Teaching the definitions for music terms can be a challenge, but there are some fun activities that can help students learn the music vocabulary that they need to know to become better music students and musicians. By including some hands-on and fun learning activities, your music students will be able to better understand and remember the different definitions for music terms.
The 3 fun music games to help students learn the elements of music terms are:
- Musical Definition Charades or Pictionary
- Music Term Bingo
- Music Definition Chairs
Read on to find out more details for each of these fun music definition games, but if you are looking for some other ways to spice up your own music curriculum, then why not grab yourself a FREE copy of the 5 Ways to Makeover Your Music Curriculum. Click here to find out more.
Some of the fun activities for learning the definitions of music terms really depend on your music students having specific lessons and instructions for all the music terms you want them to know. Before completing any of the more hands-on games, try the one-pager lesson below, it will make the rest of the activities more engaging for your music students!
Using One-Pagers to Learn Definitions for Music Terms
A one-pager is an effective tool for learning definitions for music terms. The one-pager worksheet provides a single, organized sheet where your music students will write the music terms definitions and then are encouraged to add visual illustrations to make the definitions easier to understand and remember. By using this effective learning strategy in your music classroom, you will see that the one-pagers can help your music students as they study each Element of Music. Through this simple, yet effective learning activity, your music students can quickly and efficiently build their understanding of essential definitions for music terms.
To use the one-pager to help your music students learn definitions for music terms, try this lesson plan.
- Print out the one-pager worksheets that you want your students to use.
- Print out the definitions for music terms page/s that accompany the one-pager worksheets. HINT -If you are going to use this type of lesson often, print the definitions onto colored paper and laminate. That way you can use each page of music terms and definitions for each class or year group! Personally, I would print out one set of definitions for music terms page for one between two students. My music students were always a chatty bunch, and they could share and chat as they did this lesson.
- Discuss each definition in the list, you might want to provide a demonstration or give a listening example to help your music students understand the definitions for the music terms.
- Hand out the one-pager worksheets and ask students to complete each page.
- Encourage them to add images, drawings, and color to help them remember the definitions for each music term – you will be surprised to see what they come up with.
- Put on some music as they complete this lesson, you will find it to be a nice lesson where your kids are just happy to complete the activity!
- This one-pager activity might take a couple of lessons depending on the number of definitions for music terms you are learning. When your students are finished with each page, make sure to keep them in a secure place. HINT – In the past I have had my students use a “scrapbook” to glue in each page. By the time we finish each set of one-pager worksheets for each Element of Music, they have a great reference tool to use to study with and use for all types of activities we do in the classroom.
If you want to do this type of lesson with your music classes, be sure to grab the Elements of Music Definitions Bundle. It has everything you need to help your music students learn all the definitions for music terms with a great variety of activities, including the one-pager activity described here.
Musical Definition Charades
This fun and active game is a great way to check for the understanding of the definitions and musical terms that you are learning with your music students. To play this game, have your students split into two teams, then have each team select one student to act out a musical term while the other team guesses what it is. When someone correctly identifies the term, the team earns a point. This can also be done as an individual activity if you have a smaller music class.
There are a few variations on this type of music classroom game that you also might like to try. One variation on this game is to get your kids using play dough to make something to represent the music term in a 3-D way. I tried playing this with my colleagues, and this game quickly turned into bedlam, but there were a lot of laughs had by all involved! Another variation on this type of game is to play a “Pictionary” style game using the music terms that you have been learning in the class. You would play this game like the charades, but instead of acting out the term your students would be drawing it.
Music Terms Bingo
Many years ago, when I first started teaching, one of the subjects I taught was Math. I didn’t mind teaching it, mainly because there was always a textbook to reference and use – no need to create resources! They always gave me a lower ability class, and often these kids had trouble remembering their times tables. So, at the end of each lesson we would play a game of Bingo. To play it I would ask them to draw a Tic Tac Toe grid on their page (3 x 3), then fill it with the numbers for a certain times table. I would then draw out a card and if they had the answer in their grid (that they drew) they would cross it off. We would determine winners with variations on the winning combination – middle horizontal row, top row, left hand side vertical, etc… Then the winners would get a prize at the end.
I took this same idea into my music classroom. Before playing the game, we would brainstorm all the music definitions for a particular musical idea. For example, this could be words to describe a melody. Then once we had a good amount of words on the board, the students would draw up their own music terms bingo grid. For the younger classes I would use a 3 x 3 grid, but the older classes might do a 4 x 4, or even 5 X 5 grid. Just like in math class, I would call out different music terms and the kids would cross them off until we had a winner. Again, we would play variations on this with different ways that they had to complete to get the win.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to like about this game! It is quick to set up, the kids create their own bingo card so they can’t get upset with you for “favoring” people with “winning” cards, and best of all your students are hearing the music terms in a fun way to help them remember them. What is not to love?
Musical Definition Chairs
To play this fun music learning game, have enough chairs for half of your class to be seated when the music stops. On each chair, place a music term with the definition. To play this game, play some music, when the music stops, students try and get a chair. If they don’t get a chair, then they must stand and face a seated student. The student that is seated asks the student who is standing to define the music term on the card. If they get it right, they both remain in the game, but if they get it wrong, they are both out!
Before removing the chair, the seated student asks for a definition of the term and the class can respond until someone gets it right. Then remove the chair and the term, and play again until you get a winner/s.
Try playing a couple of rounds of this game using the same terms, that way all your music students get a chance to learn and remember the musical terms and definitions that you are focusing on in the lesson.
These three fun and easy definitions for music term games should provide plenty of entertainment while still teaching important musical concepts in an engaging manner. These music classroom games will help foster creativity while also reinforcing knowledge of music terminology that every young musician needs to understand. By incorporating some creativity into your lesson plans, you can help your students better retain information while also keeping them engaged throughout the lesson. Try these activities out in your next music class and watch how much more engaged everyone becomes with learning definitions for music terms.
Until next time
Julia from Jooya