Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Teaching Piano Keyboard Skills Creatively

For this month keyboard skills is the focus in my music studio so I've rounded up a lot of games and activities relating to chords and scales to share in this post.
Keyboard skill patterns including scales and chords are the ingredients that make music function. At group lessons and throughout the month piano students will be trying out some of these games to sharpen skills and help them see the application of keyboard skills in their music.
When we learn to identify these repeating patterns in music we can read new music more quickly, improvise and also play familiar songs by ear more easily.  For example, the beginning of Joy to the World" is recognized as a descending major scale, and "Heart and Soul" is simply of series of roots with chords played in an energetic rhythm style.

HEAR: Scales and Chords Ear Training Games

Theta Music.com has a newer feature including basic online courses with lessons and games for scales, chords, intervals and progressions. You can choose a course and follow it step by step, or click "show full course list" and browse a variety of games that fit your level. Many of the games like Paddle Pitch and Chord Drops can be played individually in piano lab or round robin style in a small group setting.  The games cover various concepts including matching scale pitches, identifying I IV and V patterns, identifying the tonic and recognizing chord qualities.

SEE: Scales and Chords Visual Identification Games

Many of these resources are free and you can view more resources relating to other concepts on my Piano Game Resource Page.  They make engaging lesson starters or group lesson activities!
Chords Go Fish   (Keyboard Pentascale or Triad Chord Flashcards)- Recognize the groups of  similar major chord/scale patterns (vanillas, hamburger, oreos and oddballs).
4DP 5 Finger Pattern Matching  (1-2) - Match the keyboard pentascale patterns  its scale name.
HPN TetraChord Tango (2-3) Tetrachords/1 8va Scale pattern
SP Whole Half Step Game (3) 1 8va Scale Pattern on the keyboard
TPT Stampin' Up the Scale (3) Timed 1 8va Scale pattern on the keyboard
PN Scale Step Manipulative Cards (4) 1 8va Scale pattern on the keyboard and staff
MMF Sing it! Play it! Write it! (3-5) Scale patterns on the keyboard and staff
HPN Speedy Scale Builders (3-5) Relating scale patterns to key signatures
HPN 4 Scale Sisters Ear Training (3-5) Major and 3 minor scale ET

Quizlet Roman Numerals Chord Symbols (1-5)- Match numbers to their Roman numeral symbol (1=I, 2=ii, etc.)
HPN Collect a Chord (3-5)- Identify the letter names used to build root chords (CEG, DFA, etc.)NM Curvy Chords  (4-5) - Play, name or invert chords.
LMS Go Fish Tonic Triads (4-6) - Identify chord names on the staff
CK Inversion Diversion (5-7) - Identify if chords are in root, 1st or 2nd inversion on staff/keys.
PN Tasty Triads (5-7) - Spell major, minor, diminished and augmented chords
MMF Chord Building (5-6) - Identify chords (Maj, min, dim, Aug) on the keyboard.
PN Connect-a-Chord (7) - Spell Maj, min, dim, Aug chords

Do you have any favorites to add to the list?

Tonic Tutor Keyboard Skills Games

Our studio contest focus is on the following keyboard skill games.  Students who earn the highest score in their lesson (AIM High Contest) and students who complete the most keyboard skills games (Overachiever Contest) in freeplay mode after their assigned lessons will be recognized at the next group lesson.
With a subscription to Tonic Tutor.com  my students can play games on an ipad, phone or p.c. at home or at lessons to practice the following skills.  These brief instructions and tips can help them have more success as they navigate the many games on this site.
Piano Keys - Click on the correct piano keys (As, F#s, etc)
Jungle Journey - Click on piano key intervals (which increase in difficulty by level).  Move up a step/skip, half /whole step, Major/minor/aug/dim 3rd,6th etc.
Player Piano - Listen to a short melody played on the piano and copy it by clicking the correct keys you heard (or saw). Hint: After hearing the melody sing it to help you better remember the pitches you heard, then play on the keys.
Piano Chords - Select the correct keys on the piano of the chord indicated (F major, d diminished, etc.) Hint: Walk the correct pattern of half steps up from the tonic (1st note) to play root chords.  Major= 4+3, minor= 3+4 diminished=3+3 and Augmented=4+4
Planets - Play the correct keys on the piano of the scale indicated. Hint: Major=WWere Happy When WWere Home. Natural minor= When Harry Went West HWore White.

Students can earn a bonus prize if they "level up" on the leaderboard for the scale or chord challenges.  The following posts include a video and printable of keyboard skills required for the beginning levels.
AIM Keyboard Skills Level 1
AIM Keyboard Skills Level 2
AIM Keyboard Skills Level 3

FEEL: Scales and Chords Application

Once you can easily hear and see scales and chords in your music, the real fun begins as students experiment with different scale and chord patterns using some of these activities.

Primary Songs with I and V Chords- Accompany yourself with I & V  chords as you sing Primary Songs.
Teaching Piano Chord Progressions with Pop Songs - Play I, IV, V chord patterns along with pop songs
Scaling the Chords - Bradley Sowash - Improvise melodies using scale patterns.
Composing with Flour and Salt - Steps to create songs by combining scales, chords and arpeggios.
Get Inspired: Leila Viss Episode 19 Pop Song Chords - Play chord patterns along with youtube pop songs.

Related Posts:
4 Types of Scales Video and Free Printable
CK 7 Ways to Practice Scales
CK The Most Fun You'll Ever Have Teaching Piano Scales
Scaling the Chords - Bradley Sowash
Get Inspired: Leila Viss Episode 19 Pop Song Chords
Teaching Piano with Chord Colors
Minor Scale Teaching Poster


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