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Making Music Theory Fun at Christmas

When December rolls around, piano students fluctuate between two moods: 1. Excited about playing Jingle Bells over and over and over. 2. Tired. To try and wake them up and distract them away from Jingle Bells, I like giving my students Christmas-themed music theory puzzles.

take a trip to the festive lands

Detective Purrlock is back! If you haven't met him before, check out The Land Of Yum

He has a new case for your students: reveal the members of "The Present Nabbers"

The Present Nabbers

I'm sure you've heard - it's big news -

Santa Paws has been kidnapped! 😲 The evil gang, "The Present Nabbers," is behind the kidnapping. They devised an evil plan to steal all the presents from everyone in Festive Lands - kidnap Santa Paws; the presents are theirs.

Detective Purrlock has gathered a list of suspects. Each suspect has a statement - your students must determine whether their statements are true or false.

If the statement is true, the suspect is innocent. If the statement is false, the suspect is a Present Nabber and must be put behind bars!

Badgey vs bodger

Badgey thinks that Mr. Doggo has more post than Mrs. Froggo. Bodger thinks that Mrs Froggo has more post than Mr. Doggo.

How do we know who's telling the truth?

By sorting out the post!

Envelopes with a 'D' are sent to Mr Doggo. Envelopes with an 'F' are sent to Mrs Froggo. Any other notes get sent back to the post office.

Notes are treble clef, bass clef, and piano keys.

Piggo vs oinkers

Both Piggo and Oinkers reckon they know a rhythm that matches one of Chimper's punchlines. As everyone knows, Chimper is the King of the Christmas Jokes!

Students clap and say the first line of the joke. They then say the punchline and draw the rhythm that matches the words (this is basically working out if the words are 1 syllable or 2 syllables and making sure they clap correctly - something some of my younger students needed to work on)

Squeak vs tiny

These adorable mice look cute, but one of them is telling a porky pie (lie).

Squeak has decided that there are more swirly baubles than stripy baubles, but Tiny thinks it's the other way around.

To work out who's correct, your student must help Decorative Dec decorate the baubles.

Each bauble represents a certain pattern of notes. For example, spotty baubles are C D E E. Find the bars with C D E E and draw spots on the baubles underneath. Repeat for the other patterns.

Tails vs stripes

These raccoons think they both know the Tusker Triplets' favourite Christmas snacks...but only one of them is correct!

To discover their favourite Christmas snacks, follow the instructions of moving up or down steps or skips on the grand staff.

Foxton vs chestnut

Both of these foxes have opinions on Professor Owlton's cold-weather clothes, but only one is correct. Help Professor Owlton label his clothes by reading the notes on the labels, working out the words, and finding the matching item of clothing.


When your student has worked out who is a Present Nabber they can "put them behind bars". When they've all been locked up, they crack and reveal the location of Santa Paws.

Christmas is saved!

Festive Lands will be available in the BusyLittleTurtle online store from 24th November 2023.

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