What is Music Mind Games?
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"While working on my master's degree in music theory in Ohio in 1973, I began teaching a few piano students. Since the common feeling at that time was that music theory is difficult, I thought about making up games to help keep my students' interest. Growing up in Arizona, I had sung in choirs since kindergarten, played violin in small groups and orchestras since 4th grade, and danced tap, ballet, and jazz in recitals, state fairs, and on television. Our success was always about everyone doing their best for the success of the group. I loved all these experiences and am grateful for fine coaching for this became my foundation. My mother, Mary, was an elementary school teacher. I grew up surrounded by her creative ideas for engaging her students. Because she had projects going on, I had projects going on, too. Turns out she was my pedagogy teacher.
I made alphabet cards, blue jello sticks (painted balsa wood + metal washers), and bingo cards. It was most encouraging that the students liked the games. After leaving college, I started teaching piano lessons. I was timid about asking all my students to take the extra theory class so it was optional. By the time we had our holiday recital, it was obvious that the students who took lessons and theory class were more engaged and making much faster progress. Even tho I was afraid I would lose students, I decided to require everyone to take theory. No one stopped and I was "off to the races", as my mom said.
Almost immediately, other teachers were anxious to use my ideas and games. In the mid 1970's, I was teaching my games at a summer music camp and was that ever fun. My studenets and their parents love the games and circulated a petition asking Alfred Publishing Company Inc., to publish my book. Much to my delight, they said they'd like to see a manuscript. So, I got to work. In 1979, my first book, No H in Snake: Music Theory for Children was published. In 1992, my second book, Music Mind Games, and three large boxes of ready-made materials were published by Warner Bros. Publications. In 2020, my third book, Music Mind Games Unit 1, was published.
In 2005, Music Mind Games, LLC was founded. In 2016, this website debuted with game instructions, teacher and parent memberships, photos, instructional videos, and an online store of all Music Mind Games materials. I am the graphic artist and creator.
Music Mind Games includes:
- Clever, exciting games
- Fun and attractive materials
- An innovative curriculum
- An original philosophy of game playing
These concepts work together to teach music theory and create music literacy like never before.
Teachers and parents all over the world love this unique approach, the creative games, and the attractive products. Music Mind Games are used in individual studio lessons, studio group classes, classrooms, workshops, choirs, and in homes.
- It's easy to hold students' attention
- Students relax and learn faster
- Memory training happens naturally
- Students learn to work cooperatively
- Students feel a sense of progress and accomplishment
- Students are empowered to learn rather than be taught
- Students are happy to repeat games, a fundamental of learning
- Games allow teachers to personally relate to each student
- Teachers can evaluate comprehension without testing
Our curriculum includes a built-in review of skills and flexibility to work with all situations
Our games and products work for a variety of learning styles (aural, visual, kinesthetic) and for all ages and skill levels.
A Nurturing Philosophy
Michiko has authored 16 Cornerstones to guide teachers, parents, and students on the philosophy of Music Mind Games.
Fairies, by the author of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, is one of Michiko's favorite fairy tales because it beautifully illustrates how the attitudes and the words we use can create very different results.