This is a guest post by one of our blog writers, Sarah Joncas.
Students love learning through games! There are many technology-based games which can be used in the music classroom to engage students in learning about and making music. Games are an engaging activity for students, whether they’re learning at school or at home. Additionally, some games can be used as a form of informal assessment to determine what students know and are able to do without the stress of a traditional test or quiz.
Here’s a look at some of the technology games that students can play during music class.
There are many different sites where you can use or make quiz-style games for students to engage with. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, but they all are based primarily on multiple choice questions and are a great fun way to assess student understanding. We’ll take a look at 4 quiz games: Kahoot, Nearpod Time to Climb, Quizizz, and Gimkit.
Kahoot is a quiz-show style game where students answer questions and compete to earn points. There are many pre-made quizzes about music already on Kahoot that you can use, and it’s easy to make your own Kahoot as well, either drawing from their question bank or by making your own questions. For school it’s best to use Kahoot’s education version, which is student-friendly.
If you would like to view 5 ready-made Kahoot quizzes, click here!
Nearpod Time to Climb
Another game-show style music game, Nearpod Time to Climb makes quizzes and checks for understanding a whole lot more fun! Nearpod works well for seamless lesson delivery with integrated games, since you can also make slides, virtual field trips, and other content right within the same platform. Time to Climb is a game where students answer multiple-choice questions created by the teacher, and earn a score based on the accuracy and speed of their answers. There are many different fun themes for Time to Climb, including seasonal options.
One awesome feature of Time to Climb is the ability to use images as the answer options for a question. This is great for note identification, for example, since it allows students to identify music notation answers.
Quizizz is a learning platform for gamified quizzes. There are pre-made music quizzes that you can use here, and you can also make quizzes with a free account.The site is easy to use, and students just enter a code to play a Quizizz. Quizizz integrates with Google sign-in, which is convenient for teachers who are in Google for Education districts to not have yet another username and password to keep track of.
Gimkit is a quiz game platform for live quiz shows. It is a paid product, starting at $4.99 per month. It seems to be based primarily on multiple choice questions, and allows students to engage all at the same time with the content.
Our content manager, Katrina Proctor, has an example Gimkit you can view here!
Besides quiz games, there are other tech games available for students to play in the music classroom. All of the music games below are interactive, and many allow for differentiation to make them usable with many different grade levels and groups of students. There’s a game for nearly any music topic you might want to teach!
Music Tech Teacher Games
The Music Tech Teacher site has many different music games for students to play. There’s a variety of games and quizzes, including listening challenges where students match what they hear to the notation. Many of the games have been updated to no longer use Flash, which is great news since Flash will no longer be supported after 31 December 2020.
These games and quizzes are perfect for students who finish other independent work early – there’s plenty to do here, and everything is music related so there’s no distractions! My students love trying to learn a new topic by guessing answers in the games.
The Rhythm Randomizer
My students love the Rhythm Randomizer! The premise is very simple, set which rhythms you’d like to use and then every time you click a new rhythm will appear. My students love playing Poison Rhythm with this site. We choose a rhythm that is the “poison rhythm” and anyone who says it is out. Additionally, this site is great for individualized rhythm reading practice for students who are working on different skills than others in their class – my more advanced band students love when I send them off to do rhythms on their mouthpiece on their own!
MusicPlay Online Games
MusicPlay has many online games perfect for younger students! From identifying high and low sounds to matching instruments, these games cover all the musical basics in a way that’s very engaging for young students. All of the games are really easy to play, even for students who may not be reading well yet. My students love exploring this site, and the games are well-suited to play by individuals or a whole class.
Inside the Orchestra Music Bingo
Every kid loves Bingo! Inside the Orchestra made a great interactive instrument identification bingo game online, so students can play without the mess of bingo daubers or the chaos of bingo chips. There are multiple levels, so students can either see the instrument which is being played or not. The sound examples are all high-quality, and really exemplify the instruments’ unique timbres.
Classics for Kids Music Games
Classics for Kids has several music games on their site, aimed towards younger students. The games are colorful, fun, and easy to navigate. There are games about instruments, composers, rhythm, and notes on the staff. These games are perfect substitute plans for students who have 1:1 devices. I would also use this site as a choice for students who finish other assignments early.
PBS Kids Music Games
PBS Kids has several music games tied to their various children’s television shows. Again, this site is geared towards younger students, who will likely be familiar with the characters and TV shows involved. The games vary somewhat in musical content and quality, but are nonetheless engaging and musical options for young students. Notably, many of the games don’t require reading, so they’re perfect for Pre-K and kindergarten classes when they need to be working independently. I can see myself leaving these games as a substitute plan, allowing students to explore the site at their own pace independently.
Anything we’ve missed?
Technology games can be a valuable addition to the music classroom. They can help build community, engage all students, and provide a fun change of pace from everyday learning. These games can help save teachers time, since you can build on content already created by others. Additionally, technology games are a way to differentiate instruction for students who need a different level of musical challenge than their peers. I love using games in my teaching! Which tech games do you use with your students? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the writer
Sarah Joncas is a music teacher from Massachusetts, USA. She teaches kindergarten through fifth grade general music, fifth grade chorus, fifth grade band, and percussion ensemble. Before becoming a teacher, she worked with technology and educational software.
In 2014, she was named a TI:ME Technology in Music Education Leadership Fellow, which allowed her to attend a music education conference in Texas and explore cutting edge music teaching technology. She has earned degrees in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University. You can connect with Sarah on Twitter or her blog Teaching Music Musings.
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.