Is your child struggling to stay focused when they’re practicing the piano? That’s normal–it just means it might be time to add something new to the routine! Get some great ideas for music games for kids in this guest post by Santa Cruz, CA teacher John S...
Did you know that kids can learn to play the piano at a young age? It’s true! In fact, there are many benefits to learning to play music. Not only does it help with hand-eye coordination and math skills, but it also helps with focus and discipline.
If you’re looking for ways to help your child learn how to play the piano, check out these fun piano games!
What Are Some Free Piano Games?
Some of the best piano games are those that require zero technology, including:
- Be an animal
- Use a picture book
- Make up a story
- Pick four pitch classes
- Repeat after me – rhythm
- Repeat after you – three pitches
We’ll go into greater detail about all these fun piano games below. For now, check with your child’s piano instructor to find out what else you should be doing to foster your child’s love of playing the piano. You can get a better idea of the skills piano lessons and piano games might build by checking out the video below:
Play These Piano Games for Free
Can your 4- to 6-year-old keep her focus through the entirety of a traditional piano practice? Music demands a tremendous amount of attention, in several different areas at once: reading music, being careful about pitch, rhythm, and fingering, and much more! Some children have no trouble keeping on task with all these endeavors. However, if your young child is like the vast majority, you may need to break up their practice with other activities. In between their private lessons, playing music games for kids can certainly help–and most of these you can play with your child even if you don’t have much of a music background!
1. Be an animal
Most young children love pretending to be different animals. Not only that, but the intuitive connection of musical features with an animal’s characteristics comes quickly and effortlessly to most kids. Try something like the following, perhaps while looking at a picture with lots of different animals:
You: Ok, which animal would you like to be?
Child: A snake!
You: A snake, wow! What would snake music sound like?
The child may immediately have a sense of snake music. If so, let ’em play! It may not fit your idea of snake music in any way, but if they’re engaging with their imaginations, let them be.
If a child isn’t sure what to do, you might make a suggestion like the following:
You: To me, a snake is a slithery thing. (Play a stepwise melody that moves up and down the piano in a sinuous fashion.) Do you think this sounds like a snake? What do you think would sound more like a snake?
2. Use a picture book
Books for young children that have great pictures are a nice way to guide an improvisation that progresses through a beginning, middle, and end. Many children will respond immediately when you ask them to look at the picture and think about what it would sound like.
If they get stuck, you can point out specific features in the pictures. For instance, “See the twinkling stars? Can you make a twinkling sound like those stars might make?” or “Those are some big, hairy monsters! How can you make a big, hairy sound on the piano?” You can always play them a little example to get them started. Chances are, they will be impatient for you to stop so that they can get their hands on the piano keys.
3. Make up a story
This is a great game for kids if you know how to play piano as well. Start off by thinking of a story, like the following:
“A man was walking down the street” (play ambling, rhythmic music at an andante tempo) ”when suddenly,” (stop playing) “he saw an elephant right in front of him.” (pounding, ponderous bass line perhaps with circus-like qualities) “The elephant was dressed in royal finery, and being ridden by a man in a suit of armor.” (fanfare, clanking sounds) Let your imagination run wild with bold, big images that you can translate into music.
Next, you can ask them to contribute, either with story ideas, or by playing the piano. Gradually, you can encourage them to do the whole thing, story and music, by themselves.
4. Pick four pitch classes
Restricting the available pitches is a great way to make improvisation sound better. It turns out that four is a perfect number, because all combinations of four pitches can sound musical.
You: Let’s take turns choosing the pitches we’re going to use for this song. You can choose any letter A through G, and you can make it sharp or flat if you want.
You: Good, so you can play any A-flat you want. (play all of the A-flats on the piano) You can be sure you have an A-flat when it’s the middle black key in a group of three.
Then it’s your turn to choose a note, and alternate until four pitches are chosen. Even if it is a cluster, the group of pitches can sound good.
Let your child play on those pitches in any rhythm they like. If they play a note that’s not one of the four you selected, tell and show them exactly what note they played by mistake, and remind them of the notes that were chosen.
5. Repeat after me – Rhythm
This is another great game if you don’t know much about the piano, because you can play it away from the piano, sitting cross-legged on the floor. Here’s how I play with my students: “Me first, and then you,” I say, then start with simple rhythms, banging the floor or clapping while saying the counts aloud. I chant, “One and Two and Three and Four and,” while alternating hands pounding the floor, L-R-L-R on the main beats.
