Eye-Hand-Brain Scramble

What you need:    The worksheet below, a tabletop, and a family member.

First run-through: Tap the appropriate hand(s)  (left, right, together) while singing the prompts.

Second run-through:  Tap the appropriate hand(s) while singing the A-B-C song!

Practice smooth wrist action (flop n’ drop) and fingertip playing while you are performing the run-throughs. Have fun, and remember to record practice time for every minute spent on the game.  Caution:  you and your family member may suffer from “scrambled-egg brains” before you complete the game!

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   

 r    l    r    t    l    t    r

H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P

l    r    t    r    r    t    l    r    t

Q   R   S   T   U   V

t    l    r    l    t    r    l

W   X   Y   Z

l    t    l    t

Spell It!

What you need: A list of words using only the letters of the musical alphabet (these can be found in Theory and Notespeller activity pages, or ask Mrs. Noble for a list), two players, a piano

What you do:  Take turns challenging each other to spell words on the list, for example:

1. Ask your partner to spell “cabbage”, using keys in any position on the piano.

2. Play the word “cabbage” on the piano, and ask your partner to guess what word you played.

3. Spell the word “cabbage” in the treble clef, then the bass clef, using notes on the staff.  Ask your partner to play the correct notes on the piano.


What you need: two people, a piano and 2 percussion instruments

What you do: one person claps (or taps on instrument) a 4-beat rhythm pattern. The other player mimics the pattern. Continue making the pattern more difficult until the other player is “stumped.” Play the same game, making up melody patterns on the piano. Twist:  take turns being the “teacher”. The “teacher” has to determine if the “student” played the pattern back correctly.  The “student” may play back the pattern incorrectly on purpose–this is especially fun to do with parents!


What you need: A piano and two people, one who can play a bass blues riff (pattern), and one who can play blues scales in C, F, and G.

What you do:  The “bass” player plays a 5th, 6th, 7th, 6th swing pattern in the following 12-bar blues structure: (key of C) C C C C  F F C C  G F C C .  The “treble” player plays any combination of notes in the blues scale, observing the same 12-bar chord progressions.  Have fun—jam out!!

Meet Me in the Middle

What you need:  Two buttons, almonds, tiddlywinks, etc. for markers. Slips of paper with the following labels: half step, whole step, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, octave. Leave two slips blank. Make two copies of each slip.

What you do:  This is a game for two players. One player places his marker on the lowest “A” on the piano; the other player places his marker on the highest “C”.  Place the slips in a basket and mix them up. Take turns drawing slips out of the basket, moving your marker toward the middle with the interval specified on the slip. Make sure you use the key on which your marker is resting as the starting place to count the interval. A blank slip of paper means you can’t move. The first person to get to Middle C wins.

Musical Glasses

What you need: Five kitchen glasses, table knife, tap water (parents will need to help young children–we don’t want broken glass!)

What you do:  Fill each glass with varying amounts of water until you have a “penta-scale” (5 finger scale, as in C-D-E-F-G). The more water in the glass, the lower the pitch. Experiment with water levels until you have “tuned” the glasses. (This is an excellent ear training exercise for your child.) The pitches do not have to match C-D-E-F-G on the piano, but each tone should be one step (one note higher) than the previous one.  The interval you are listening for is a “second.” (as in the first two pitches of “Happy Birthday” or “Do Re Mi”.) Once you have tuned your glasses, play simple five-finger position songs from your child’s book, or one of the assigned “mystery songs.” For best results, use the handle edge of the knife on the side of the glass. Older children may try playing familiar melodies on the glasses and have you guess what they are playing!

Suggested familiar tunes:  Jingle Bells, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Ode to Joy

Bonus activity: Add one more note to the scale (“A”), enabling you to play the following songs:  Pop Goes the Weasel, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, London Bridge

Extra bonus activity: Add two additional glasses, creating an 8-note scale! You can play: Do-Re-Mi, Sarasponda, Three Blind Mice, and more!

Have fun! Students, help your mom wash the glasses afterward!

Musical Memory

What you need:  3 x 5 cards; lesson or theory book as reference

What you do:  This game is played like the traditional “Memory” game, so you will need at least one other family member to play with you.  Cut eight 3 x 5 cards in half. Draw symbols, various note values, or musical terms on each card, making sure you have a pair of each symbol/term. Use symbol and terms from your lesson and theory books (some have the terms listed in the back).  Turn the cards over, mix them up, and arrange in four rows of four cards each.  Turn over two cards at a time; if you find a pair, you may take another turn. The player with the most matches wins. Feel free to expand the game to include 10 or more pairs. Bring your card game to your next lesson, and we’ll play together!

Rhythm Trains

What you need: 4 x 6 cards, pencils

What you do: Draw any combination of notes equaling 4 beats on a card. Each card represents one measure. Put together 4 measures (“train cars”).  Clap and count.  Mix up the order of the cards, and try again!

Now, add a caboose.  Draw a repeat sign and place it at the end of the train.

Put an engine at the beginning of the train. Draw a treble clef on one card, and a bass clef on another card.  If you use the treble clef, turn all the stems of your train cards up, and tap the floor or an instrument with your right hand! If you use the bass clef,  turn the stems down and tap with your left hand.

After you have played several times, try using BOTH treble and bass clefs. Place the bass clef under the treble clef. Arrange the “train cars” to the right of either clef, making sure stems are turned the right way! Tap with the correct hand, depending which clef you are reading.

All aboard for fun!  Count this game as practice time.

Almond Joy

What you need: Grand Staff Chart (Mrs. Noble has them), almonds, peanuts, or other similar-sized edible items

What you do:

PART 1: Ask your child to label all of the treble clef line notes, then space notes, using the “silly sentences.”  Do the same for the bass clef.  If he/she is having trouble with the labels, review them one at a time.

PART 2: Take turns spelling words on the clefs! Be sure to use words composed of the letters A-G only, such as bag, cabbage, dad, etc. Parents, don’t be afraid to misspell a word, and let your child correct it!

PART 3: Go to the piano and have your child play the bass clef line notes in order, starting with G (“gold”) in the bass clef. Say the silly sentences. Then say the bass space notes. He will be playing every other key. Repeat the process in the treble clef.

TIPS AND HELPS: Here are some new variations on the “silly sentences” which were developed by the Roberts family and KatieRose Beatovich. Feel free to use them; they incorporate some of the notes just above and below the staff, including Middle C. In addition, they correctly represent the short “a” sound (“at” versus “all), which will help with the phonetic connection.

Bass Clef Lines: Gold Buses Drive Fast At Camp; Grandma Brown Dances Friday Afternoons

Bass Clef Spaces: Finally, Adam’s Cows Eat Grass Beautifully

Treble Clef Lines:  Ed Gave Bert Droopy Fish

Treble Clef Spaces:  Father Abraham Can Eat Goodies