Several years ago I adapted a Twister game to use in my studio. Since then, it’s become a yearly tradition to play it at the last group lesson of the year. This year, we used it to drill interval recognition.
To make the game music friendly, I add small strips of painter’s tape to each of the dots on the mat. For this month’s version, I wrote the name of an interval on each tape (i.e. step, skip, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). I wanted to use this game in several different group classes last week and needed a couple of different “levels” of ear training, so I pre-prepped the mat with two colors of tape – blue tapes labeled “step” and “skip”, and green tapes with numbered intervals:
To play the game, we chose two or three students to be our “twisters.” Depending on their level, they would be using either the blue or green tapes – not both. Another student was put in charge of the game spinner. He or she would spin, then call out ONLY the hand or foot players were to move (not the color).
I would then play an interval from the piano. Students had to identify it and find a tape that matched, then move the designated hand or foot to that circle (i.e., right foot to a 4th). After that, the regular rules of Twister applied – the last one standing won!!!
In a couple of my groups, we had enough students that I could also use students to play intervals on the piano while others were twisting or spinning. I used the step and skip cards from Susan Paradis’ Step Skipping game (pictured above), and also pulled the major and perfect interval cards from my Interval Tower Cards. After the student at the spinner called out a hand or foot to move, students at the piano could draw a card from the deck and play it (a little bonus sightreading practice!).
I love how versatile this game can be – the painter’s tape comes off easily, so I can change the mat and drill just about anything. In past years, I’ve written letter names on the tapes and had one set of students twisting while others identified flash cards and called out the letter names. It’s a great way to spice up concepts that need lots of repetition – students never complain about playing this over and over (and over)!