What you will need: A Memory game (check your local thrift shop- I got mine for $2), a set of Let's Play Music tone bells, and a curtain or binder or wall to hide the bells from the players/ listeners.
You won't need all of the matching pairs from your Memory game. At most you will need 8 pairs. Set up a divider so your child can't see the bells. Lay your bells from left to right, high to low: this seems backwards to YOU, but your child facing you will hear low sounds on HER LEFT and high sounds on HER RIGHT. Next to each bell, choose two different pictures to represent that sound. Finally, put the matches from all of those pictures into a "draw box".
The listener chooses two cards and holds them up so the musician can see them. The musician states the picture and then plays the corresponding bell. "Train...ding! Banana...ding!" If the two sounds match, the player makes a pair. If they don't match, she tries a different combination of pictures. Even when she hasn't made a match, she's practiced identifying if the sounds match! A valuable skill!
This game is fun and challenging for ANY family member, even recent Let's Play Music graduates. I was impressed how quickly my 8-year-old LPM-grad made matches. (In the video below, we hadn't yet realized it's best to have the bells laid out high-left to low-right for the musician.)
Each player takes a turn picking two pictures and listening to the sounds, hoping for a match. Just like in regular Memory, players can gain advantage by paying attention to the combinations chosen by others.
Major Scale Strategy
It didn't take my kids long to come up with a helpful strategy! Each time you guess two cards and hear the tones, set the cards on the floor in a line, placing the cards approximately as far apart as the tones sounded, with the higher sound to the right. You'll visually be lining up the tones and helping them find mates. At the end of the game, all of your pairs will be arranged in a Major Scale! Remove the screen/ divider, and you'll be able to check that all of the matches were correct AND they are all in the correct order to make a major scale.
I hope you'll have some family fun game time playing this game as the musician or the listener. Just for the record, the white noise on the airplane was so loud that the tinkle of our tone bells could hardly travel more than a few feet: no patrons were harassed in the making of this blog post.
-Gina Weibel, M.S.
Let's Play Music Parent