Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY Music Rocks

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Teaching music theory to my beginner piano students can sometimes be frustrating, as some of the concepts get a bit abstract.  So sometimes we have to skip the paper and pencil and do some hands-on work.  These DIY music rocks are going to be great for exploring music theory with my piano students.  However, I made them originally for my boys.  Although only four and two, they both already have quite a substantial amount of musical knowledge.  For instance, J loves to use the words Allegro and Largo when talking about fast and slow even if it's in reference to cutting meat at suppertime (e.g., "Mom, I'm cutting Allegro!").  So I figured that they would both enjoy learning some more music theory with these music rocks.

They really rock.  Ha!  You didn't seriously think I would pass up the chance to do a pun, did you?!

DIY music rocks - hands on music theory for kids from And Next Comes L

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To make your own music rocks, you'll need:
I hand painted some eighth notes, eighth rests, quarter notes, quarter rests, half notes, and half rests (or hats as K likes to call them!).  I did two of each symbol.  Once the paint was dry, I covered them with a coat of Mod Podge.

DIY music rocks - hands on music theory for kids from And Next Comes L

There are lots of ways to play with these music rocks.  Some ideas include:
  1. Playing a matching game.  Match the same symbols together (e.g., quarter note and quarter note).
  2. Playing a count matching game.  Match the note and rest that have the same note value (e.g., half note and half rest).
  3. Compose a rhythm and clap it.
  4. Practice note naming on the grand staff using the note rocks (skip the rests for this part).
  5. Compose a tune on the grand staff and play it on the piano (see picture below).  I guess you could call the tune "rock music."

DIY music rocks on the grand staff from And Next Comes L

J liked to line them up.  He was convinced some of them looked like letters so here he is trying to spell some words.

Lining up DIY music rocks from And Next Comes L

DIY music rocks from And Next Comes L

What other theory games can you think for these music rocks?

Looking for more music activities?  Check out all of my other music activities here or browse my Music Activities board on Pinterest.

DIY music rocks and 5 music theory games to play from And Next Comes L


  1. Where was this cool idea when I was learning piano notes the boring way? lol! (That's my way of saying I like it!)

    1. Hahaha! I learned them the boring way too!

  2. Goodness this is cool Dyan!!! There are so many things you could do with these! :)

    1. Well of course they're cool, Blayne! :P

      Thank you!

  3. I do this - but paint them gold first with spray paint, then put the notes etcc on them - then hide them around the yard... they go on a treasure hunt - find as many as they can and then we count up the beats to see who won

  4. I have also used this as part of a Musical Amazing Race - where they have to go to a certain area to find the rocks, ( using a map), then arrange a certain number of bars of 4/4 time using various notes and rests and bring them back to me to get their next clue. the rock have to be arranged correctly to get the clue

    1. Yet another fab idea! My boys would love to do that!