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Music games

kids playing on the floor

If you’ve been around for a while now, you’ll realise that I am definitely developing a catchphrase.

It’s not always about the finished product, but it is always about the learning.

Me.

That can be a really hard pill to swallow in music teaching. We want to produce perfect little performers, so how can we really separate the two?

The short answer is that they are not separate. Imperfect learning is what leads to effective and beautiful performance.

An easy step in the direction of favouring effective learning over a perfect product is to incorporate games into your instrumental music lessons.

Now, I know the worry here. We will play games that are not connected to learning, that we will waste precious minutes just to make sure we are the ‘fun’ music teacher.


Let’s pause for a moment. If you really want to produce a wonderful performer, you want them to have solid, varied musical skills, right? They can’t achieve that by being at their instrument all the time. Music is more than just the chosen instrument.

Case in point. When I was 15, my piano teacher referenced a line in a Chopin waltz as obviously being inspired by a cello. In that moment, I couldn’t remember what a cello was, or what it sounded like. All I needed in that moment was to listen to an example of a cello. We didn’t, and I was left feeling quite inadequate for the next half hour.

Although this scenario has nothing to do with incorporating games, the point stands. My piano teacher wanted to produce a perfect performance, and he forgot to expand the rest of my musical education.

The point is that we get so caught up on ‘learning’ a piece of music, that we forget we are teaching music. Not just our instrument.


Back to games.

With younger students, games allow movement away from the instrument, incorporation of a wide variety of musical skills and builds a teacher-student relationship that fosters great musical learning.

Just remember to bring it back to one important question.

“What skill do I want my student to learn from music game?”

Maybe it’s reading music, or identifying notes, musical expression, or playing from memory.

If you can answer that question, you’re on the right track. If you can’t, spend some time looking through your student’s lesson notes.

What can you see you keep on reminding them to do?

Incorporate it into a music game.

What skill do they seem to avoid working on the most?

Incorporate it into a music game.

What skill do they seem to struggle the most to understand?

Incorporate it into a music game.

Every teacher uses music games differently, according to their space, instrument and personal style. Just remember, as long as you are focused on what your students are learning, you are getting it right!


Now, a treat for all of you wonderful music educators. We have created a music education resource here at the music educator for our youngest students – a collection of four games to get any music teacher started on incorporating games into lessons. For a limited time only, download it here for free!



Feeling overwhelmed with the never-ending responsibilities of a music teacher? Us too! Go to our shop to find reasonably priced music education resources designed by experts to make your life easier.

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  1. Pingback: Music Lessons and Planning - the music educator

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