To teach or to play?

fingers on piano keys

So you want to include games in your music lessons, but don’t know where to start?

I’m certain that all music teachers have felt the same at some point or another.

The biggest worry that we all have is that we play games that are not connected to learning, that we are wasting precious minutes just to make sure we are the ‘fun’ music teacher. We really are skilled at overthinking music teaching.

The problem often lies (as it usually does) in not planning effectively. Worried that a student is looking bored, you jump in and fix the boredom with a quick movement game. Concerned that a student is not listening to you, you make up a game to incorporate and alter their misbehaviour.

Over time, this leads to lots of music games being incorporated (which can seem fantastic) but not much time spent at the instrument, or focusing on any particular skill.

The only question that you need to ask yourself to solve this problem is this:

“What skill do I want my student to learn from this 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 incorporates 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 for free! If you want more information on how we make and structure our resources, check out this post.

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.

This post was originally published September, 2022.

One response to “To teach or to play?”

  1. […] easy step in the direction of favouring effective learning over a perfect product is to incorporate games into your instrumental music […]


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