There’s more to music teaching than teaching music. Think back to your first music lessons and your first teachers. How did they inspire you to continue with music? A good music teacher goes beyond basic classroom teaching. Make music lessons fun and maybe you will be that special teacher your students remember when they’re grown up. By teaching children musical games you will enable them to enjoy music lessons much more.
For this article we have selected five fun music games for kids. The article is aimed at classroom teachers. But there are ways to use these games outside the classroom too. Perhaps you are an instrumental teacher. Or you are a parent with musical kids. There are so many opportunities to play music games with children.
What You'll Learn?
1. Write Your Own Music
This game works well with elementary school students who don’t know much music theory. It is a fun way to get students engaged and encourage them to be creative.
Begin by creating your own simple written code for different sounds. For example, a triangle could be a clap of the hands, a star could be a stamp on the floor, and a square could be a knock on the desk. Write the code on the whiteboard, making sure the whole class can see it clearly.
Start by giving an example. Write a short phrase of “music” in your new code. You could do something like: star, star, square, triangle. Ask the students to read what you have written and play it.
Then it’s time for them to get creative. Ask them to each compose a short piece using the notation system you have made. For older students you can introduce more symbols.
As well as a fun music game, this activity shows that music can be notated in different ways. This can be a bridge to study different forms of music notation from traditions around the world.
2. Solfeg.io Karaoke Competition
Karaoke is the ultimate music game. What better way to make your lessons fun than to bring karaoke into the classroom. This activity is better with students who are familiar with pop songs and some music theory.
Most of your students will have seen TV shows like The Voice and The X-Factor. There are many singing TV shows where members of the public sing a song in an attempt to become the next pop star.
Using Solfeg.io you can create your very own version in the classroom. Students can choose from a huge number of songs by artists including Ed Sheeran, Adele, Linkin Park, Taylor Swift, and others. Of course, there will be some students who do not want to sing a solo. You could allow them to sing in small groups.
The rest of the class become the judges. They can award points for different elements of their singing. The student with the most points wins.
Solfeg.io is a wonderful platform for classroom karaoke. You can choose whether to include the vocal part of the track or play it karaoke-style as a minus one. Singers can follow the staff notation as well as the lyrics. Their classmate judges can check if they are sticking accurately to the music as it is written.
3. Musical Statues
This classic children’s party game is a fantastic way to get younger children moving to music. It works just as well in a classroom setting and will help your little students stop fidgeting!
You will need some music that is good for dancing, and plenty of space. Play the music on the stereo or computer, making sure that everyone can hear it easily. The students must get up and dance to their hearts’ content.
You then pause the music suddenly, and the students must freeze in position. Anyone who moves at this time is out of the game. Then you resume playback. Keep stopping and starting the music until the final student left dancing is the winner.
4. Make a Musical Instrument
This works best for elementary students. Ask them each to bring an old unwanted cardboard box or plastic bottle from home. Prepare some other items yourself: Sellotape, dried beans, drumsticks, colored paper and pens.
Teach the students to make their own musical instruments using these simple items. Put some dried beans into the bottles or cardboard boxes and close them firmly. You have made shakers. Practice playing them together. Try hitting them with drumsticks as well as shaking them.
You can experiment by using different types of dried beans or lentils to make a different sound. Encourage the students to decorate their musical instruments with pens and colored paper.
As well as being fun, this activity teaches students about the sound properties of percussion instruments. It shows them how to reuse their garbage, turning it into something musical.
5. Silent Rhythm Relay Competition
This activity is best for high school students who can already read and write staff notation. Divide your class into teams and ask each team to stand in a single line. Each team should have around 8-10 students. Write a rhythm on a piece of paper. Ask the back member of each team to come forward and silently show them the rhythm. Make sure no one else in the class sees it.
They return to the back of the line. When you say go, they must gently tap out the rhythm on the shoulder of the next person in line. This person passes it forward in the same way to their neighbor, and so on until it reaches the person at the front. They must then come forward and write the rhythm on the whiteboard. The first team to correctly notate the rhythm wins.
This is an alternative version of the well-known game Chinese Whispers. It teaches good communication as well as musical accuracy and staff notation.
In this article we have described five music games for kids. We have included games for younger and older children. Many of the games can adapted to suit different age groups, and all of them will make music lessons more fun. We hope you try out some of these ideas, and don’t forget to let us know how you get on.