Mystery Message Game | Music Lesson Plan (Rhythm/Pitch)

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Mystery Message Game is "Hangman" with a twist. Music students compare and contrast rhythm/pitch sets and decode a secret message in a race to win the game. Always a hit!


Grade 2-6


Students will develop analytical skills as they compare and contrast rhythm/pitch sets. Mystery Message Game is most effective if used in sequence, following the introduction of basic symbols (quarter note, eighth note and quarter rest). This lesson plan and accompanying printable game is designed to fulfill Standard #6 of the National Standards for Music: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.


Mystery Message Game Worksheet
Blank Paper

'Mystery Message Game' Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Tell students, "When I say 'Go' I would like for each of you to collect the Mystery Message Game, a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. After you have collected everything I would like you to return to your seat." Having these items in different locations around the room will speed things up a bit.

Step 2
Ask students to place the Mystery Message Game in front of them and the pencil and blank paper behind them.

Step 3
Ask students, "Who has ever played Hangman?"

Step 4
Tell students, "The game we will be playing is like Hangman, but with a musical twist. I will be telling you each letter. You won't even have to guess what it is. But I will be telling you in a kind of musical secret code. To win the game you will have to break the code."

Step 5
Tell students, "Take a look at the Mystery Message Game. Below each letter of the alphabet is a measure of music. Each time I ask you to guess a new letter I will play one of these measures. To break the secret code you will have to compare the measures and figure out which one I am playing."

Step 6
Tell students, "Let's practice a little before we start the game. I will play letter "A" or letter "B". See if you can figure out which one I am playing." Demonstrate the example 3 times.

Step 7
Ask students, "Who can tell me which alphabet letter I was playing?"

Step 8
Tell students, "Let's practice one more."

Step 9
Ask students, "Who can tell me which alphabet letter I was playing?"

Step 10
Tell students, "It's time to place your paper and pencil in front of you."

Step 11
Tell students, "On the board I have written the number of blanks you will need to write on your paper for the first puzzle. Each blank is numbered. Please write those numbers on your paper as well."

Games Rules
1) Each musical example/letter will be performed three times. the teacher may perform the examples on the piano or xylophone.
2)Students guess and record each alphabet letter in the correct blank.
3)Students raise their hand when they have figured out the mystery message.
4)Incorrect guesses eliminate the student from the present round of play. These students should continue to guess the letters and wait for the next mystery message.
5)Students are rewarded with candy for correctly guessing the mystery message.

It may be necessary to reduce the possibilities. For example, if the correct answer for the blank is "A", students may guess between the letters "A, B, C, or D".

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