Your Piano Students’ Favorite Christmas Sight-Reading Games

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Your Piano Students' Favorites Sight-Reading Games

Christmas will soon be here, and Melody Payne’s “Feed the Nutcracker” sight reading and ear training games will quickly become your piano students’ favorite Christmas sight-reading games!

They are just the boost your piano studio needs to keep excited children focused and still learning.

And as a bonus, they’ll be having so much fun playing these fantastic Christmas sight-reading games, they won’t even realize how much they are learning!

In today’s post, I’ll introduce you to Sets Three, Four, and Five of the fabulous “Feed the Nutcracker” sight reading and ear training games.

I’ll also give you three reasons why you need these Christmas sight-reading games in your piano studio today.

I know all of us piano teachers around the world are extremely busy at this festive time of year, so I promise I’ll be brief!

(if you’re looking for a non-Christmas version, check out all of the Feed the Music Monster games)


What Are These Christmas Sight-Reading Games All About?

In case you missed my previous post introducing you to the first two of this fabulous set of five Christmas sight-reading games, here’s a quick recap:

  • This is an instant download that, once purchased, you can print out on cardstock and easily assemble yourself.
  • There are 30 melodies from the Nutcracker Ballet by Tchaikovsky that are clearly printed on attractive strips, each containing four measures of music.
  • The melody cards are numbered according to a list of musical excerpts that is provided in each set of “Feed the Nutcracker” sight reading and ear training games.
  • There is a list of supplies and full preparation instructions, including instructions for those who wish to print a large or even extra large nutcracker.
  • The custom nutcracker image for each of these Christmas sight-reading games is absolutely beautiful, and each has some musical symbols incorporated into the image.
  • Simply cut out the nutcracker and paste it to a bag. Create a hole where his mouth is so students can “feed” the musical excerpts into his mouth one by one — how fun!


How to Play “Feed the Nutcracker” Christmas Sight Reading and Ear Training Games

For Christmas ear training games:

  • The student draws two melody cards from a bag.
  • The teacher plays one of the melodies, and the student has to guess which one she played.
  • If the student is correct, they get to feed the musical excerpt to the nutcracker and collect a walnut, peanut, or hazelnut card, depending on which game is being played.
  • Continue playing until you run out of time or until a predetermined number of nut cards has been collected by the student.


For Christmas sight-reading games:

  • The student draws one of the 30 melodies from a bag and studies it carefully before attempting to sight read it.
  • If the student plays the melody correctly, they feed the card to the nutcracker and collect a nut card.


These “Feed the Nutcracker” sight reading and ear training games can be played with a single student at a piano lesson or in a group of two to four students if you teach in a small group setting.

With a group of two to four students playing, they can play until all the nut cards have been collected.

The person who has collected the most nut cards at the end of the game is the winner!


Treble and Bass Clef Christmas Sight-Reading Games (Feed the Nutcracker Set 3)

Your Piano Students' Favorite Christmas Sight Reading Game 3

The melody cards in this set are a little more difficult than those found in Set 2.

Here’s what you’ll find in these musical excerpts:

  • The melodies are printed on the grand staff, but each melody encompasses just one staff.
  • The bass notes range from C3 to C4.  The treble notes range from C4 – C5.
  • There are a range of different notes and rests including eighth, quarter, dotted quarter, half, dotted half, whole, dotted eighth followed by sixteenth, triplets, and grace notes.
  • The key signatures include up to two sharps or flats plus the occasional accidental.
  • There are tempo markings, ties, time signatures, dynamics, etc. all in the music, but no finger numbers.  Students at this level need to figure that out for themselves.
  • In this game, students collect a walnut card when they feed the nutcracker.


Treble Clef Ledger Lines Christmas Sight-Reading Game (Feed the Nutcracker Set 4)

Your Piano Students' Favorite Christmas Sight Reading Game 4

This game is for slightly more advanced students who need sight reading or ear training practice with just the treble clef ledger line notes.

