Jewish Education Leader's Guide Music Education

Jewish Name That Tune

Like most humans- I love playing games.

This Jewish twist on an internationally popular game is a simple and joyful way to integrate music appreciation and education that requires no musical skill whatsoever

The objective of the game is to carefully listen to a short selection of a series of carefully curated tunes and then identify something about it. Active listening to music samples engages the brain globally- both sides and many parts of your neural network are activated. As such, I know that the game likely inspires memories that help the participant make meaningful connections. 

Explore enormous musical diversity in a short period of time.

I typically play 15-45 seconds of a recording- so my players can explore the sounds of 10 different songs which can represent a multitude of styles and culture in less than 15 minutes. I am very intentional in making sure my playlists include high-quality recordings of songs with some degree of familiarity for my audience. 

Encourage those who identify as non-musicians to engage in musical play.

Playing a musical game that doesn’t require actually producing music is a gentle way for many folks who don’t identify as musicians to use their musicality in a comfortable way. A primary objective of my work is to always build confidence and competence with my learners.

I’m regularly disheartened by the massive number of people I meet convinced they ‘can’t sing’- I typically ask folks who share this with me if someone questioned their musical abilities in early childhood and the answer has been ‘yes’ every time.   I make this game very ‘easy’- I often provide a “song bank” so that the players can use the process of elimination to increase their points. 

To facilitate Jewish Name That Tune, game leader takes 4 steps. 

  1. Identify your goal and audience. 

Before you choose what songs you’ll use and what assets you might need to develop, figure this out. This game always offers social benefits- so what else do you want to accomplish with this game? Expose kids to a variety of styles? Introduce tunes connected to an upcoming thematic unit? Be an ice breaker? Build confidence? Explore learner’s knowledge?

  1. Create your playlists. 

This step is fun. Peruse what I’ve used for Chanukah Name That Tune, Creation Name That Tune (they were tasked to match the day of creation with the sound of what was created in that version) , Jewish Kids Name That Tune (they got points for song name or associated holiday/ritual) I was the music specialist in the community where I used that- it was one of my end of year assessments so I could gauge long term familiarity with tunes I shared throughout the year)

  1. Consider your logistics to create game rules. 

Will players work together on team or individually? Will you distribute a worksheet for completion or as players to take their own notes? Will you award ‘bonus points’ and or ‘prizes’? You can adjust the complexity level to match the demands of your environment or the needs of your learners. You can check out these Sample Jewish Name That Tune (Complex) or Sample Jewish Name That Tune (Simple) for ideas. What are the rules and expectations and how will you communicate them?  

  1. Play!

Welcome your players and explain the game’s rules. Make sure players understand expectations and know how their answers will be collected and tallied. I like to put on disco lights while we play, just to kick up the fun.

Name that tune is delightful because it sparks connections- contemporary and nostalgic.

It is a popular game on cruise ships and classrooms alike – and now it can be a tool in your kit, too. I use the game as a strategic engagement tool. I hope these ideas inspire you to find ways to integrate music across your curriculum and explore how music can help you teach any topic.

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