Look at your kid around beat four and more than likely they will get the right idea and repeat after you. Gradually increase the complexity of your rhythms so that they are fun and interesting, but not too hard.
While using large movements and big muscles is the best way to get started in this game, it need not stay there. When they are comfortable with large movements, ask them to make gentle finger taps. Then, they can start playing specific piano keys; for example, you can play B-flat while the child plays E-flat.
6. Repeat after you – Three pitches
Sitting next to your child at the keyboard, ask him or her to play any three pitches, one after the other. Then play the same pitches, perhaps in a different register. You can spice it up by asking for different dynamics: “Play me really soft ones now,” or “Try three loud ones.” Make sure that your child plays the notes separately and clearly so that you can accurately repeat them.
What is the Best Piano Simulator?
Piano simulators, like games, can also be a great teaching tool for kids. They offer the opportunity to learn about music and how to play the piano in a fun and interactive way.
Piano simulators can also help to develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. In addition, they can help kids to understand the concepts of rhythm and timing. While some piano simulators are more expensive than others, they can be a great investment for parents who want to give their children a head start on learning to play the piano.
While digital pianos have come a long way in recent years, they still can’t quite match the feel of a real piano. For many people, this is the deciding factor when choosing a piano. However, there are other factors to consider as well, such as price, portability, and features.
With so many different digital pianos on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. To help you make your decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best digital pianos on the market, based on our own personal experience.
At the top of our list is the Yamaha P-105. This digital piano offers an impressive array of features, including 108 voices and 192 polyphony. It also has USB connectivity, so you can connect it to your computer and use it as a MIDI controller. The P-105 also has a built-in metronome and recorder, making it perfect for practice or performance. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line digital piano, the Yamaha P-105 is a great option.
If you’re looking for something with a more traditional feel, the Casio Privia PX-160 is a great choice, too.
Is There a Free Piano App?
There are a number of apps available that allow users to play the piano for free or even try out a new piano game. Some of these apps provide a virtual keyboard for users to play on, while others offer a more interactive experience by providing tutorials and games.
While there is no shortage of free piano apps available, it is important to consider what features are most important to you before download one. For example, if you are looking for an app that will help you learn how to play the piano, you may want to find one that offers tutorials and challenges.
If you just want to try out the piano without spending any money, there are a few free apps that you can use. However, these apps usually have limited features, and they may not provide the same level of quality as a paid app. If you’re serious about learning to play the piano, it’s worth investing in a good quality app.
Paid apps typically offer more features, better quality audio and video, and more comprehensive lessons. They also tend to have a more robust support system if you need help with anything. So if you’re willing to invest a little money in your piano playing journey, a paid app is probably your best bet.
On the other hand, if you simply want an app that will allow you to play the piano for fun, a virtual keyboard app may be more ideal. Ultimately, the best free piano app for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
You can find some piano apps here:
- 10+ Free and Low Cost Piano Apps for the iPad
- 8 Piano Apps Worth the Download
- Piano Lessons Apps: How to Equip Yourself for Learning
More Fun Piano Games
Kids love playing games and with the right piano online game, they can have a blast learning how to play the piano too. Here are even more engaging games that will get your child excited about music!
In each of these games, kids will have a chance to learn new songs, improve their skills, and have a great time doing it. So grab your instrument and let’s get started!
- 8 Fun Online Games for Learning Piano Keys and Notes
- Best Piano Games Online (To Play With Kids)
- 20+ Piano Practice Games for Parents
- 5 Games for Teaching Kids Piano
- 5 Games for Learning Piano Chords (Android & iOs Apps)
- Piano Games For Kids Ages 8 and Up
Play These Piano Keyboard Games!
If you have a child who is interested in learning to play the piano, there are plenty of fun games that can help make the process enjoyable and engaging. By trying some of these tips, your child will be well on their way to becoming a skilled pianist. And who knows? They may even enjoy practicing so much that they decide to take up music as a lifelong hobby or career!
Use your imagination!
Of course, these games for kids are only the beginning. Taking your cue from your child’s natural creativity, you can develop a whole world of musical games. When your child experiences the power and joy of direct musical expression, he or she will gain confidence in their musical creativity that will last a lifetime.
John S. teaches singing, piano, guitar, and more in Santa Cruz, CA. He received his a doctorate in music composition from UCSC. Learn more about John here!
Photo by amanda tipton