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Music Jeopardy Wins!

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Are you looking for learning games for your group class? Music Jeopardy could make a big win and motivate your students. I crafted my own. Here’s how.

What you’ll need:

  • Tri-fold project board
  • Velcro dots
  • Cardstock (tagboard) squares, 3” x 3” or 4” x 4” (or similar-sized cardstock figures—I purchased cardstock owls)
  • Sticky notes (smaller than the squares or shapes)
  • Buzzers (or bells, boom whackers, or even good-old hand raising)
  • Markers
  • A non-partial judge to decide who buzzed, rang or raised hands first
  • A game host (you)

To make:

I modify my Music Jeopardy from the original game to fit the levels and numbers in my group.

  • Largest lettering at the top: MUSIC JEOPARDY.
  • Label five evenly spaced categories across the top of the project board. If you want this board to be reusable, write the categories on something removable.
  • Cut 15, 20, 25 or 30 squares out of tagboard (depending on how much time you have and how many questions you wish to ask). Instead of these squares, I used owls.
  • Secure the top quarter-to-half inch of each square to the board in columns below each category.
  • Attach a Velcro dot to the inside bottom center of each flap, with its corresponding dot attached to the project board, to hold the flaps shut.
  • On each flap, write the points (first row 100, second row 200, etc., or make it higher numbers if you wish).
  • Write your question/statements for each category on the sticky notes and place them under the appropriate flaps. You might increase the difficulty as the points get harder. I like color, so each row of points was written in a different colored marker (100 = blue; 200 = orange; 300 = teal…)


  • Will you have them play as individuals, or make teams? This depends on how many are in your group. I like to pair older with younger students.
  • Will the team members take turns using the buzzer or bell, or will each team have a designated person for that?
  • Will you allow students to draw, describe or point to the answer on a chart if they can’t think of the name (example: fermata drawn or described instead of named)?
  • Will you have prizes for winners?
  • Will you include Daily Doubles or Double Jeopardy? If so, the game takes a bit longer, and students must make wagers.

I tailor Music Jeopardy questions to the size and level of my group…


Category & Sample Question/statements

Treble Staff Notes:

  1. This note is found on the 3rd space of the treble staff.
  2. Found between the treble and bass staffs, this note has its own ledger line running through it.
  3. The treble clef sign’s nickname is the same as this note, found on the line which runs through the bottom circle of the treble clef sign.
  4. This note is found on the top line of the treble staff.
  5. This sentence can be used to recall the lines of the treble staff.

Bass Staff Notes: (similar statements to those used for the treble staff)

Music Symbols:

  1. When this is above a note, the note is held longer than usual.
  2. A symbol which means to play softly.
  3. To play moderately loudly is the instruction for this symbol.
  4. When you come to this, the song is ended.
  5. If this is found over (or under) two or more notes, you should play them in a smooth, connected manner.
  6. This small symbol can mean different things depending on where it is placed. When found under or over a note-head, it is called this.

Time Signatures:

  1. This number means four beats per measure.
  2. The top number of a time signature tells you this.
  3. Name a time signature that means three beats per measure with a quarter note receiving one beat.
  4. You can tell this from the bottom number of a time signature.
  5. Common time, when it has a vertical line drawn through it, does this.


  1. This kind of scale results when you play the pattern: WWHWWWH.
  2. This scale moves up or down by half steps.
  3. A pentascale includes this many tones.
  4. Name the scale that begins on the dominant note of a C scale.
  5. The half steps are found in these spots in a harmonic minor scale.


  1. Another name for a three-tone chord is this.
  2. Name the degrees of the scale that make a major chord.
  3. The first degree of a chord is called this.
  4. Lowering the third of a major chord results in this.
  5. If you raise the fifth of a major chord it becomes this.
  6. Name the larger interval that is formed when you invert a chord.

Other categories to consider:  

  • Composers
  • Periods of music history
  • Composer friends/mentors

For rules of play, read up on the game or watch Jeopardy episodes on television.

It takes a little practice for students to get the hang of beginning their answers with “what is a fermata?” for example.

I teach my students the TV Jeopardy theme song, and give them the opportunity to play it before, during or after the game, depending on how many there are in the group.

Music Jeopardy provides a wonderful group experience for students who are in a usually solitary activity. It’s a fun way to review and solidify what we’ve been teaching!

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