Choosing Music Games for Students to Play
Written by Karen Koch of Music Educator’s Marketplace
In order not to be overwhelmed by the many games that are available, you may need to think through what you wish to accomplish by using games. Here are some questions I ask to help shoppers at conference exhibits, along with some of the specific games that I know of:
* Are you looking for a waiting area activity or a self-correcting lab activity away from the computer? Consider a Music Jigsaw Puzzle, MUSICOLORIDE Game, MUSIC MATH CARDS, MUSIC SCALE CARDS, or composer coloring books.
* Do you want to improve some specific aspect of musical understanding, such as note-reading, maintaining a steady pulse, recognizing intervals, recognizing key signatures, knowing musical terms, etc.? We have just added a bunch of terrific new games from Whirligig that focus on one concept at a time, i.e. intervals, notes, rhythms, key signatures. We also have other games that are fun, but not new.
* Do you want competition or prefer the harmony of group music-making or rhythm ensembles?
* Do you have space for active games, or need something quieter? Many of the TCW games are active, fun, and noisy! Requiring less space are bingo games, rhythm ensembles (these Clap and Count Cards are great for rhythm ensembles too!), flash card games, and teacher-made ear training activities (show a notated musical phrase and ask students to identify something they hear you play that is not in the notation, such as a changed rhythm or interval).
I just hosted two days of a Music Games Fair for my students who don’t take regular lessons in the summer, but work on sight-reading, music history, and other summer projects. We had great fun playing games and selecting library music for their summer enjoyment. The right games are motivating, educational, entertaining, and encourage the development of musical friendships, whether between teacher and student, or among groups of students. My teaching would be much poorer without games!
A note from Natalie: What excellent advice from Karen! I encourage you to visit the Music Educator’s Marketplace to expore some of these games for yourself. Even better, though, bring the store to you! They offer an innovative MEM Store-In-A-Box. Organize a Music Games workshop for your local music teachers association, or, if you don’t have one, invite some music teaching colleagues over and explore the games together. What a fun idea! I’m hoping to try this out with our local association this fall, so I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. 🙂