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Name Games for Music Class


Name Games For Music Class

One cool thing about being a music teacher is that we get to see every student in our building. They are our students year after year. We watch them grow and develop long-term relationships.  

One challenging thing about being a music teacher is that we get to teach every student in the building. How to remember all those names! 

Name games are certainly the solution to the problem of learning and remembering hundreds of names! Because getting through the whole class will take some time, it is often best to keep it simple and focus on the names rather than the game.  Simple chants are quick and fun.  


Name Chant Procedures

  • Class chants the opening "what's your name" phrase
  • Individual student chants their name
  • Class repeats the student's name

Tip 1: At the beginning of the year, it is often best to repeat these simple chants in between each student.  As the year progresses, it is time-saving yet still effective to repeat the chant, give 4 students their turn to say their name, then repeat the chant again.

Tip 2: While maintaining a steady beat is certainly the goal of these games, younger students will have trouble with this at first.  Don't worry so much about the beat in August! Learn the names!  Then, as students become very familiar with the chant and the procedures, the steady beat will come naturally.

Simple Name Chants

Most of these don't really have a name as they are just one or two phrases long.  Simple & effective!

  1. Class chant: Say your name and when you do, we will say it back to you.  
  2. Class chant: Rickety, rackety, rockety, ree. Can you say your name to me?
  3. Class chant: Choo Choo Music Train, to get on board just say your name. 
  4. Class chant: Hickety, tickety, bumblebee, Can you say your name to me?
  5. Student-led: My name is _____, and I can do this. (clap, stomp, or other motion) Class answer: Your name is ______, and you can do this. (class copies motion)
  6. Student-led: My name is _____, and I like _____. (choose a theme for the day, such as foods, sports, school subjects) Class answer: Your name is _____, and you like _____.
  7. Rhythm Train:  Begin hand movement pattern: Pat pat clap clap.  Each person must say their own name twice on the pats, then say their neighbor's name twice on the claps.  Go around the circle.  For an added twist for older students, move to the end if you mess up the pattern.
Check out this post for more on Choo Choo Music Train and Hickety Tickety Bumble Bee.

Longer Name Chants

Name, Name, What's your name? 
Name, Name, What's your name? 
Say it now, we'll play a game.  
Say it high, say it low, 
Any old way, just don't be slow!

I use this chant all the way down to kindergarten, but I do not worry about keeping a steady beat with those youngest students at the beginning of the year! As students are ready, add a drum beat or a rhythm track and have fun!  I also chant the words "high" and "low" with a high or low voice respectively.  Never waste an opportunity to reinforce high & low!

Hey children, who's in town? 
Hey children, who's in town? 
Everybody stop and look around. 
Hey children who's in town? 
Tell us your name and then sit down.

This is another fun chant. Start this one with everyone standing up, then students will follow the directions in the chant and sit after they say their names. The class can echo the student names.  Repeat the chant after 4 student names. 

Jump In Jump Out

This one is great for older students. On the first day, teach the "Yeah" echo part and the ending, then the teacher can go first to demonstrate.  Allow for volunteers to go next.  Usually, after several students have had a turn to demonstrate, many hands are up and wanting a turn.  Now it is time to go around the circle!



Up the Ladder Down the Ladder

This one comes from the Gameplan curriculum and is fun for those middle grades, 2nd - 4th.  


The More We Get Together

I've been hearing this Oreos Olympics commercial that uses the song, "The More We Get Together." Have you seen it? 

Oreos Olympics Commercial

The commercial is bringing back memories of using this song as a name game.  Replace the "your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends" line with student names.  "Here's Bobby with Caeleb, and Caeleb with Katie, and Katie with Simone..."  To save time, don't repeat the names, but sing the names in sequence.  "Here's Bobby and Caeleb and Katie and Simone..."

Here's the Raffi version with student names included.



We're Better Together!

Playing a name game can be a fun way to come together at the beginning of class. Learning our students' names is definitely a sign of respect, which creates a great classroom climate.  

What are your favorite name games?

Musically yours,




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