Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Easy DIY Music Games

I’m really big on music games in my lessons. I find they can be even more effective than music theory worksheets, because the student is so engaged in a fun activity. It’s easy to turn commercial games into games for your lessons. One I recently made is “Musical Checkers.” All I did was buy a cheap checkerboard for $4 at Walgreens and draw musical symbols in the red squares with a sharpie pen. The rules get shifted a bit by making the student say out loud the name of the symbol he moves his checker piece to. Other than that, it’s just the same rules as regular checkers. My kids beg me to play it every time, and it’s paying off, because they are finally memorizing the symbol names now!

Another idea that a student had recently is musical Twister. All you would have to do is take a sharpie and draw notes on the colored squares and doing the same thing with the spinner. So for example, let’s say you make all the red squares quarter notes. Make sure the red square on the spinner has a quarter note, and when you spin to that square, say “place a hand/foot on the quarter notes.” You could even make it more challenging by writing only the names of the notes on the spinner, and drawing the notes on the game mat. That way the student has to really think about which note is which.

The possibilities for this idea are endless. All it takes is a little time to think about which games you enjoy already, and some imagination.  Please post your ideas here, so that we can all create more fun, educational experiences for our students. Happy gaming!

About the Author

Bella Payne
While working on a degree in Sociology with plans to become a Social Worker, I fell into teaching piano lessons as a way to pay my bills. I had no idea I was stumbling into a totally fulfilling, creative and exciting career! Every day, I teach several students in their homes, in my home, and online how to play piano from scratch. Over the last 10 years, I have seen kids and adults go from timid b... [Read more]


  1. r4 card

    I like to play the games and mostly find some info about gaming…
    Because i am fond of gaming so this article is really helpful for me…

  2. Ken Rhodes

    This gives me the idea to try a musical version of Bingo, using combinations of either chord names or scales with specific rhtyhm patterns. Not sure how it would work yet, but thanks for the inspiration, Michelle!

  3. Suzanne Lichtenstein

    This would work well as a Battleship game. You could use two checkerboards, or some other identical gameboards you made. Put up a divider between the two boards, and have the students call off moves to each other.

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