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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Music Theory Carnival Piano Games

For my most recent piano group lesson, we played carnival themed games with a music theory focus.  I brainstormed so many different ideas that it was hard to pick just a few to squeeze within an hour! 

Lucky Lolly Signs - Identifying Music Symbols
Lucky Lolly Music Carnival Game
Take turns naming music signs attached to the lollipop of your choice.  If you name it correctly and the sucker has a colored dot on the bottom you get to keep it.

Chord Pong - (from Fun Key Music) Spelling Chords
Chord Pong Music Carnival Game
Bounce ping pong balls into cups to earn letters to spell a chord.

Staff Straw Javelin Throw - Note Naming Staff Lines
Students simultaneously aim for the line note the teacher calls out by throwing colored drinking straw "javelins" at the line notes of the staff.  They score a point for every javelin that is touching the correct line.

Fishing for Terms - Define Music Terms and Symbols

Go fishing for 1 minute in a "pool" of music term memory cards and see how many matches you can catch.  I set up several pools with varying levels of music terms so students of different levels could play the game simultaneously.

Staff Spelling Relay
Race relay style to add notes to the staff to spell a word. (Free Printable Music Alphabet Words on

Scale Relay - Scale Patterns & Key Signatures
Team members race to add notes (sharps or flats) relay style to correctly build a scale on the white board.

Rhythm Cookie Walk- Beat and Subdivided Rhythm, Tempo

Place plates with tempo terms written on them in a circle. As the music plays, students walk to the beat of the music until the music stops. Choose a cookie walk winner for each round by randomly picking one of the tempo terms they are standing by.   Then play music that has that tempo for the next round. Once you've won, pick an instrument to shake to the beat while the other players finish the cookie walk.  To increase the difficulty, have students step different rhythms in front of each plate. Since I have several Let's Play Music Graduates and a child in their program,  I like to use the rhythm bugs (bug=quarter note, beetle= 2 eighths, caterpillar= 4 sixteenths, etc.).

Bass Clef Pop and Drop
Bass Clef Pop and Drop or Treble Trouble

Cotton Candy Sculpting

My kids said the most important thing at a carnival is the cotton candy so I came up with twist of sculptorades from my Piano Cranium game. Students take turns sculpting piano symbols (p, f, quarter rest, accent, etc.) from a small wad of cotton candy and get to eat it as soon as the other students guess what they sculpted.

Keyzie Relay (Note Naming, Chords or Scales)
Teach Piano Today Students divide into teams and race to play keys, chords or scales on the piano

Keyboard Krazies (Half Steps, Whole Steps, Intervals and Octaves on the Keys)
Teach Piano Today Students track movement of half and whole steps and intervals on the keys.
Fast Hands Good Ears  is a simpler version with only steps and skips

Minute to Win It
Many of the Music Minute to Win It games I described in a previous post would make great carnival games as well.

Flashcard Sort (Tim Topham)

Build a Measure  or Chord Spell Balloon Relay (Tim Topham)
Race to collect the right balloons (that have music letters or rhythms written on them) to build a measure for a certain time signature or spell a chord.

Note Sorry Sliders  - Staff Note Naming
Aim for the letter name called

Staff Straw Javelin Throw - Note Naming Staff Lines
Students simultaneously aim for the line note the teacher calls out by throwing colored drinking straw "javelins" at the line notes of the staff.  They score a point for every javelin that is touching the correct line.

Life Size Whole Step Half Step Sprint measuring half/whole steps on the piano keys or staff
 ( this board game to a life size version where students step on feet cutouts could make a fun carnival game.

Toss A Note - Note Naming and Intervals
This fun game from To keep it fast paced, I have several students toss a beanbag at once so they don't spend time waiting for their turn.

Lego or Cup Stacking (Dynamics, Music Periods, Rhythms, Scale Degrees
from  Music Teacher's Helper Blog

For more free fun game ideas to use in individual or group lessons check out my Piano Game Resource List with over 100 games organized by concept and level.

Other Group Lesson Game Plans:
Ear Training Group Games
Musical Minute to Win It Games
Music Mash-up
Summer Piano Synergy
Halloween Group Activities
Piano Technique Group Lesson
Valentine's/Composing Group Lesson
Practice Themed Group Lesson

1 comment:

  1. Cute ideas! I like the Carnival theme for a music theory party. I've used the fishing game before for young students, which they really enjoyed. The cotton candy symbols game sounds like sticky fun!