Musical Notes
Music Theory “Taboo” Game for Intermediate Piano Students

Today, I’m going to share a game that I originally created for my group theory class for 6th graders.  Piano students of this age are responsible for knowing the theory for Level I of the  LMTA’s Rally Syllabus, for reference.

The game goes like this:

You need an even number of players because the game is played in teams of 2.

First, place the Theory Taboo cards (linked below) in a bowl or hat.  Then, inform each team that they have 1 minute per round.  During the round, one team will play.  One of the partners picks a card and, not using any forbidden words,  tries to get the other team member to guess the what’s on the card.  For example, if the card has a G scale on it, the players couldn’t say “scale” or “ABCDF or G” to get them to guess.  They could say however, “a series of whole steps and half steps, 8 notes, 1 sharp, “which would of course narrow it down to the major or relative minor.  When the teammate guesses the correct term, the clue-giver puts the card aside and picks a new card.  Play lasts one minute and during that time, the clue-giver tries to get her teammate to guess as many as possible.  Then it is the other team’s turn to do for one minute.  The teams continue taking turns until the bowl runs out of cards (and the team members switch roles each time its their turn).

Players are allowed to pass the card, in which case the put it back in the bowl, and if players say a forbidden word (i.e. “scale”), then the card is also returned to the bowl.

At the end, whichever team has the most cards in their possession wins.

There are ways to make this game more elaborate, but that will have to wait for another day.

Note:  I did not write down the “forbidden” words on each card.  I would suggest before you print these (on cardstock) and laminate them, that you add forbidden words on each card.  And print on multiple colors of paper to make it look festive.

To download the cards for this game, please follow this link.  See a preview of cards below (and pardon my handwriting):


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