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How To Use Music Games in Online Piano Lessons (Physical Games)

Updated: Jan 19

I have always LOVED playing music games in piano lessons, and that didn't change when I started teaching online.


I find that students learn so much better when they're having fun (and when they don't even realise they're learning!)


I've had many teachers ask me for advice on how to play music games in online lessons, so I thought I'd share some of my tips!


Also, none of my tips involve using screen share - a lot of my students have simple set-ups of just FaceTime on mobile phones, so I try and work with that to make their experience the best I can!


SEND OVER PDFs


If a student is happy to print things off at home, I email over a PDF of the game for them to print.


To make things easier, I tend to limit these games to simple games where they only need a board and playing pieces (and kids LOVE showing what they've got for playing pieces - students have used fossils, foreign coins, Lego figures, anything they can find!)

Slothman playing a game with two piano buddies

I also try and send games that don't have *too* much colour, (plain backgrounds rather than coloured) so they don't use too much ink!



I also have the copy of the game in front of me, and I have the all important question cards - the student can't move around the board without identifying the note I hold up to them.


Students love the physical aspect of these games, as there's something satisfying about moving playing pieces around the board by yourself!





MAGNETIC BOARD

If I have a slightly more complex game (for example 'Donut Worry'), I'll have the board and components on a big magnetic board so they can see everything and give me instructions. To make my games magnetic, I simply stick a bit of self-adhesive magnet to the back of the different parts. I found sheets of self-adhesive magnets in my local craft shop for a couple of pounds, and they've been so useful!

I still like giving the student a physical role in these games, so they're not just staring at the screen, and this works really well especially with beginners.
Donut Worry for an online lesson

I tell them to place two playing pieces on the bottom note on their piano. I then roll a dice (or spin a spinner on my iPad) to tell them how many notes to move up on the piano.
They move their playing piece and tell me the new note their playing piece is on.
This is the note/letter we need for the game. In the case of 'Donut Worry' they tell me which letter can be covered up on their board.

Students love the multi-level aspect of these games, and the teamwork element of them working out which note they need, and then instructing me what to do in the game!

Sometimes I use the magnetic board for games the student also has a copy of, so I can keep track of the gameplay, and we can check we're both in the same places (which is a very important matter for younger students!)




MUSIC GAME PICK UP

A lot of my students attend the local schools, which means it's not out of their way to drop by to pick things up from time to time.


At the start of every half term I have a bundle of things for students to collect to last them for the next five or six weeks, and these bundles usually include games!


One bundle they collected included a cute bag to keep the games in, and a little packet of playing pieces and tokens that can be used in a variety of different ways.


For students who live a bit further away, I pop some bits and bobs in the post - children don't normally receive letters or parcels so when the post arrives it's a very exciting day for them!




That's just three ways I incorporate music games in piano lessons:

  • Email PDFs of the game boards to students, and I have the question cards

  • Magnetic board and interactive questions for students

  • Bundle of resources for students to pick up

I'll be back soon with some more ways I incorporate games and other fun and quirky activities into lessons, but in the meantime, let me know how you use music games in online lessons (or if you have any questions I'll do my best to help out!)


~ Georgina




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