Holiday Music Games for Everyone – Includes Free Games
It’s time to have some holiday fun at your private lessons, group lessons, holiday parties, and in the classroom! So here’s a handy list of both free resources and resources that are affordably priced to use in your celebrating! There are so many musical concepts that you can teach with holiday games. And the excitement of this time of year makes it even more motivating to students.
Here are 5 of some of the best games for music and piano teachers. Be sure to get all 5!
1. Stinky Stockings
This is a super fun, hot potato like game that’s great for reviewing theory. But it’s not just any hot potato kind of game. Stinky Stockings has fun surprises like holiday riddles and even “white elephant” cards that keep everyone guessing who will win. Students sit in a circle and pass or toss the Stinky Stocking while the holiday music plays. When the music stops, whoever is holding the stocking must pull a card and do what it says. This game is lots of fun!
- Theory and Christmas riddles
- Singing / Finish A Tune Challenge
- White elephant cards
- Bonus cards
All you need to play Stinky Stockings is:
- Stinky Stockings cards
- Card stock paper
- Laminator (optional)
- Music to play while they pass the dirty stocking
- A dirty looking stocking
Get the Stinky Stockings Game Cards (currently $8.99) in the store or by clicking the button below!
Two Free Games:
2. Holiday Who Am I?
Any holiday party, especially ones for students who are not together regularly, includes a good ice-breaker game. You’ve probably heard of some version of this game where you tape a character’s name on their back and then students walk around and ask each other “yes” or “no” questions to help guess their character. Last year, we even added Hanukkah characters along with the already popular secular and Christian characters.
All you need for this activity is:
- The Holiday Who Am I cards
These are free and they are ordered from easiest to most difficult. The first two pages are non-religious. The third page is religious and the fourth page includes Jewish characters.
We include instructions and sample questions in the file that you receive along with tips for making this game fabulous.
So just click on the button below Holiday Name That Tune and enter your email and you’ll get both in your email inbox!
3. Holiday Name That Tune
There’s not much educational benefit from just naming a tune, so this little bumped up version of Name That Tune asks the students to do a little thinking. The more answer they get correct, the more points they score for their team!
- Identify the meter
- Identify the first interval
- Identify the mode (major and minor)
- Describe the tempo (do they really remember those tempo terms?)
Now, of all the games on this page, this one is the least fun. It’s much better and more educational to fill the time with Holiday Rhythm Cup Explorations, Holiday Who Am I (as your icebreaker), and Stinking Stockings. So only use it if you really need to fill up the time.
You can get both Holiday Who Am I and Holiday Name That Tune by clicking on the button below or just click here to get both.
4. Holiday Rhythm Cup Explorations
The biggest, most exciting thing that you can do that will have ALL ages of students asking for more is Holiday Rhythm Cup Explorations. This book comes with 3 intermediate piano arrangements of 3 holiday tunes and cup tapping choreography composed specifically to go with the arrangement.
Every teacher that has tried this and reported back to me say that their students absolutely love this, so if you don’t have it, it’s well worth the very small investment. You can use it year after year and make copy after copy for students that you directly teach since it comes with a studio license!
But the best part is that it’s probably THE most educational “game” you can play at your music party. No other skill except rhythm is so integral to every music making experience. So improving your students rhythm is always one of the best things you can do at a party. AND it’s super fun!
Here’s what other teachers have recently said about Holiday Rhythm Cup Explorations:
The accompaniment tracks for Holiday Rhythm Cup Explorations are a must! My kids are so excited. This is our second year to do Christmas cups so adding something extra is really fun.
In January of last year, my teenagers were already starting to ask asking about a party again this year. We had great fun with the games and the cups!
I used this for our recital and group lessons. My students loved this and it promoted more practice!! I highly recommend!!
My students LOVE these tracks with Christmas cup rhythms. Parents LOVE seeing students perform these at our studio Christmas recitals. So much fun!!!
You can purchase Holiday Rhythm Cup Explorations in two ways:
- As a PDF book which you will get instantly.
This comes with a studio license so you can make as many prints for your students that you directly teach for your entire lifetime of teaching! [This is not a multi-teacher license. Every teacher that wants to use it must purchase it for themselves.]
- As a PDF book + the Gorgeous Accompaniment Tracks!
These just came out this year and they are amazing. You no longer have to be at the piano playing while simultaneously trying to help them cup-tap. You can just put on the tracks (there are 3 tempos for each song) and practice with them!
Just click on either of the images below to go to the page that has what you need!
5. Holiday Tune Flashcards for Sight-Reading and Sight-Singing
- Sight-singing (good for private lessons) – Give the student a starting pitch and then ask them to try to sing the melody out loud without the piano. Tell them it is a holiday tune. This is an excellent way to help them develop intervalic recognition.
- Challenge Game – Line up two teams of students with 2 students facing a call bell with their hands behind their back. Show one of the tunes and the student who rings the bell and names the tune immediately gets to keep the card for their team.
- Time’s up! – Allow each student at their private lesson 1 minute to name as many of the tunes as they can. They can pass a tune as well if they get stuck. At the end of the week, give a prize to the student or several students who named the tunes the most quickly.
- Harmonization Challenge – Give the student a card and ask them to harmonize the piece with traditional harmony. Challenge them to do it the 2nd time with different chords.
*Sorry…we can’t include copyrighted tunes, so you’ll only see public domain tunes here. We are very careful to adhere to copyright law so that all artists can make a living doing what they love.
Download the Sight-Reading, Sight-Singing Cards here or by clicking the button below.
What are your other favorite holiday games? Leave a comment to tell me and to share it with other ComposeCreate teachers!
- Six Seasonal Songs to Share – a challenge for students during their holiday break
- Holiday Sight Reading Challenge
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