Musical Maths Game and Teaching Intermediate Note Values

This is where rhythm starts to get a little tricky… Teaching intermediate note values can cause some confusion with students who have trouble understanding fractions.

This game and the concise flipped learning music theory video are designed to make life a little easier in your piano studio.

When teaching intermediate note values we need to be clear and to the point, but give a well-rounded understanding of how rhythms are constructed. That’s exactly what these resources will help you do.

Musical Maths Match-Up Game

This music teaching game focuses not on note value names, or reciting fractions, but on really understanding the relationships between the notes. Using musical maths is a great way for students to see that all rhythm is relative and the note values are connected to each other.

How to Play

  • Each player gets dealt four cards from the pile.
  • Players take turns to draw another card from the top of the pile, and then discard one from their hand.
  • If a player gets a pair, they should place it down beside them during their turn.
  • The winner is the one with the most pairs when the cards are gone, or when time is up.

Alternate Solo Version: Play as a memory game, starting with all cards face down in rows and turning over two at a time. If the cards match, place them to the side. You may want to pick out just a few pairs at a time to make the memory game easier.


  • Print out card fronts (pages 3–6).
  • Print the decorative back on page 7 on the reverse side if desired.
  • Cut the cards along the dotted lines.
  • Laminate the cards if desired.
  • If you will be playing with more than two players, it’s best to print two copies of the cards so that you have a bigger pack.

The handiest part about this game is that it can be made to fit a specific time frame. Just decide when it ends and count the pairs.

If you’re looking for more music theory games, you should definitely take a look at my off-the-bench catalogue. There’s a whole heap of games there, organised by what concept they drill.

Download the Musical Maths Match-Up Game

Enter your details in this box to get the printable for the Musical Maths Match-Up game.

Vibrant Music Teaching members, you can access this resource inside the VMT library. Not a member yet? Find out more about becoming a member here.

Landmark Notes Flipped Learning Video

This video introduces four more note values to a student’s arsenal. By this stage they have already watched the Basic Note Values and More Note Values videos which correlate to Thinking Theory Book One, and they’re ready to add some more into the mix.

At teachers’ requests I am now doing these videos in USA and international versions where the terminology differs. Make sure to pick the right one to send to your students.

USA Version

This is the USA version which covers dotted eighth notes, sixteenth notes, eighth rests and sixteenth rests.

UK/International Version

This is the UK version which covers dotted quavers, semiquavers, quaver rests and semiquaver rests.

Feel free to send this video to parents for their kids to watch, use it in group lessons or as part of lab time. It’s designed to be clear and concise so that students can watch it – and then get on with some writing work for reinforcement.

This video correlates directly to Thinking Theory Book Two page 10. View the full Thinking Theory series here and see what makes these workbooks so special.

More Flipped Thinking Theory

If you liked this music theory video, you might also like these others:

Do you have a favourite note value activity?

What’s your favourite way to drill rhythm values and time names? Share it with us in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers community on Facebook.

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