Because I'm a pretty cool piano teacher (sometimes) I came up with a game for one of my little football stars who didn't want to learn the names of the white keys... and it worked. By the end of his lesson, he knew every white key name!
- Scale Blocks (see Natalie's post here)
- Mini Footballs (I printed mine on cardstock and glued them to buttons)
- Goalposts (also known as "straws trimmed and taped together")
- Toss all of your scale blocks into a bowl, bag, hat, box or whatever you have handy. (I used a small hand drum.)
- Decide how large you want your field to be (depending on how much time you have) and place your "goalposts"
Note: I used very skinny, flimsy straws and slipped them a fraction of a centimeter down between keys. Bad for my piano? Probably, but my piano saw 30 years of (much worse) abuse before I purchased it. If you are concerned about your keys, you could make a base out of more straws or a bit of modeling clay.
- Place your footballs at their starting positions. Team Bass Clef goes on middle C, Team Treble Clef goes two keys over on E.
- Take turns drawing a scale block and moving the football to the corresponding key. (Team Bass Clef always moves lower towards their goal post, and Team Treble Clef always moves higher towards their post.)
- The first team to score a touchdown (pass their goal post) wins!
- Use only one football and have team Treble move it up, and team Bass move it down. This makes the game a little bit more like real football, but takes up a lot more time in the lesson.
- Penalize students for "going out of bounds." In other words, if they land their football on the wrong note, they have to go back to their last position.
- Offer the chance to earn a "point after touchdown" by answering a random question about whatever they're currently learning. (i.e. "What does forte mean?" or "Name one piece of music that Mozart wrote.")