Piano Games and fun activities
Here at Davies Music School, we play lots of fun music games either via the computer, I-pad, tablet or with game cards and activity cheats. www.musictechteacher.com is a person favourite of outs via the pc. I will be putting a list of I-pad and tablet games via the blogs so that you can use them to play with your children or by yourself.
I was doing a little research myself into other games we can play and found a website with these music learning ideas parents can play with their children when they are doing their practice:
1)Take some old Legos you have around the house, and write a note on each one. Then ask your child to find three blocks to make a “C Chord,” three blocks to make a “G Chord, etc. For a challenge, mix up the blocks with sharps and flats. Have your child play these combinations on the piano to see if he or she sounds correct.
2)Create a staff on a poster board and attached it to the wall or lay it flat on the group. Give your child a flyswatter and ask him or her to stand in front of the staff. When you call out a specific letter, the child will turn around and swat the line or space that a note with that pitch name would be on.
3)Start by designing your own keyboard. You can print one out online or make your own. Using the letters of the piano (A-G), make several flashcards with simple two or seven-lettered words; for example, “bag”. The child will choose a flashcard, then spell the word out on the keyboard.
4)Set up a basketball hoop. Clap a rhythm. If the child can successfully “clap it back” he or she gets to shoot a basket. Now it’s his or her turn to clap a rhythm for you. If you successfully “clap it back” you get to shoot a basket. The first one to 10 wins!
5)Make your own bingo cards with different notes and rhythms on each square. After you play, call out, or tap a certain rhythm, your child will check his or her board to see if it’s present. If it is, he or she will place a penny on the appropriate square. The first person with five pennies in a row wins!
6)Take on the role of “Simon” and issue instructions to your child. For example, when you play a short melody with three or four notes, your child must repeat what you played. You can go as slow or fast as you want depending on the skill level of your child.
7)Start by making large cards with rhythms and pitches, and coat them in plastic. Then spread them out on the floor. When you play a rhythm or pitch on the piano, the student must run and tag the appropriate card. This is a great piano practice game for learning how to read music and training the ear.
8)To improve your child’s piano hand position, place a quarter on the top of each hand or balance a pencil on top of their hand/s. Tell your child that he or she must play an entire song without the quarter falling off. If they succeed, they get to keep the quarter or choose a prize.
9)Cover a large square box with white construction paper to look like a life-sized dice. On each side of the dice, draw a note or a rhythm. Have your child roll the dice and play whatever note or rhythm is rolled on the piano.
10)Gather up a bunch of old household items or cardboard boxes that you don’t need anymore. Using a picture of a keyword as a guide, help your child build his or her very own piano keyboard out of the scraps. Make sure that he or she isn’t forgetting the various parts of the piano. There is also a idea of making your own piano out of paper. Just go to Google and type in Making a paper piano. It has lots of ways to make your own piano, or the kids can build one!
11)Create 10-15 flashcards with different notes and rhythms and place them in a hat. Ask your child to close his or her eyes and choose a card from the hat. Whatever card he or she chooses, he or she will have to play on the piano. You can even add in bonus cards to the mix with prizes!
12)Every month, assign your child a famous piano player or composer. After researching the individual, the child will stand in front of the family while others family members ask him or her questions about the individual. The child must answer the questions as if he or she were the famous piano player or composer.
13)Earn Your Age Choose 1 short section of a song to work on (usually about one line of music) Gather a pile of pennies (or small candies or any other small object) Child plays the section on the piano If every note was perfect without a single missed note, then you win a penny! (It is OK if the rhythm isn’t perfect—that will come in time. But be very strict about 100% accuracy with the notes) If the child misses a note, then he/she loses a penny (no penalty if none have been earned yet) When you collect as many pennies as your age, you win!
14)Find a small animal figurine or action figure that can balance on one of the black keys of the piano (or you can always use a penny or a button and just use imagination) Tell the student, “This sheep [or soldier or princess] was captured by an evil king.” Place the figure on one of the black keys near the highest (or lowest) end of the piano Say, “Every time you play this measure [or line/section] with no missed notes you can move the sheep one black key closer to the edge of the piano keys. If you miss a note, the sheep will move backwards, deeper into jail. When the sheep makes it to the edge of the piano, it escapes! And you win!” Determine your initial placement of the figure based on how many repetitions you think the child can succeed at. Place the figure closer to the edge to make it easier. If the game proves too difficult, you can eliminate the rule about moving backwards, or create a “wall” that blocks any negative movement past a certain point. Remember that you want the child to feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. Keep the spirit of the game fun and light-hearted. Add humour and imagination as you feel inspired.
15)Place five pennies on the piano. Say, “These five pennies are five fireworks. Every time you [miss a note OR whatever the issue is], one firework is going to go off early.” Demonstrate the firework exploding in the air with sound effects. Continue to explain, “When you finish, any fireworks that are left, you get to set off yourself.” Student plays. When the student [misses a note], the teacher sets off a firework. At the end, the student gets to set off all the fireworks that remain.
16)This is a great game to use (especially with boys!) when you need help encouraging a student to solve a particular issue with their playing, whether it be a posture issue or a persistent wrong note. Place five pennies on the piano. Say, “These five coins are your soldiers. Your job is to save as many as you can from falling into the volcano. Every time you [choose only ONE issue: play a missed note OR drop your wrist OR play with fingers sticking up in the air, etc.], one soldier is going to fall into the lava! At the end, a helicopter will come and rescue any soldiers that haven’t fallen in. Let’s see how many soldiers you can save!” Student plays. Whenever a [missed note]/[dropped wrist]/[whatever] occurs, teacher takes a penny off the piano, and pretends that it falls into the volcano, complete with dramatic sound effects! (You know, the groaning-falling-into-a-deep-pit sound). After playing, pretend that the helicopter comes, and have the surviving soldiers say “thank you” to the student. Focus on the positive by saying something like, “These 2 soldiers say ‘thank you’ for saving them.” Ask the child if they would like to try to save more soldiers on their next round If falling into a volcano is too violent for a young or sensitive child, you could do something like frogs falling off a log into a swamp