well.
• Writing Utensil
• One Die
• I made up a special die with the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and *, but you could make it work with a regular die.

Setup:

• None

How to Play:

• Each player should draw a whole note F hanging below the bass clef staff. That is the initial starting point for the race.
• Let the student roll the die. That number specifies her interval. She needs to draw in a whole note which is that interval directly above her starting F. For example, if she rolls a 2, she should draw in the G, which is a second above the F. If she rolls a 5, she should draw in the C, which is a fifth above the F. She should name the note as well as draw it in.
• The asterisk side of the die means different things depending on the age and ability of the student. It could mean roll again, teacher chooses the interval, student chooses the interval, or teacher loses a turn.
• If you are using a regular die, use the number one for this, since no one wants to draw in a unison anyway.
• Teacher takes a turn and draws the correct note above her own F.
• Repeat the process, taking turns until someone reaches the G just above the treble clef staff. First one to the top wins.

Variations:

• For pre-readers, use a picture of a keyboard instead of a staff.
• To make it harder, require the student to say whether a given interval is major, minor, perfect, etc.
• To make it more likely the student will win, the asterisk can mean different things depending on whether the teacher or student rolls it. Also, I’ve found I can usually be careful where I roll the die and prevent the student from seeing what it says. Then I can make my intervals small enough to ensure I lose.

# The Flower Game (Note Review)

I made this game up years ago when I had a small studio and all the students were girls. If I were doing it again, I’d probably go with a more gender-neutral theme, but the idea works well.

What You Need:

• A game board (see the picture below). I made mine out of tile samples, so I don’t have a downloadable, but you could easily print a blank board game like these and create this in a couple of minutes. The main features are:
• Each tile labeled with one of the note names (A through G in order)
• An occasional tile that has a special color (in my picture, they’re pink)
• Game pieces
• Note flash cards
• Special flash cards which are not note names. You could use rhythms, dynamics, symbols, whatever.

Setup:

• Place two game pieces on Start.
• Shuffle both decks of cards.

How to Play:

• The first player draws a note flash card. After naming the note, he can move his game piece up to that letter on the game board.
• If the game piece lands on a tile that has a special color, he can draw from the pile of special flash cards. If he can correctly identify or explain whatever is on that card, he can move up two extra tiles.
• The second player takes the same turn. The first person to reach the end wins.
• As teacher, I play under several disadvantages. I always go second. I sometimes make a “mistake” in naming my note. If the student catches me, I don’t get to move up. If I land on a special color, the student is still the one who gets the special flash card and the two extra spaces. Also, my special flash cards include a few cards that say “Teacher loses a turn.”

Variations:

• To make it easier, identify notes on the keyboard instead of using flashcards with staff notes, or limit the flashcards to those notes the student knows how to read.
• To make it harder, require intervals. For example, the student should move to the tile that is a third above whichever flashcard he draws.

# The Slap Game (Note Review)

This is a great game to play when you’ve just got a few minutes left in the lesson. It takes no prep, can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes, and is loved by kids.

What You Need:

• Notes on the staff flashcards
• Cards with the letters A-G (optional)

Setup:

• None

How to Play:

• The student draws a letter card. This determines which note to look for. (If you’re not using the letter cards, just decide on a note.)
• The teacher holds the deck of note flashcards and flips them over one at a time into a pile within easy reach of both people. When the student sees the note, she slaps the pile of cards. If she slaps it before the teacher gets the next card down, she gets a point. If she doesn’t, then the teacher gets a point.
• Continue playing until all the notes with that name have been found. Then choose a new note, shuffle the note flashcards, and play again until you run out of time.

Variations:

• To make it easier, limit the cards in the deck. For example, only C position notes, or only treble clef notes, etc.
• To make it harder, flip over the cards faster. Or play with interval flashcards instead, looking for all the thirds or fourths, etc.

# Beat Your Score/Build Your Dream (How to Drill Anything)

We practiced notes on the staff this week with this method, but you can use it to drill anything you have a set of flashcards for.

What You Need

• Set of flashcards
• Timer
• Blocks or Legos or any other building toy (optional)

Setup

• None

How to Play

• Set the timer. I chose a 30 second time limit.
• While the timer is running, flip the cards for the student one at a time. When the timer goes off, count the number of cards answered correctly.
• If you are using the blocks, they’ve earned that number of blocks to begin building whatever they want.
• Some of my students are old enough to feel that blocks are beneath them. That’s fine.
• I only give them a short time to build, so I discourage risky building strategies. If it falls, we go on anyway. They’ll have another opportunity later.
• Set the timer again. The point on the second round is to see if you can beat your first score. Whether they do or not, they can add that many blocks to their structure.
• Repeat as many times as you want.

Variations

• To make it easier, limit the flashcards. For example, use only C position notes or only bass clef notes.
• To make it harder, add more flashcards into the stack. If you’re drilling notes, require them to both name the note and play it on the piano.

# Lucky Penny Game (Note Review)

Every St Patrick’s Day, I play the Lucky Penny game with my students. This is not my original idea, and you can find the original brief instructions at Sing a New Song.  It is a very simple game to review notes on the staff. I particularly like it because it isn’t just a drill of finding the note name. They also have to connect it through to the correct note on the piano. I always have some students who are great at naming the note, but still have no clue which octave they ought to be playing it in. This game helps.

What You Need:

• Flashcards with the notes you want to review
• As many pennies as you have flashcards. One (or more) should be marked on one side in some way as the lucky one.
• I use Euro pennies. My American students are always delighted by how small they are and the fact that they really are Irish pennies. Of course, if you don’t have a source for Euro pennies, any other small coin works just fine.
• My lucky penny has a sticker of a four leaf clover.

How to Play:

• Since I am not the originator of the game, I will just direct you to Sing a New Song to get the instructions on how to play.
• My modifications are as follows:
• I only have one lucky penny, not 2-5. If they have to go through two full octaves to find the penny, I don’t consider that a bad thing. It’s just more practice.
• I don’t give out candy, since I try to keep that at an absolute minimum. If they aren’t expecting candy, students are still interested in seeing how lucky they are (i.e., how quickly they find the lucky penny).

Variations:

• To make it easier or shorter, limit the number of notes you ask.
• To make it harder, don’t have them remove the penny on the note on the staff. Instead pick an interval and require them to remove the penny a third above or a fourth below the note on the staff. You can then ask them to name whether that interval is major, minor, diminished, etc.