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FREE Monkey Music Theory Games

Music theory games are useful because they give students a way to concretely understand an abstract concept. Kids love monkeys! So they are definitely going to like any music theory game with a monkey in it! Download the FREE printable flashcards here and read at all the ways you can use them to teach music theory below:

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Monkey music theory game flashcards from composecreate.comThis free music printable comes with BOTH:

  • Big Note Name Monkeys – Great for group or music classroom teaching
  • Small Note Name Monkeys – Easy to use at the piano, on the floor, or on a whiteboard

You can use these monkey music alphabet flashcards in so many ways. Here are just a few music concepts you can teach with the Monkey Music Alphabet Game. Scroll down for details.

  • Music alphabet
  • Steps and skips
  • Triads
  • Seventh chords
  • Scales
  • Note names

The sky’s the limit! but I’ll help you get started.

Monkey Manipulatives for Music Music Games [/fusion_text]<div class="fusion-text"></div> composecreate.comYou’ll Want These Monkey Manipulatives!

The only other thing you might want to do is run over to Amazon and purchase these monkey manipulatives. I cannot believe how cute they are and they are the perfect size for the piano keyboard. A few of mine are painted a little hurriedly, but no kid will mind. They are fabulous!

Name the Note

Monkey Music GamesThis game will give your students practice naming white key notes.

  1. Give your students the monkey manipulatives (or anything that can be put on the piano…wouldn’t plastic bananas be fun?).
  2. Place any Monkey Music Alphabet Cards on the music rack. Have your student place their monkey on the proper name.
  3. Variation: Hold the cards and show the student a card one at a time. Have the student play the correct note with their monkey and then flash a new card.

Race to the Banana – Note Naming Game

This game will give your students practice naming white key notes AND practice moving up and down.

  1. Tell your student your monkey wants to get to the banana first! You don’t have to have a banana, but here is another banana eraser just in case you want that too!
  2. Place 2 different looking monkeys on the left side of the keyboard (or alternatively, place one at the left side and one at the right side) and a banana at the right side of the keyboard.
  3. Mix up the Monkey Music Alphabet Cards and place face down on the piano bench.
  4. The student will pick up the top card and move his monkey up to the closet key (that matches the card).
  5. The teacher will pick up the next card and move her monkey up to the closest key. (Or if you have started on opposite sides, she’ll move hers down.)
  6. The monkey who reaches the banana first wins!

Monkey Mayhem – Music Alphabet Steps and Skips

Monkey Music Theory Games for Elementary Students - teaching music stepsThis game will help your students understand the music alphabet and steps and skips within it.

You will need 3 sets of small monkey music alphabet game cards and a stopwatch.

Normal Play:

The “normal” way to play this is to line up the monkeys according to the music alphabet or even line them up in skips like so:

  1. Tell your student(s) that you are going to throw all the monkey cards in the air in just a minute. Their job is to see how fast they can put the monkeys in a music alphabet line.
  2. Ready, Set, Go! Time the student(s) to see how fast they can put the monkeys in a row according to the music alphabet.

Teaching Skips - Monkey Music Theory Games for Elementary StudentsBut here’s a more interesting story you could tell to make it interesting for younger students:

  1. “One day, the Ice Cream Cow came to Monkey Land and said he was going to give ice cream to every monkey in town! Well, what do you think happened? All the monkeys went crazy!

[Throw your 3 octaves of monkey cards in the air!] How fast can you get the monkeys in line so that the cow can give them ice cream in order of the music alphabet?

  • Check their work and then say, “Whew. That was pretty good. But there’s a problem. The monkeys are misbehaving, so we’re going to have to separate them. They’re too busy tickling each other and making a huge mess. We need to put a skip between the monkeys so that they aren’t so close to each other. Can you take out every other monkey so that there can be skip between them?”
  • After your student takes out every other monkey say, “Oh no! Now those monkeys that you took out can’t have any ice cream! How could you add them to the line so that there is a skip between them, but they’re still in order like the other ones. [Help them line them up in skips.]
  • Teaching Skips - Monkey Music Theory Games for Elementary Students Teaching Steps and Skips on the Keyboard

    You can imagine how you might play this. Simply take your monkey manipulatives and ask students to line them up in steps on the keyboard starting on C (pick any note) and making their line go up or down the piano.

    Then, ask them to line their monkeys up in skips starting on ___ (pick any note) and making their line go up or down.

    Triad Games

    This game will help your students group their monkeys into triads. There are many ways you can use your Monkey Music Game cards to teach triads. Here are just a few of the ways:

    Monkey Music Theory Games for Elementary StudentsBuild triads:

    Using the Monkey Music Game cards, ask your students to build triads like:

    • A Major (root position or inversions for more advanced students)
    • B minor (root position/inversion)

    Using the monkey manipulatives, ask them to do the same thing at the keyboard.

    Introduce triads:

    Ask your students to segment their monkeys that are lined up for ice cream (the ones that are skips from each other) and group them by 3’s. Voila…you have triads! Ask them to play the triads on the piano or to put their monkeys on the same triads on the piano.

    Teach inversions:

    1. Place a monkey on C, E, and G and have them play the notes while the monkeys are on them (the monkeys will probably fall over, but they’ll love trying to keep them upright while playing).
    2. Tell the student that the monkeys have to take turns being on bottom (or first) so you need to move the bottom monkey to the top.
    3. Ask them to play that inversion now.
    4. Keep going until you reach root position again.

    Music Scale Games Using Monkey Music Theory Game Cards

    Teach the Chromatic Scale

    This game helps your students make a chromatic scale ascending and descending.

    Tell your students the goal is to put their monkeys in ascending order of the chromatic scale in 1 minute (or whatever time)! Remind that them when they are moving up, they need to use sharps and when they are moving down, then need to use flats.

    Chromatic ascending

    Monkey Music Theory Games - teach the chromatic scale with monkeys! [/fusion_text]<div class="fusion-text"></div> composecreate.com


    The Sky’s the Limit With Monkey Music Theory Games!

    What else can you think of to do with these Monkey Music Theory Game Flashcards? Please share in the comments!

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    1. Betsy Ogden February 24, 2016 at 7:05 am

      These are so sweet! Love all of the ideas. My kids will go bananas. ????????

    2. Wendy Stevens February 24, 2016 at 7:27 am

      Lol, Betsy! Glad you like them!

    3. Leila J Viss February 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Going bananas over the monkeys!

    4. Daniel June 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      I’m trying to download them but when I fill in the information, it goes to an error message.

    5. Wendy Stevens June 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Daniel,

      Today, the integration that delivers these resources is experiencing technical difficulties. They are working on it, so please come back later and try again. We’ll get it fixed as soon as we can!

      Thank you for your patience!

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