Piano Practice Kits – Efficient Practice Gamefied

How do you know if your students are practicing properly at home? Far too many students “piano practice” means play through everything assigned…maybe a few timesand that’s it.

That’s certainly not what our piano practice as teachers looks like. We spend our time problem solving, drilling trouble spots, analysing the score and testing our memory.

Piano practice kits

Piano practice gameification with practice kits

So how can you get your students to replicate this in their own piano practice time? A recent post on Facebook in Piano Teacher Central prompted me to start thinking about piano practice kits again. I’ve seen this idea in varying forms in a few different places and decided it was finally time to act.

Practice kit

I spent a few weeks putting together a generous supply of piano practice kits for my students. This was a considerable investment of my time, but if it makes even half my students practice smarter, it will be worth it.

If you want to try something a little bit simpler while you’re getting these kits together – go grab these practice step stickers. This is a quick win that you don’t want to miss!

So, what’s inside the Piano Practice Kit?

Practice kit ingredients

It took me a while to source all these elements economically, but I got there in the end!

Inside the practice kit my students will find:

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.

Emoticon Cards

Emoticon cards

When piano students are engaged, they’re also more focussed. Asking kids to perform a piece like they’re angry might seem counterproductive, but a real performer also knows how to act. Students that can transform a ragtime march and make it say what they want, are able to feel the music and understand expression.

Playful Practice Cards

Playful practice

Playful Practice cards help piano students to practice smarter, more thoughtfully, and more creatively by assigning tasks and asking questions to get students really thinking about what they are doing during their practice time.

The cards are in five different categories: Jumble, Rhythm, Style, Theory and Memory. With prompts like; “Play your right hand part with your left hand” and “Improvise with your right hand while playing the left hand part as written”, these cards will ensure no student is just phoning it in.

Dice Game


You can play this game with 1 or 2 dice. Choose a section of a piece you are working on. Roll the dice, and then play the section. If you play it correctly add the number on the dice to your score on the scoreboard (use a whiteboard marker), if you made a mistake the score goes to your opponent.

Repeat this process you or your opponent reaches 30 points, if your opponent wins, play another practice game with that section.



Something about having tokens to move just makes playing a section three times successfully so much more palatable to students. Each time they play a section correctly they move one die to the right hand side, but a mistake means they need to put one die back on the left hand side.

Note: I only chose dice for this game because it was the cheapest option I could think of, you can use any token in place of the dice.

Chop Suey

This is modified from an idea that someone posted on Facebook, although I changed the rules a little.

Divide the piece into 10 sections (mark the numbers in pencil on the music). Take out the playing cards, shuffle and draw the top card. Play that section of the piece (ace is 1).

– JACK = play first section

– QUEEN = play last section

– KING = play complete piece

Beat the Dealer

Beat the Dealer

Deal three cards face up, and add up the total (jack, queen & king are all 11). Play your chosen section or piece. If you play it correctly, turn over a card for your “hand”. If you make a mistake, add another card to the “dealer’s hand”.

Continue until the total in your hand is greater than the dealer’s hand.

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.

Have you made practice kits for your studio?

What did you include? Did your students like them? What would you do differently than I did?

38 thoughts on “Piano Practice Kits – Efficient Practice Gamefied”

  1. Your ideas are so creative…AND so practical and easy to put into use immediately with materials that are so accessible. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas.

  2. I agree with Lavinia! Thank you so much! I am grateful for your willingness to share your very creative ideas! They are a huge help!

  3. I love these! But I ordered a studio license for the practicing cards and can’t get them to download. I have a zip program but only an ipad computer. Help? Thank you!

  4. I love the idea of starting students out with a practice kit. Making a practice is game is much more fun and rewarding. I’m excited to browse through your other creative piano teaching ideas!

  5. I’m not sure I can jump into these for all of my students, but I think dividing out all the games into different packets and then letting my students check them out each week would also be so fun!! Thanks so much for sharing these fabulous ideas!

  6. I love this idea and I am in the process of putting them together for each family. I have showed a couple of parents and a couple of students and they are really excited about it. If it gets 1 or 2 to practice more – I will be a happy camper! Do you have the post it notes and highlighter tabs in there for a reason or just because they could be used for something along the way?

    • They’re not strictly necessary Leslie. I use them for marking trouble spots, starting places and noting which game they should use for each piece. Just handy to have around. Hope your students love their kits!

  7. Hi there,I found your youtube video on activities to teach preschoolers play the piano, and I love your creative ways with objects! I have a special needs 6 year old, cant read or write yet and would love to teach him this way! How can I find those activities?

  8. Hi Nicola! In the past I made these up for my students and charged $5 each for them…I think I broke even lol! Do you have your students bring these with them to lessons? I found that s few of them lost a lot of the stuff out of the bag. Do you charge for these? Also, do you show them how to play each game when you give it to them or just play one with them each week?

    • Just play and assign one game at a time – whichever is useful for your student at the time. Reinforce this at several lessons before adding another.
      I don’t ask them to bring them to lessons, I prefer that they leave them on top of the piano at home, ready to go.

  9. Hi! How do I get the downloads for the emoji cards, instruction cards, etc? I can’t seem to find the link. Subscribed the newsletter and received the practice stickers. 🙂 Thanks for the fabulous resources.

  10. Just thought I’d let you know that I use clothespins in place of dice for the 3-in-a-row. They are cheap, fun to clip at the top of the book, and even involve a bit of finger dexterity exercising lol.

  11. Hi everyone! Thank you for sharing the lovely ideas, Nicola! Of course, I would definitely include learning music reading with the TunyStones App. It was invented to motivate kids to practice music reading (which is not easy at all with traditional methods…). Try it out!


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