Even the most incredible pianist will tell you that mastering basic piano skills is the key to becoming a better piano player. The best way to do it? Practice! We love to make practice fun, so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite practice games. Try them out and let us know what you think.
Musical notes have their own alphabet and understanding that alphabet is a crucial skill for all music students. It can take time to master this special alphabet because it has to be memorized forwards and backwards, and even while skipping every other letter! Alphabet Towers is one fun way to practice the musical alphabet in order, starting on any letter. Higher levels of the game challenge you to arrange the musical alphabet in skips.
Another great piano alphabet game is Alphabet Ball. It can be played with 2 or more players. Players sit on the floor either face-to-face (2 players) or in a circle (3+ players) with enough space between them to roll a ball. Take a small ball and roll the ball to your partner, or to anyone in the circle, saying any letter in the musical alphabet. The next person says the next letter, rolling the ball either back to their partner or to someone else in the circle. Continue rolling and saying each letter, stepping up, in the musical alphabet. Then try stepping down, skipping up, and skipping down.
Even beginning students can learn music by ear, and there are many games out there that support ear training. Mystery Melodies is a game that does exactly that. You’ll hear a short musical phrase and then pick which of four written melodies was the one you just heard. It trains you to visually track notes on a staff and to recognize the way the shape of a written melodic line matches the sound.
Earn Your Age
This is a really fun game if you need to work on note accuracy and you’re motivated by cash (or snack!) prizes. First, pick a short section of a song to work on. We suggest about one line of music. Next, gather a pile of pennies, candies, dried beans (don’t eat those!), or other small objects. Play the piece of music. If you play the notes correctly with no mistakes, you win a penny! If you mess up even a single note, you lose a penny. Play the section over and over until you collect as many pennies as your age. When you do, you win!
When you’re sight reading a song you don’t have time to stop and think, “I wonder what note that is.” Get ready for fluent sight reading by playing Staff Crawler. You’ll click notes on a keyboard displayed on your screen to match notes written on a staff. Starting with a simple one-line staff, the game helps you learn to read notes by identifying steps, skips, and repeats. Then, when you’re ready, you’ll move on to reading the full staff.
Follow Along with Music
Another fun way to practice visually tracking notes is to listen to a piece of music while following along with the sheet music. Look at the notes on the page and compare them to what you’re hearing with your ears. Repeat phrases as often as you need until what’s written on the page makes sense with what your ears are hearing. This is a great game for car rides and summer travel! Get those headphones ready.
Games for Music Mastery
Forget boring memorization and endless drilling. Music games are the best way to help make learning fun (total bonus: they also help avoid frustration and burn-out). Try the games we’ve highlighted above, or get creative and dream up your own. We’d love to hear your favorite ways of making learning music fun, so please share in the comments below!