Toward the end of every year, I’m always doing some form of melodic dictation with my classes. So much of what we do in music includes volleying (echoing). So it made sense to create a volleyball-themed game for our melodic dictation activities. The best parts of the game (judging by my students’ reactions) are the many opportunities they had to fix their mistakes. If they sang a pattern wrong, they still had a chance to fix it later. By the end of each game my students were so proud of themselves and were begging to play it again.
Begin by singing (volleying) so/mi patterns with your class or any pitch patterns you’re currently working on. Then, transition to singing these patterns on a neutral syllable (such as “loo”). You could also play these patterns on a recorder or piano. At this point, my students rarely notice that I’m no longer giving them the Solfége syllables.
Pass out a set of four Solfége Cards to every student, making sure to reserve a set for yourself.
Pass out the game court to each student. Have them set it up as shown below.
Play a Pattern
Play or sing (on a neutral syllable) a pattern from one of your cards. Students must find the correct card from their stack, and sing the pattern back to you using Solfége. If they get it right, it goes over the net. If they get it wrong, it goes “Out of Bounds”. At this point, you’ll want to keep track of the patterns that go out of bounds, so that you can provide the students with a second chance to get it right later in the game.
Out of Bounds
When you sing a pattern that has already been played, students are supposed to shout, “Out of Bounds!” If they’re correct, and their card had been “Out of Bounds”, they get to move it across the net.
Once students have got all cards across the net, you can begin again with another set of four. If students need an extra challenge, you could try passing out more cards at the beginning, so that they have more from which to choose.
When I first started playing this game, we used the volleyball vocabulary without any of the props. Over time, I created all of the printables and presentations to go along with it. If you’re looking to save time and would like to use the same materials, just click on the image below, and you can view the pre-made set in my store.