7 Online Music Theory Games for Music Teachers & Students
The concept of online gaming may sound like a major distraction for music students, but embracing technology and the internet can greatly assist in their musical journey. There are a number of websites which have been created specifically for music students to increase their knowledge and to encourage the study of music.
Online games can help teach students music theory, explore the concepts of music, basic piano and guitar elements, reinforce what they are learning in class and encourage them to extend their learning in a manner that is fun and interactive.
Here are 7 online music theory games for music teachers and students which can be used in the classroom or at home.
MUSIC TECH TEACHER
Music Tech Teacher was set up and created by music tutor Karen Garrett who wanted to utilize technology in her work. It has now expanded into an online music tuition site available for both students and teachers of music and music theory.
Music Tech Teacher has a page dedicated to online games to help test students and increase their knowledge. Students can test their knowledge on a range of musical subjects through the quizzes available on the website, including:
• identifying musical instruments and their sounds
• music theory terms and definitions
• famous musicians
• piano features
• musical notation
• rhythm and timing
• intervals, scales and chords
Music Tech Teacher also has a number of lists available online with details of famous musicians and composers, as well as mp3 audio files of famous songs from the artist. These can act as study guides to help teach students about musical history and famous artists who helped shape the music they study today.
Tonic Tutor has a variety of simple, online games to help teach students of different levels about music and music theory. For example, one game called ‘Pizza’ encourages students to add notes and rest values as ‘toppings’ to a pizza, as part of a learning module about time signatures. To test pitch recognition, the game ‘Robot’ requires students to play back on an interactive piano a short melody they hear. The games have close to 700 different melodies, so teachers can decide which keys will be used and to cater to the level of their student. They can also decide whether the tonic chord is highlighted on the piano or the first note, depending on the level of difficulty they wish to encourage.
Tonic Tutor requires the user to create a free account before accessing any of the games, except for a demo. The free account opens access to about ten games for the tutor and 10 students, before a paid subscription is required. These subscriptions also provide services such as statistics to measure a child’s progress.
The site also has a resource library for teachers with downloadable PDF files.
Musictheory.net helps teach the basics of music theory to students. Its interactive lessons allow students to learn and test out their knowledge along the way.
It also has an online interactive keyboard to test students’ notation skills and knowledge, with similar quizzes for other aspects of music theory. There are a number of ear training options, encouraging students to guess certain notes based on a single reference note as well interval, scale and chord ear training options.
Teachers can customize what questions students will be asked under a section of the website. The site also allows them to assign certain exercises as homework.
THETA MUSIC TRAINER
Theta Music Trainer has a wide variety of ear training and music theory online games. Students can track their progress with a free account. These games are modelled on popular video games and caters to all levels and ages of musicians, regardless of what musical instrument they may be learning.
Some of the games are designed to help teach students musical vocabulary, identify melodic intervals or to sharpen the ear of the musician.
Theta Music Trainer also has lessons available to help students improve their playing by ear.
Musicards is an online musical flash card game. They cater from beginners to help teach key principles in music theory to advanced students to help increase their music knowledge.
This simple and easy-to-use website allows the user to choose a category to practice their knowledge. The student will be given the task and a number of pictures on their screen, which they can click on to reveal the answer. It is an interactive version of traditional flash cards with the following topics:
• note names
• key signatures
• piano and guitar note names
• alto and tenor clef notes
SFS KIDS (WITH SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY)
SFS Kids is an online learning website for young music students, created by the San Francisco Symphony. This fun, interactive site helps teach children about musical instruments and the basics of music theory.
It’s ‘Music Lab’ area guides students through the beginning of music theory such as notation, tempo, rhythm and pitch. It then moves into instrumentation to teach students the different parts of an orchestra, the chance to play a tune and finally to compose a short piece of music themselves.
The site’s bright colors and buttons make it best suited to younger music students who are starting off. It also has details of the latest performances by the San Francisco Symphony.
MUSIC LEARNING COMMUNITY
Music Learning Community is another site with a selection of online games to test music students.
The game Melody Mayhem is a great way to test a student’s knowledge of melodies and following a score. This simple games plays a tune with two different scores shown to the viewer. The student must choose which is the correct score which matches the melody they have heard.
Like the other online music game websites, there are a number of different music categories to choose games from:
• keyboard elements
• pitch and melody
• scales and key signatures
• chords and harmonies
• music terms and symbols
• tonal memory
The website is a subscription-based community, and while there are some free demo games, students and teachers will need to pay a monthly subscription for full access to the site and all its games. Designed by Christine Hermanson, the site aims to offer a multimedia music learning environment which encourages participation.
Online games can be extremely beneficial for music students and their teachers. With many school curriculums these days requiring the use of computers or tablets as a learning aid, learning music theory can also be encouraged online. The above websites will provide a raft of online learning opportunities and games to test all areas of music theory knowledge and should form a part of any music teacher’s repertoire.