8ths games at home, in the studio, or classroom has proven to be much more
effective than traditional flash cards by keeping the FUN in music! The sections
below outline some of the wide variety of uses for this versatile learning tool.
The left column of this page shows a list of the games on the
rule sheet, which support 1-6
players. Additional games are also described here.
Very young children can play music, but may not understand reading music. Many of
the techniques used for teaching notes are too mature for a child this age. In the
treble clef, the spaces spell F-A-C-E. But a young child cant spell.
Repetition is of the utmost importance at this age in learning everything - the alphabet,
numbers, colors, and even the names of notes.
In the 'old days,' teachers waited for children to mature (3rd or 4th grade) before
starting lessons. We have proof of just how much these little brains can soak up at
such early ages. For instance, with the Suzuki technique, the child begins playing
immediately. Eventually every student must take the plunge and learn to read music.
Flash cards were basically the main teaching aid for naming notes. But they are
notoriously boring! Where a child may use flash cards for 1 or 2 minutes, that same
child could play numerous games of Go Fish every day, for many days, and
weeks, and on and on... Children love to play cards, especially ones with such
humorous pictures and brilliant colors.
You can always simplify the games for young children. Suppose your child is
playing in the Middle C Position on the piano, and knows Bass A, B, Middle C, and Treble
D, E. With only these 5 notes, you can play Go Fish. "Do you
have any Bass Clef A's?", and show them that card. They will begin matching the
notes and proceed to figure them out on their own very quickly. Add new notes one at
a time. once the original five are familiar.
Memory also works well with young ones. Use the same five notes in
two different suits and place the ten cards face down on the table. Turn over one
card, help them name the note and look for its match. Be patient, supportive, have
fun, and your child will be naming notes in no time.
Even after a year or 2 of lessons, some children (more
than you may think) have squeaked by without thoroughly learning their notes. They think
theyre too grown up for flash cards, yet they definitely need to review
and practice naming
Crazy Eights, Haydn Seek, Spoons - actually any of the games - are wonderful for repetition
without boredom. The students may play for 30 minutes or more and never even realize
they're studying music. The games are fun, entertaining, challenging, and keep
older kids interested.
Set up a few card tables, have tournaments, keep score - they'll never know what hit
them! These games are perfect for band and orchestra students. They love
playing while travelling on trips, too!
A lot of people enjoy playing cards. Crazy 8ths is terrific for slightly
stretching the mind. Skill, planning, pulling off the perfect game is even more fun
when you're playing with cards written in a second (but fluent) language. There
solitaire game included in the rule sheet. This is just as entertaining for
a rainy afternoon as regular solitaire. Maybe even more so!!
Yes, we've pulled these cards out on our guests. Recently, we had 4 40-somethings, 2
20-somethings, and our 8-year old daughter playing Crazy Eighths and Spoons.
We had a BLAST!! Even though the ages and abilities varied and 2 people used
the cheat sheet, we still had a great time. Everyone had an equal chance of winning.
Is getting your child to practice a daily struggle? How
many of YOU remember not liking lessons? We moaned, wouldn't practice, cried before
lessons, and many eventually quit. Most adults wish that they could play a musical
instrument and that they had continued lessons as a child. And every one of them
blame their music teacher or their mother
One of the main reasons children quit is because they are unfamiliar with the
"language." Imagine reading a book where most of the words are undecipherable.
The same goes with reading music. When you become fluent with the names of the notes, you
suddenly can figure things out on your own, especially during home practice time without
the help of your teacher. You can feel independent and know you're accomplishing
something on your own.
Once a child feels comfortable naming the notes, they will feel good about trying new
songs. If you can pull out Crazy 8ths
and play for 10 or more minutes a day, the results will be astounding. A
grandmother from Kentucky reported that if her grandson practices the piano for 15 minutes
after school, then his "reward" is to play Crazy 8ths. He now rushes home from school to
practice. She is thrilled with the results.
Keep the deck of cards with you. If you find yourself in a waiting
situation, pull them out for a quick game. The more your child plays and repeats the
notes, the easier it is for him/her to "turn on" music,
rather than only at
practice and lesson time.
Your teacher is going to LOVE the results!
is wonderful to have in the waiting room. By playing a solitaire game or a quick
game with a parent, the child starts thinking about music before actually starting the
If you have a theory class that meets every few weeks, these games are a great way to
'break the ice' at early sessions. You can also have simultaneous games going, with
score keeping and ongoing tournaments.
Many a game has been used in summer work shops for team building,
meeting new friends,
and yet learning while having fun.