Whole Half Step Game for Piano

This is a music theory game for beginner piano students. Download and use it yourself or with your own students. This is a great exercise to prepare for music theory testing. This is the first of a series of music theory games for piano that you find here at pianimation.com.

Whole Step – Half Step – Sprint

I really like games where students can have their own gameboard. It just saves on knocked-over playing pieces and potential fights!  I also find that when I use games in private lessons, there are time I’d like a shorter game board for use with just two players.  I designed the game boards to be cut apart.  Each student can play with a single card, or line up multiple cards for a longer game.

Students must draw cards from a deck and correctly identify a whole or half step, then move the length of a whole or half shoe print accordingly. The deck includes steps pictured on both a keyboard and on the staff (using notes spanning from Bass C through Treble C):

Sample Playing Cards

I also included two types of bonus cards.

  • Turbo Term cards let players sprint ahead by correctly identifying an elementary music symbol.  
  • Bummer cards send them backwards by a designated number of whole or half steps – just to keep things interesting!


Whole and Half Step Game

Hand each player one or more game boards. If playing with multiple boards, line them up to create one long row of shoe prints. You can easily adjust how long each game will last by the number of boards you lineup for each player. Each player will need a game piece (coin, small toy etc.)

Shuffle the playing cards and place them in a pile face-down where all players can reach them. Select a player to go first. He will draw a card and identify it as a whole or half step.

If he answers correctly, he may move his game piece ahead a full shoe print (for a whole step) or a half shoe print (for a half step). If he answers incorrectly, he does not move.

If a player draw a BUMMER! card, he must lose a turn or move back a designated number of spaces.

If a player draw a TURBO TERM card, he must identify an elementary music term or symbol. If he answers correctly, he may move ahead the number of shoe prints listed on the card.

If he answers incorrectly, he does not move. (You will want to verify before you start play that your students are familiar with all of the terms and symbols on the TURBO TERM cards and remove any unfamiliar cards from the deck.)

Play continues until one player has reaches the end of their gameboard(s). The first player to reach the end of the trail of shoe prints wins!

Prepare for this music theory Game

Print enough copies of the game boards (p. 2) for each player to have one or more boards. Cut the game boards apart and laminate.

Print the fronts of the playing cards (pgs. 3-10). A complete set contains 96 cards. Pages may be printed Individually if you wish to have more of a particular kind of card.

(Optional): Print the backs of the cards (p. 11). Cut and laminate the cards.
Make sure you have small tokens, coins, etc. to use as game piece. Each player will need one.

Download the Music Theory Game here