How To Play Physical Music Games In Online Lessons

There’s a misconception that you can’t play music games in online lessons. We’re here to tell you that you can!

How To Play Physical Music Games In Online Lessons

Music games are a fantastic way to engage students. As you know, students learn better when they’re having fun!

“But aren’t music games only for face-to-face lessons?”


Incorporating music games into your online lessons is not as hard as you may think it is, and doesn’t require any fancy tech.

Table Of Contents:

  1. Just Use Screen Share, Right?
  2. Magnets Are Your Best Friends
  3. Give Students A Physical Role
  4. Send Over PDFs Of The Music Games
  5. Music Game Pick Up
  6. Essential Checklist For Playing Music Games In Online Lessons
music games are a fantastic way to engage students

Just Use Screen Share, Right?

While this is a perfectly fine way of playing music games in online lessons, it’s not the way I personally use.

I’ve tried several times, but it never seems to capture the interest of my students.

So, apologies – this is not a blog about how to play games using screen share.

music games CAN be played in online lessons

Magnets Are Your Best Friends

You want things to be as easy as possible and run smoothly, right? Magnets will help with that!

Get yourself a magnetic whiteboard (I’ve lost count of how many I have now!) and some small magnets (you can get some super cute pin magnets on Amazon)

Find some magnetic counters as playing pieces (again, Amazon has some great ones! Or you can use little fridge magnets). This means you’re not trying to help little toys or figures defy gravity!

Related: 7 Reasons To Play Music Games During Your Lessons

When it comes to question cards, you have several alternatives:

  1. Keep them in a pile in front of you and hold each one up in turn for your student to see and answer
  2. Put a magnet on the back of each question card so you can attach them to the magnetic whiteboard (this saves you holding them)

There’s another way too…

Give Students A Physical Role

This works perfectly if you have beginner students who need to reinforce their understanding of the piano keyboard and you’re playing a game that requires letter answers (for example a bingo-style game)

  1. Your student places a playing piece (e.g. a Lego minifigure, a small animal, a coin) on the bottom note on their piano.
  2. Shake a die/spin a spinner (either a physical one or you can find apps or the free dice/spinners on Google) and tell your student to move their figure up that many notes on the piano.
  3. The note they land on is their letter answer. They tell you the answer, you show them the game board, and they instruct you what to do.

It might sound complicated, to begin with, but when you get into the rhythm it runs smoothly!

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way you could receive four brand-new music games every single month? There is! Click here for more information about TopMusicGames.

Send Over PDFs Of The Music Games

If a student’s family is happy to print things off at home, you can email over a PDF of the game board for them to print.

If I do this, I tend to send over game boards that don’t have too much colour (plain white backgrounds rather than coloured) so they don’t use too much ink!

You can have a copy of the game in front of you too so you can keep track of where you’re both moving.

You have the question cards to hold up for your student to answer, then they move their figures on the board in front of them.

Related: 5 No-Prep Music Games For Your Music Lessons

Students love finding their own playing pieces and showing you what they have. If you send a message to the parents ahead of the lesson telling them they’ll need two figures for a game, there’s no mad-dash around the house looking for something!

Story: I have a couple of sibling pairs who both learn the piano. I like to have a couple of cross-over minutes where they join together for a game. They get so immersed in the game, and their little excited faces when they both look up to the screen to see the next question card is just adorable!

Note: Make sure the site you’ve bought your game from is happy for you to email the game to your students or if you need to purchase extra copies.

3 ways to play physical music games in online lessons

Music Game Pick Up

Depending on the location of your online students, you can organize a day where they swing by and pick up a pack of music games ready for the next term/few months of lessons.

This means they could have more colourful game boards and even little tokens and playing pieces to use for the games.

For students who live a bit further away you can pop some bits and bobs in the post (and you can incorporate the postage fees into their lesson fees). Children don’t normally receive letters or parcels, so when the post arrives it’s a very exciting day for them!

Note: Again, make sure the site you bought your game from allows multiple copies to be printed and shared or if you’re required to purchase extra copies.

Essential Checklist For Playing Music Games In Online Lessons

To make it easier for you to gamify your online lessons, we’ve created a checklist of all the items that will help you!

Georgina Wilson

Georgina is a piano teacher who loves making learning fun and enjoyable for both the student and the teacher. She is often found pestering her cat or creating music resources for BusyLittleTurtle

 feeling inspired? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    more Online Teaching, Pedagogy posts

    from our blog

    contact us

    Reach out to learn more about our multi-teacher memberships