Musical games to play at home (game-playing counts as practice time!)
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
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!
“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.
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 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: 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!!
What you need: YouTube videos of “President’s Own” Band playing 3-4 Sousa marches, including Stars & Stripes Forever, Washington Post, Semper Fidelis, etc.; note value flash cards: whole, half, quarter; percussion instrument
What you do: Have your child draw quarter, half and whole notes on three different flash cards. Turn the cards over and have him choose two of the three.He must march to one value (e.g., quarter notes), while playing an instrument to another value (e.g., half notes). Simple Variation: Parent marches to one rhythm while student marches (or plays) to another. Each video gives a little bit of background information on the origin of each march. Listen and enjoy!
These games will be played in the studio during the month of December!
Christmas Adventure #1 requires you to find all of the items on or under the little tree, such as grand pianos, horns a-blowing, cellos bowing, angels singing, etc. We will sing your completed checklist to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas!”
Christmas Adventure #2 requires you to hunt for bandsmen and identify the instruments the bandsmen are playing. Are they woodwind, brass or percussion instruments? Look for these instruments at your siblings’ band concert(s) this month.