For many of us north of the equator, old man winter is making his presence known. The dog days of summer are both months past and months away. But we’re not going to let that get us down! So, today’s piano teaching game is going to bring a bit of the beach into our piano studios.
Today’s piano teaching game: Beethoven’s Beach Ball
Beethoven’s Beach Ball is designed to help students learn to quickly identify integral parts of piano pieces such as key signatures, time signatures, primary chords, musical form and more.
Today’s game works well in master classes, piano parties, or other groups settings. To play the game, you will need multiple copies of a selected piano piece, a multi-colored beach ball, and at least 3 piano students.
Before playing the game, inflate your multi-colored beach ball. On each of the beach ball’s colored sections write a question to be answered (using a jiffy marker). Shorten the questions to fit on the beach ball as shown below.
The following questions are samples only. Depending on the age of your students, questions can be easier or more difficult and can be changed according to what you have previously covered in lessons or theory classes.
1. Key Signature? (In what key is this piece written?)
2. Time Signature? (What is the time signature of this piece?)
3. Tonic note? (What is the tonic note in this piece?)
4. Dominant note? (What is the dominant note in this piece?)
5. Musical form? (What is the musical form of this piece?)
6. Major or Minor? (Is the song in a major key or a minor key?)
Playing the Game
1. Begin by sitting with your students in a circle on the floor.
2. Each student should have a copy of the piano piece to be studied.
3. Pass the beach ball to a student.
4. Upon catching the ball, the student must answer the first question they see on the ball.
5. After answering, the student passes the ball to another person who reads and answers the next question.
Play continues until all of the questions have been answered at least once. Increase excitement by setting a timer and trying to pass the ball and answer questions before it rings. Choose a new piano piece to start the game again!