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How to Play
Deal out one deck of grand staff cards in the formation shown in the book and in the photos. For the photos, I dealt only three sets, but the game flows best with four sets as shown on page 289. Each student (or small team) will have four cards, two face up and two face down. As with most card games, it's best to deal one card around the circle until each set contains four cards.
Next, write out a scale using one set of alphabet cards, one wild card and the appropriate sharps or flats. If your students are young or not too fluent with scales, it's still fine to use a scale; it will be a friendly preview of things to come.
|The goal of the game:|
|The goal of the game is to have four grand staff cards with the fewest points at the end of the game. The scale is used to determine a point system for the grand staff cards. For the game shown in the photos, our scale was G major. The first tone in the scale, G (do), was worth one point. A (re) was worth 2 points, since it's the second tone in the scale, and so on. During the game I asked my students to refer to G as tonic, C as subdominant and D as dominant (familiar terms from their keyboard skills studies at the piano) to encourage familiarity with these terms. "Oh, look May, it's a tonic card!" says Delphine.|
|To play the game:|
On each turn students draw one grand staff card from the center pile. If it's a good card (i.e. G, A or B or do, re or mi, in this game), they may switch it with one of the grand staff cards in their set. If it's not so good (C, D, E or F#, fa so la or ti) it should be tossed in the discard pile next to the center pile. However, if the card drawn is better than one of the face up cards, it should be switched. The idea is to gradually improve one's cards.
Once a student acquires two good cards (those face up) and draws a good card, it's time to make a switch with one of the grand staff cards facing down. The suspense is high as students decide which card to switch. Once the card is turned over, the switch must proceed and the (former) face down card is tossed in the discard pile even if it's a good card. "Oh, no! I needed that A!" says Isabel. Amid playful exclamations of "Oh, yes!" the good card is snatched up from the discard pile by the next player.
Players must maintain their cards so that two grand staff cards are facing up and two are facing down. During turns it's fine to switch cards again and again so that players can continue to improve their cards. Hopefully, memories are good and students remember which face down cards to switch.