Simon Says Symbol Game

During the summer months, my lesson plans tend to be a little lighter on theory than during the year.    But… I like to pull out games every couple of weeks just to make sure that students don’t forget all that they learned during the previous school year!   A couple of weeks ago, I came up with this new game to review symbols:

We play this as a game of Simon Says.  I grabbed a bunch of manipulatives out of my game cabinet (we’ve used game pieces, gemstones, rubber bands, post-it flags, etc.) and asked students to identify notes, patterns or symbols by placing a marker on or around them.   Here are a few examples of what Simon might ask students to do:

“Simon Says… Place the blue hippo on a bass clef A”
“Simon Says… Place the pink rubber band around a set of notes that skip”
“Simon Says… Point a purple post-it flag at the symbol that tells you to play legato”

I made up three levels of the game (these correspond with levels of the theory testing program my studio participates in).  Here’s the breakdown of levels:

Level 1:  Notes from Bass F to Treble G; forte and piano symbols; quarter, half, dotted half and whole notes and rests; treble and bass clef, repeat and barline symbols

Level 2: Add mp, mf, legato and staccato

Level 3: Add eighth notes, flats, sharps, crescendo and decrescendo symbols

All 3 levels are available as a single file on my studio website.     (Note: I intentionally made these black and white so I could use them as drills with students who have difficulty with visual discernment.  If you want something more colorful, you could print them on bright paper, or use brightly colored gamepieces.)

Simon Says Symbols
Simon Says Symbols
Simon Says Symbols.pdf
41.8 KiB


Simon Says Symbol Game — 7 Comments

  1. That’s a great idea! I think I will also use this technique with preliminary analysis of a piece — I often say, “Put your finger on…” or occasionally give bingo chips to do it — but I like the idea of calling it Simon Says and using different objects to do the marking.

  2. This is fantastic idea! I am thinking I could easily play the game using a repertoire piece actually being played by the student so s/he can become even more aware of the signs & symbols in the music they’re currently playing. Thanks so much. Love your site too. -Cecilly (from Cecilly’s games).

    • Hi Cecilly,

      Thanks! I love your idea of applying it directly to a repertoire piece. I’ve long been a fan of your games – thanks for all of your wonderful ideas, too!! Glad you “dropped by”!


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