# 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)

Setup:

• 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.

# Christmas Fortunes (Intervals)

Here is another use of external resource. Today I am indebted to Teach Piano Today for the Christmas Fortune Teller.

I used it more or less as described on their website on the keyboard, but we then moved down to a giant staff on the floor and did it on the staff as well. It is good for students to see the connection between what they do on the piano and what they see on the page.

The only note I would like to make is that the chances or winning are entirely based on luck and there is not an easy way for the teacher to manipulate it to make sure the student wins, which I always like to do. On the plus side, it’s so short, it’s possible to play multiple games in a lesson, so that they have a chance to win even if they lose at first.

# Sailing the Seas (Intervals)

I developed this game for Thanksgiving, but I have very deliberately kept anything purely seasonal out of it, so it can really be used at any time of year.

What You Need:

• These cards, cut up and possibly laminated.
• Note that the two cards with ships should not be cut along the dotted line, so you can fold there and then stand them up.
• A die
• A game piece, coin, or other manipulative
• A grand staff (optional)
• This can be on blank staff paper, on a whiteboard, on poster board, whatever you’ve got.

Setup:

• Shuffle the interval, storm at sea, and tailwind cards together. Lay them out face down on the floor in a line or squiggle. Place the Old World at one end and the New World at the other (face up).
• Add the icebergs on top of any three random interval cards. (I let the student do this.)
• Place the ships on the Old World.
• If you are drilling intervals on the keyboard, place a game piece (or coin) on Middle C. If you are drilling intervals on the staff and you have the right manipulatives, place a whole note on Middle C. If youâ€™re using staff paper or a whiteboard, draw a whole note on middle C.

How to Play:

• The first player rolls the dice. Move that player’s ship forward that many spaces. Move the note marker on the staff or keyboard by the interval specified on the card.
• If the teacher strikes an iceberg, she goes all the way back to Start. If the student strikes an iceberg, he must answer an extra challenge of the teacher’s choice to see if he can navigate around it successfully.
• The first person to reach the New World wins.

Variations:

• To make it easier, use only the smaller interval cards.
• To make it harder, use only the larger interval cards.
• To make it shorter, don’t use all the cards, even if you choose them at random.

# 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.

# Interval Ice Cream

This is a good example of the kind of activity I don’t like. It requires lots of cutting, gluing, and laminating, and then it only appeals to kids of a certain age. But I created it years ago before I realized what a pain that kind of thing is, so I occasionally still trot it out.

What You Need:

• It’s easiest to just look at the picture below, but you need to create:
• 8 ice cream cones, labeled unison, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and octave
• ice cream scoops in a variety of colors with an example of intervals glued on

Setup:

• Lay out the ice cream cones, face up
• Make a heap of the scoops nearby, face down

How to Play:

• The student chooses their favorite flavor of ice cream and adds the scoop to the ice cream cone with the correct interval written on it.
• Repeat.
• When all the scoops are on, we see which cone is the tallest or which one has the most appealing flavor combination.

Variations:

• To make it easier, don’t use all the possible intervals. Limit it to just seconds and thirds or whatever intervals the student has covered.
• To make it harder, give the student a time limit, or require him to name whether each interval is major, minor, perfect, etc.