Tasty Triads

A visit to one of my favorite ice cream shops over the holiday weekend provided an inspiration for a new studio game!  (Isn’t it funny what sparks teaching ideas?)   In their last group class of spring semester, my intermediate students learned to identify and construct diminished and augmented triads, in addition to major and minor.     To give them a chance to review this skill over the summer, I made up a “Tasty Triads” game we could use in their private lessons:

To play, students roll a die on a floor keyboard (the one in the picture is a Kreative Keyboard from TCW Resources).    The key that the die lands on becomes root of the triad, and the number on the die determines the quality.    Here’s what we used:

Students then spelled the chords on the scoops of ice cream and added the chord symbol on the cone.

I REALLY like games and activities that I can adapt and use in a variety of ways, so I specifically designed this one to be flexible.   Here are some variations that I tried with different students this week, or plan to try when we resume group lessons in the fall:

Major/Minor:  We played the same as above, but only used major and minor triads.  All even numbers on the die designated major triads, odd numbers designated minor.

7th Chords: The cherry on the top gives an additional “blank” that can be used to spell 4-note 7th chords.

Ear Training: Students completed all of the sugar cone pictures as described above.   For the waffle cones, they again rolled a die to determine the root of the triad, but had to identify the quality by ear (I played a triad on the piano using the given root), and fill in the spelling.

Team play: Divide students into teams.  Play is the same as above, with teams taking turns.   If students spell the triad correctly, they roll the die again to determine how many points they have earned for that turn.  The team with the most points at the end wins!   To add an element of chance, one of the numbers on the die might be designated as a “SWAP” number. If that number is rolled, the teams swap scores!

The gameboard is available for download on my studio site.  For any of you who don’t already have a floor keyboard, I also included a second page with a printable keyboard diagram.

Tasty Triads
Tasty Triads
Tasty Triads.pdf
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Tasty Triads — 3 Comments

  1. Jen,

    I love this game! I will definitely use it for my summer piano class. I love that it doesn’t require much preparation, is easy to learn, and can be modified for different levels. Plus, the name is catchy, and the ice cream cone idea is so cute!



  2. When I was in college in the ’70’s, I found a game called “Roll-A-Chord, it was fun and educational. My regret is that I didn’t buy a dozen more while I had the chance. If anyone knows of a source to buy this game please let me know. Thank you.

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