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:
- 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
- Seventh chords
- Note names
The sky’s the limit! but I’ll help you get started.
You’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
This game will give your students practice naming white key notes.
- Give your students the monkey manipulatives (or anything that can be put on the piano…wouldn’t plastic bananas be fun?).
- Place any Monkey Music Alphabet Cards on the music rack. Have your student place their monkey on the proper name.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Mix up the Monkey Music Alphabet Cards and place face down on the piano bench.
- The student will pick up the top card and move his monkey up to the closet key (that matches the card).
- 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.)
- The monkey who reaches the banana first wins!
Monkey Mayhem – Music Alphabet Steps and Skips
This 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.
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:
- 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.
- Ready, Set, Go! Time the student(s) to see how fast they can put the monkeys in a row according to the music alphabet.
But here’s a more interesting story you could tell to make it interesting for younger students:
- “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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Ask them to play that inversion now.
- 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.