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Add a Little Musical Play to Learning

Music Activities for Children

Music Activity Tic Tac Doh Note Scramble People Piano Rhythm Telephone Musical Machines Free Musical Script




When planning music activities for children in the classroom, we are always looking for ways to engender an enjoyment of music while teaching the basics such as how to read music notes, clap and write rhythms and sing in tune. With this in mind, the focus here will be on:

Music Activities for the
The First 5 Minutes

Play relaxes - so let's take advantage of that fact at the beginning of each lesson (or rehearsal).

What better way to get all of the students and teachers enthused and involved in the class than starting with music games focused on the particular skill or knowledge being practised?

It's amazing to watch as the shyest or most disinterested students want to learn to read music when it looks like non-threatening fun!

Below you will find some suggestions for games that can be used to practise reading music notes in a variety of rhythmic or melodic patterns. There are also links to download and print music note symbols if needed.

Need to get the steam out? Also try some Energizing Music Activities........


Tic Tac Doh

Use this old standard to do a quick review of rhythm patterns, note values, melodic passages etc.

Tic Tac Rhythm             Tic Tac Melodic

Ideas for musical play on a grid:
• draw the grid on the blackboard/white board/chart paper ......
  (for a more permanent game grid that is still easy to remove - use a bright colour of plastic    tape to make the lines on the board - you can erase the notes without erasing the grid)

• for a portable game make the grid on poster board, use paper clips to make hooks in each square so that your questions can be written on cards and hung on the hook (also makes it very quick and easy to rearrange the cards for a new music game)

• make sure that there are a variety of levels of patterns so that students can select a simple one if they are not feeling very confident

• X and O can be drawn right on the board or marker cards with music note symbols e.g. Treble Clef & Bass Clef can be used for the teams and placed on each square with sticky tack, magnets or the hooks on a portable board

• a variety of challenges or choices could be given for the performance in order to earn the square for the team (e.g. clap, say, sing, play on instrument, show hand signs .....)

• for a greater challenge, use cards with symbols to hide each square so that the players don't know what question is hidden in each square - players must name the symbol before being able to see the question


Note Scramble

   Play as an individual challenge or as a team game.
Scrmble Board
• on the board place a number of individual note cards in random order (identical set for each team)

• clap, say or play a 1-2 bar rhythm passage
   (make it harder as students are ready)
• players pull down and reorder the notes to make the correct pattern

• first done correctly gets point for team

Try this with melodic patterns using Sol Fa cards or individual notes on the staff.

Lots of Fun in these Music Activities for Children .... and Adults!

People Piano

- usually dissolves into rounds of laughter but helps students to get the right note the first time - maybe ....people piano

• can be played by singing or playing notes on an instrument

• select a few students to become the piano and assign them each one note to play or sing when they are touched on the shoulder

• the teacher or another student walks behind the "Piano" and "plays" by touching the "notes" on the shoulder

• notes must be performed in the style of the touch by the player (duration, staccato, legato, harmony ...)

Rhythm Telephone
- another old standby that is great fun as a rhythm practice game

• play in a circle with younger students or divide into teams and have a relay game from the back of a line to the front

• teacher taps a rhythm silently on the back(s) of the first student who taps the same rhythm on the back of the next student etc.

• last student (or students in a relay) clap the rhythm out loud

• teacher claps the rhythm back and shows the written form of the pattern to see if the students passed the rhythm down the telephone line accurately

Musical Machines

- this is a version of Body Sculpture that incorporates the elements of music

• divide students into groups of 5-8 children and ask them to create a moving machine
• each student must be an individual part of the machine with its own sound and repetitive movement
• all parts must be joined together so that there is a cause and effect relationship between the parts (as the machine starts up, the movement of the first part causes the next part to move and make noise etc.)
• as they work with their machines, students should be guided to create a steady rhythm that is unique to their machine
• once machines are up and running they can be controlled by a machine operator (conductor) who will change the speed (tempo) at which the machines run which will affect the levels of the sound (pitch, volume)
• specific machines can be stopped, started, given crescendos or decrescendos to add interest to the manufacturing process (composition)
There are many creative ways to use this activity to reinforce musical concepts.

Words'n Rhythms

Need to have some printable music activities for children?
Words'n Rhythms - a 2 page activity for children to print the words that match the given rhythms. Students can then perform as chants or make up a melody to sing.

Energizing Music Activities........


Helpful Sites to Visit .....

Teaching Piano?
Try out these helpful
Tips and Techniques for Children

The Importance of Christian Music and Lyrics

Love the Piano?
Piano Sheet Music,
Piano Lessons,
Piano Accessories at
All About Pianos