The Really, Really Long Music Game

Already a little scared by the title of this post?   I’ve used this new game at group lessons for the last 2 months, and hadn’t really settled on a name for it until a student pointed out this month that the gameboard was “really, really, really long!”  Don’t let the title intimidate you – this is a super-versatile game that can pack a LOT of review into a short amount of lesson time.

This is a fun end-of-year (or week-before-theory-exam) game that can review up to 6 theory, listening or other music concepts at once.   Before you play, designate a question or task students must complete for each color on the board.  For example, if you would like to review theory concepts, you might come up with a list like this:

RED:  Name a note on the grand staff
ORANGE: Identify an interval
YELLOW: Give a definition for a musical term or symbol
GREEN: Clap and count a 2-measure rhythm
BLUE: Complete a major or minor triad
PURPLE: Construct a major 5-finger pattern or scale

You’ll need to do a little prep work for this before students arrive.  For each task, search your studio shelves & cabinets for flashcards and manipulatives to use as game cards (or re-purpose cards from other games you already have).  With so many wonderful teacher sites on the internet offering free resources, it’s easy to find cards for just about any concept you might want to drill!!

This month, instead of playing with theory concepts, I used this as an end-of-year review for ear training concepts.   Students had to complete these tasks:

RED: Identify an interval
ORANGE: 2-measure rhythm dictation (students arranged Clothesline Rhythm Cards)
YELLOW: Identify the time signature of a piece (3/4 or 4/4)
GREEN: Identify the quality of a triad
BLUE: Identify the quality of a scale
PURPLE: Short melodic dictation (students arranged notes on a magnetic staff board)

Playing this as a listening game takes far less prep work – students simply respond to what they hear you play from the piano (no flashcards required!).    You could also throw sight-reading or technique skills into the mix.

To play the game, you will need a colored spinner (see this post with information on where I got mine) or a 6-sided dice.   (If you play with a dice, you can either roll and move that number of spaces, OR designate a color to correspond to each number.)  Each student will also need a game piece (small toy, colored gem or manipulative).

One student starts by spinning or rolling, then must correctly answer a question from the color category where he lands.  If he answers incorrectly, he moves back to where he started.   Play continues until one student lands exactly on the last purple space on the gameboard.

To make sure that my students answered a question from each category, I cut small strips of paper to match each of the colors on the board (you’ll see them in the picture above).  Each time a student correctly answered a question, they collected a strip of the appropriate color.  To win, they had to possess one of each of the colors.    Students could proceed all the way to the end of the board, but had to continue playing until they had spun each of the colors and answered correctly (so some were “stuck” on that last purple space for a while!).   The color slips DO make the game take a little longer, so if you’re pressed for time, you may not want to add that element.

The gameboard is available for download on my studio website (scroll down to the bottom of the games page).   You’ll need to print the pages, then cut and tape them together.  I used clear shipping tape on mine, and left just enough space in between panels to let the board “hinge” easily.    The hinges are handy because they let you adjust the length of the board.  For a group lesson, you can play with it at full length (as in the picture above), or for a private lesson, the board can be shortened by folding:

(If you look carefully you’ll notice a different title on my gameboard.  I didn’t think when I first made this about re-purposing this as a listening game, so my students helped with a better name!).  

I’m sure many of you creative teachers out there could think of more ways to use this.  If you have a fun idea, please share!!


The Really Really Long Music Race
The Really Really Long Music Race
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