Playing Games Improves Learning


Playing Games Improves Learning

Playing Games Improves Learning... that is why each of the Ultimate Music Theory Workbooks (Prep 1, Prep 2, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Complete), include 80 FREE Flashcards for playing games!

Did you know that playing games improves learning? Isn't that exciting!

Playing Games Improves LearningA teacher wrote to me: "The student in your photograph looks old enough to understand music theory without playing games.

What's the big deal about teaching theory straightforwardly? I do it all the time, and my students score high in ABRSM exams."

This is an excellent question! Why do we encourage game playing when learning music theory?

How does playing theory games improve learning?

Playing Games Improves Learning - Concept + Context

The word "concept" is defined as an idea or general notion.

The word "context" is defined as the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement or idea so that it can be fully understood and assessed.

When things happen out of context (in a setting that is different from what we are used to), we can struggle to remember the concept (to remember what the notion or idea means).

Playing Games Improves Learning - Confused about Concept + Context?

Let's put that into real terms so that concept and context makes sense!

Has this ever happened to you: Every Thursday at 4:00, you teach Joe. His Dad, Bob, always drops him off and you say "Hi Bob!". One Saturday, you bump into Bob at the Grocery Store. You KNOW that you know this man’s name but you just can’t remember it.

No, you aren’t getting old. No, you are not losing your marbles.

You are simply used to seeing Bob in the context of Thursdays when he drops off Joe. Seeing him on a Saturday is out of context…and you cannot connect with the concept that his name is Bob.

So…back to the original question... How does playing games improve learning?

Playing Games Improves Learning - Games + Concepts + Context = Connections

Playing Games Improves Learning -Flashcards and Whiteboards

Playing games improves learning because it reinforces concepts in different contexts. This reinforcement of concepts in different contexts creates connections in our memory. This will strengthen the ability to recall concepts, especially when in stressful situations (for example, when you are completing a theory exam).

In Theory, playing games improves learning by connecting theoretic concepts out of their “usual” context.

This is a very important skill for students of all ages and learning styles!

Each Ultimate Music Theory workbook includes 80 Free Flashcards so students can enjoy playing games to improve learning. I wrote about my favorite Flashcard Game "Slap" in my blog "Flashcards and Flyswatters". This is just one of many games you can play with Flashcards!

At Ultimate Music Theory, we are always encouraging teachers to:

  • Take the Theory Workbook to the piano and play all pages as they are completed.
  • Clap each rhythm in your book as you complete the exercise.
  • Use the Flashcards and the Whiteboards to play games, review concepts and have fun!

Plus, we created the Ultimate Music Theory Game Packs.

Playing Games Improves Learning with Ultimate Music Theory GamesPlaying Theory Games allows Students to:

Review theoretic concepts by looking at them in different contexts.

Become familiar with different terminology and instructions.

Improve learning by strengthening their ability to recall important information quickly!

But most importantly, playing games (no matter what age you are) improves learning because it is FUN!

Flashcards and Ultimate Music Theory Games can be played by Students of ALL Learning Styles and of ALL ages!

Ultimate Music Theory Games can be played in the final minute or two of the lesson and will guarantee that your Student leaves their lesson with a smile on their face!

Playing Games Improves Learning - Basic Game PackPlaying Games Improves Learning - Basic Game Pack

Busy Bees with So-La - Distance (Whole Step, Half Step, etc.)

Balloon Match-Up - Pitch (Keyboard vs Staff: Treble & Bass)

Raindrop Rhythms - Time Signatures (Duple, Triple & Quadruple)

Harmony Hotel or Melody Motel - Intervals (Major, minor & Perfect)

Terms with Maestro Ti-Do - Musical Terms (Dynamics, Tempo, etc.)

Car Keys - Key Signatures (Major & minor, up to 4 flats & 4 sharps)

When a Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic learner engages in playing games - they learn faster.

Why? Because playing games engages in all three modalities:  Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic.

Playing Games Improves Learning - Prep Game PackPlaying Games Improves Learning - Prep Game Pack

  • The Pattern Patch - Distance (Skip, Step, Same, etc.)
  • Sports Notes - Pitch (Keyboard vs Staff: Treble & Bass)
  • Clap That! - Rhythm (2/4, 3/4, 4/4)
  • Go Fish! - Pentascales (Major & minor)
  • Fireworks! - Musical Terms (Dynamics, Tempo, etc.)
  • Rest Time - Adding Rests (whole, half, quarter, eighth)

The feedback that we have received from Teachers playing the UMT Games is outstanding!

It is so easy to improve learning at the lesson using the UMT Games.


Use the  Ultimate Music Theory Theory Flashcards App with 6 Subjects and Over 7000 Flashcards including audio!

  • LEARN FASTER – Use on any device, phone, tablet, computer
  • EXPLORE – Identify written & audio notation
  • PLAY – Sight Reading and Ear Training Games and much More!

Students will LOVE hearing exact pitch and pronunciation of terms.

Students will be INSPIRED to use their imagination while building a foundation in Ear Training and Sight Reading.

The One and ONLY Music Theory App & Matching Workbook!

Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren


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