Students who learn to appreciate music enjoy many benefits. Participation in musical activities may foster a sense of civic duty; for example In a study conducted by Chorus America, researchers found that 76 percent of people who participate in a chorus or choir regularly volunteer versus 50 percent of people in general. Participation in musical activities also improves a student’s self-discipline, memory skills and average grades. By incorporating musical games into your high school classroom, you can bring music to life for your students.

Silent Rhythm Relay

Teach your high-school students about rhythms by doing a silent rhythm relay. Divide your class into teams with an even number of students on each team. Have each team sit or stand in a single file line. The person at the back of each line comes up to you, so you can secretly show them a rhythm written in musical notation. They each return to the back of their line. When you say, “Go,” they’ll gently tap the rhythm out on the shoulder of the person in front of them. That person passes it to the next person in the same way and so on until the person at the front of the line “receives” the rhythm. That student then goes to the board and writes the rhythm. The first team to correctly write the rhythm on the board wins that round.

Musical Pictionary

Divide your class into two teams. Have each team pick someone to draw for the first round. Write a number of musical terms like bass clef, eighth note and sharp symbol on slips of paper. Pull one of the paper slips and show it to the first two drawers. When you say go, they’ll race to draw the symbol, and their respective teams will race to name it. Whichever team shouts out the correct name first gets a point. Decide at the outset how many points you’ll play to, and rotate drawers for each round.

Music Styles

Music has so many different styles that it can seem impossible to teach your music class appreciation for them all. You can use this game to help your high school students begin learning different musical styles. Record excerpts from several different songs representing different musical styles. Have your students make a numbered list. Play the first excerpt and see if they can name the style. Go through all your samples and have them keep track on their lists. See who gets the most right and award her by letting her choose which song from the list of excerpts that the class will listen to in full.

Musical Trivia

Come up with several music categories like famous songs, famous composers, music in the movies and musical symbols. Put together several questions in each category. Divide your class into teams and let them take turns answering trivia questions in the categories of their choice. Give points for right answers and see which team wins.