Practicing rhythm and solfege concepts is a large part of the Kodaly process. This is a great game to see if students can read a rhythm or solfege and perform it correctly, to see if they are confident in the concept, and ready to move on. It makes a great assessment because you can sit back and watch them play. It also works well in small groups so more students get more frequent turns. When students know how to play this game already, this would be great if you have centers where they are working in groups of 5+. Students can make a small circle and you can step in and observe if needed.

Set Up

Students sit in a circle, each with a rhythm card like a tent in front of them.
Preparing to play the game:

  • Ss go around the circle and clap/say their card
  • Repeat while Ss keep a steady beat when it is not their turn
  • Ss claps their card and the card to their right. The rest of the class keeps a steady beat.

How to Play

One student is chosen to be the King/Queen (Drawing popsicle sticks makes this so much easier!). The person to their right is the next highest player on the mountain (2nd place). The person to that person’s right is the 3rd, and this continues all the way around so that the person to the King’s left is in last place. The goal of the game is to work your way up to the top of the mountain and be in the king’s position.
The king starts the game by reading their card, with a steady beat, as well as the card of another player from anywhere in the circle. The player who’s card is read must then read their card and then another player’s card. This continues until someone makes a mistake. The rhythms on the card must be read with a steady beat and without missing a beat in between players.
If a player makes a mistake, they go to the bottom position in the mountain (the seat to
the king’s left) and all the other players advance up a position. The cards stay in the
same place, and do not move. Only the players change position. The king starts the play
again, once everyone has changed position. Play can continue as long as the teacher wishes.

PRO TIP: Have all students read through all the patterns before they start playing so they can establish the beat or tonality if you think it’s necessary. This is definitely not a game for very early practice.

Here’s an old photo of some of my students playing a variation on the game (King of the Pumpkin Patch).

I can't miss school for THIS {Music Teacher Edition}

Why it’s awesome!

  • Competitive fun
  • Allows you to assess while students play
  • Can be played with small or large groups.
  • Easily adaptable for many concepts.


Looking to play? Here are some sets for you to play with your students.

These sets include 40 cards with patterns for each concept.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to play this fun game!

Melissa Stouffer-1

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