Raise your hand if your students love playing games in piano lessons as much as mine do! Playing games in in-person piano lessons is very easy. All we have to do is grab the game from the shelf and play. But what about our online students? How can we continue to play our students’ favorite games in online piano lessons? How can we infuse more fun and interaction into online piano lessons? It’s much easier than you might think!
This blog post was featured in Music Game Club’s How to Play Printable Music Games in Virtual Lessons, which you can read for even more ideas in addition to these three.
Watch this video to see how easy it is to play games in online piano lessons
This video will show you just how easy it is for my piano students and I to play printable games in online piano lessons. I promise it’s as easy as 1-2-3!
Setting up to play games in online piano lessons
First, we’ll need to figure out how to set up the printable games so they will work easily in online piano lessons. There are lots of ways you can do this, but I prefer using some kind of magnet to attach the game boards to a magnetic dry erase board.
I love using a small magnetic dry erase board to display printed games during online lessons. My favorite size is the 16×12 board because it is small and EASY to move into place during the lessons.
I have found that attaching the game board to the dry erase board helps me transition smoothly into “game time” while the student is finishing up another task. When they’re finished with that task, the game board is in place and ready to go!
You’ll need these supples (or something similar) for displaying and sharing printable games in online piano lessons:
- 16×12 magnetic two-sided dry erase board
- Printable magnetic sheets OR Clear magnetic pockets
- Magnets to attach the game board to the dry erase board (or you can use magnets you already have around the house, or the magnets that come with the magnetic dry erase board)
- Magnets to use as game pieces
Now that you have your magnetic dry erase board, you can attach the printed game boards to the magnetic dry erase board in a few different ways. Here are the 3 ways I’ve tried, and my favorite way is listed first.
1. Use Magnetic Pockets to Display the Games in Online Piano Lessons
- The magnetic pockets are quick and easy to switch out if you have each game board in a separate pocket.
- The clear plastic protects the game board.
- The game boards can be used in both in-person and online lessons without having to remove the game board from the magnetic pocket.
- Can also be pricey if you have tons of games (but very affordable if you purchase only one pack of pouches and switch the game boards out frequently).
- These clear magnetic pockets are my favorites.
- Trim 1/8″ off the edges of your printed game boards so they can be placed into the magnetic pouches in a snap.
- Include switching out the game boards as part of your lesson planning each day and your game boards will always be ready for the next student.
2. Use Printable Magnetic Sheets to Play Games in Online Piano Lessons
- My favorite of the 3 options!
- This is the quickest and easiest way to change out game boards during a lesson or between lessons.
- The game boards can easily be used in both in-person and online piano lessons.
- Can be pricey if you need to print tons of games onto the magnetic sheets.
- I like these printable magnetic sheets.
- Print your students’ favorite games onto the magnetic sheets, and save the rest of the games for one of the other two options (magnetic pockets or white card stock with refrigerator magnets).
- Use both sides of the dry erase board! Then you can have 2 games ready to go at all times. Simply flip the board over, and the other game is ready in an instant.
3. Use Refrigerator Magnets to Display the Games in Online Piano Lessons
- Magnets are the most affordable way to display the game boards on your magnetic dry erase board.
- You probably already have some extra magnets around your home or studio you could use, so this is the most cost-effective option.
- It takes a little longer to remove the magnets, switch out the game board, and replace the magnets than it would take to remove the magnetic paper or magnetic pouch.
- You might drop a magnet into your piano and have to spend several minutes taking your piano apart to retrieve the magnet. Ask me how I know 😀
- Use a single side of the dry erase board so you can keep an eye on the magnets.
- Be sure to use plenty of magnets or a few strong magnets to hold the game boards in place if you’re printing them onto paper or card stock. You don’t want them to fall off of the dry erase board in the middle of a lesson!
- You can also use magnets as game pieces, and they’re easy to move around the game board as you and your student are playing the games during online piano lessons.
Showing Your Online Students the Games in Online Piano Lessons
The next step is making the game board visible to your online students, but also making it QUICK and EASY for you to display it.
Specifically, I’ll be using these pieces of equipment to show the games to my students:
- Overhead webcam (the Logitech C920 is my favorite)
- Tripod microphone boom stand
- Ball adapter to attach the webcam to the boom stand
This article shows you how to set up your overhead camera, which is how I show my students the games in online piano lessons.
Dice Options for Games in Online Piano Lessons
When playing games in online piano lessons, you will probably need to roll dice so you and your students can use the game boards to their full potential.
Here are some options for rolling the dice when you play games in online piano lessons.
You already saw my favorite option in the video above, but I wanted to show you several additional options so you can choose the one that is easiest for you.
If you focus on keeping the entire process easy, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy incorporating printable games in online piano lessons!
Dice rolling app
- I have the Dice 3D app on my phone and my iPad.
- Customize the look of the dice from regular black and white to neon glow in the dark!
- I find it easier to use the dice app on my iPad with my online students because the screen is so much larger than my iPhone screen and they can see it better.
Decide Now App
- The Decide Now App is my favorite dice alternative! It’s easy to use, my iPad is always on my music stand, and setting up a “dice” spinner takes only a minute.
- Set it up using numbers 1-6.
- Use the short spin option instead of the longer spin option to save time and keep the game moving.
- Press it to roll the dice. You may have a game at home that includes one of these.
Clear plastic container
- Use a small clear plastic container like this, which you probably have in your kitchen. Add dice to the container, shake it, and then you don’t have to chase dice around your studio because the container keeps them contained!
Send your students a set of jumbo dice!
- Make the game more interactive for your students by sending them a set of jumbo foam dice so they can roll the dice themselves!
- Make the dice even more fun by attaching googly eyes to them! Read the full googly eye dice tutorial.
Playing games in online piano lessons really is as easy as 1-2-3! Here are the steps one more time:
- Print the game boards
- Attach them to the magnetic dry erase board
- Use your overhead camera to share a view of the games in online piano lessons
Storing and Organizing the Cards for Games in Online Piano Lessons
Now that you’ll be playing games in online lessons, you’ll need a place to store the game board and game cards that you can keep within easy reach of the piano bench.
I love storing my game cards for all of my piano lesson games in colorful 4×6 photo boxes like these. They are my favorites because they’re the perfect size, they’re one of the best organizational tools, and the colors are vibrant and fun!
7 Fundamental Piano Games for Piano Students
If you want to give your online piano students a treat and provide games for them to play in online piano lessons, here are a few of my favorites.
- Piano Key Spelling Bee piano keys game for beginners
- Middle C Spelling Bee Note Reading Game for Beginning Piano Lessons
- Feed the Pumpkin Middle C Position Sight-Reading Game
- Music Spelling Bee Treble and Bass Clef Note Reading Game
- Feed the Music Monster Sight-Reading and Ear Training Games
- Beethoven Says beginning piano keys game and the Halloween version Zombie Says beginning piano keys game
- View all of my printable games for piano lessons