What in the world do these cute fish cards have to do with teaching piano lessons?

by | Jun 13, 2015 | Lesson Ideas, Studio Ideas | 0 comments

At first glance, these cute fish cards may look totally unrelated to piano…but with just a little creative thinking you will find they can be used in a number of ways!



Last week I shared about the theme for my summer lessons, everything “Under the Sea”. These fish playing cards were one of the items I used to go with the theme. Here’s a few ways I incorporated them into lessons and some potential ideas to use with your students. This is also a great way to start thinking about using non-musical items in a musical way.  You don’t need these specific cards, check your local stores to see what they have available or use traditional playing cards.


Have a student pull a card and play through a technical exercise or section of music as many times as the number on their card.


Use cards numbered 1-8 to represent intervals. 1=unison, 2=2nd, 3=3rd, etc. through 8= octave

  • Play a matching game with interval flashcards.
  • Have the student pull a card and find all of the corresponding intervals within the song they are currently working on.
  • Play “Swimming Intervals”

Have 2 piles of flashcards—one containing all of the letters of the musical alphabet and one with cards numbered 1-8. Have the student draw one card from each pile.  The alphabet card will be their starting note. Have your student name the interval higher and lower than their starting note. (Ex: if your student pulls an “A” and a “3” they would tell you that a 3rd higher than A is C and a 3rd lower that A is F.)   You could vary this game by asking them any combination of major, minor, perfect, diminished, and augmented intervals. Have them play (or “swim” to) the intervals on the piano.


This is a fun game that can be used at all skill levels.

Materials needed: game pieces (one per student), fish cards
Objective: Be the first player to reach the highest key on the piano.

Setup: Each player chooses a game piece and places it on the lowest key “A” on the piano.

How to Play: Player 1 draws a card and counts that many keys higher than their game piece. (If they pulled a 3, for example, they would find the note 3 keys higher than “A”) Now the student must name the key. If the name the key correctly, they get to move their game piece. If they name the key incorrectly, their game piece stays in place.  Continue in this manner until one student reaches the top of the keyboard.  You can also have students start at opposite ends of the keyboard and race to middle C.

Depending on the students skill level, students could complete one of these tasks:

  • Play a simple 3-finger pattern
  • Play a pentascale
  • Play a major and/or minor scale
  • Or any other skill you want them to complete!

This is a great way to include all members of the family who take lessons. Each student completes a task at their own skill level and can still play the game together, without it being too easy or too challenging for each student.

Let me know if you try one of these ideas in your studio!

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