  • Only the treble staff is depicted.  Therefore, this game could be useful to a variety of instrumental music teachers including voice, flute, or violin teachers to name a few.
  • The excerpts include ledger line notes above and below the staff, ranging from G3 to C6.
  • The note and rest values are the same as in Set 3.
  • Key signatures include up to three sharps or flats plus accidentals.
  • Students collect peanut cards when they successfully feed the nutcracker.


Bass Clef Ledger Lines Christmas Sight-Reading Game (Feed the Nutcracker Set 5)

Your Piano Students' Favorite Christmas Sight Reading Game 5

The difficulty level of this Feed the Nutcracker sight reading and ear training game is about the same as Game #4.

  • Only the bass staff is depicted, and melodies include ledger line notes both above and below the staff.
  • Notes range from C2 to E4.
  • This game could be useful to not only piano teachers, but cello, bass, voice, and baritone teachers as well.
  • Students collect a hazelnut card when they successfully feed the nutcracker.


I hope you found this description of the music useful.

It was intended to help you choose the right Christmas sight-reading games for your students.

Or, if you’re like me and teach beginners to advanced piano students, you’ll surely want to own all five Christmas sight-reading games!


3 Reasons You Need “Feed the Nutcracker” Sight Reading and Ear Training Games 


1. Sight reading and ear training is important!

Maybe your students already have a designated sight reading and/or ear training book that they regularly use.

As teachers, we know that incorporating these skills into every lesson is vital.

However, it’s Christmas, so now is the time to switch things up and “gamify” the process by allowing your students to play these entertaining Christmas sight-reading games.

Not only will they get to hone their sight reading and ear training skills, but also they will learn some melodies by Tchaikovsky, which is perfect at this time of year!


2. This is an easy and educational way to keep excited kids on track during piano lessons.

Maybe your holiday recital is already over, or maybe yours is happening soon.

Either way, you are a busy teacher!

And if you are still teaching this month, you know that your young students are excitedly thinking about presents, decorations, baking, school concerts, etc., and not necessarily about piano lessons and their recital.

With very little effort from you (the prep for these resources is quick and easy!), you’ll have your students focused on essential sight reading and ear training skills, and giggling while they do it!


3. Owning these Christmas sight-reading games will save you time in the long run.

Remember, these “Feed the Nutcracker” sight reading and ear training games are yours to keep forever.

So once you assemble the games, you and your students can play them every Christmas (or anytime you want, really), for as long as you teach music!

I have all five games, and I’m already thinking about next Christmas, how happy my returning students will be to play the games again, possibly at a different level than they played this year.

And the games are all assembled, ready to go, thus saving me time next year when we play them again!


Need more ideas for using these Christmas sight-reading games?

Check out 10 Ways to Use Sight-Reading Games in Piano Lessons, which features Feed the Music Monster (same gameplay, different melodies).


Grab your “Feed the Nutcracker” sight reading and ear training games and let the fun begin immediately!

You can purchase only the ones you need, or get them in a bundle of all five resources.

And please let me know in the comments below if you found other ways to use these Christmas sight-reading games!  🙂


Even more music games you’ll love…

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Celeste-tina Hernandez

Celeste-tina is a Royal Conservatory of Music trained pianist and music teacher. She holds a B.A. in Music and Drama from Trinity Western University and an M.A. in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University as well as numerous teaching certificates. She is a long-time member of the British Columbia Registered Music Teacher’s Association and regularly contributes to Progressions, the provincial magazine for registered music teachers. Celeste-tina currently teaches 65 piano, voice, and guitar students from her home studio in Chilliwack, B.C. She enjoys teaching students from ages four to adult and people of all abilities, both individually and in groups. She counts it a blessing to be able to share her love of music with so many and can’t wait to get back into the studio every Monday morning to begin another fun-filled week of music making.

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Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

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