Focus & Engage Students with Musical 4 Corners

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4 Corners in the Music Room

One of my classroom management tools is to have a set routine so that students can get into good habits. To break up the monotony of teaching the same routine throughout the week, I try to incorporate an exciting, whole-group game at the end of each lesson. Musical 4 Corners is one that is frequently requested and easy to create. Students are so engrossed in playing, they don’t realize they are reviewing objectives along the way.
I created this version of 4 Corners years ago after watching 2nd graders play 4 Corners week after week during indoor recess. I didn’t understand why they were so captivated by this simple game but I decided to harness some of this recess magic and make a musical version for the classroom. It was a hit and I love that it gives students the chance to get up and move around while reviewing musical concepts.  It can also be played for any length of time making it a perfect closure activity for the end of class.
The best part is that Musical 4 Corners is adaptable to any objective. Kindergartners beg for the 4 Voices version and easily picked up on the rules and how to play. The rhythm and solfege games were even a hit with middle schoolers! 



All you need to do is label 4 areas of the classroom (1-4) and show a card/slide of 4 different patterns. You can use rhythm, pitch, dynamic symbols, note names, or whatever else you’re working on.  One easy way to create the cards is to just write the 4 patterns on pieces of paper and project them. See the free download link below as an example). Create about 15 cards. You can also find a free set of cards to download below the video. 


  • The child who is “it” covers their eyes and counts to 10 while classmates tiptoe to a corner of their choice.
  • When time is up, you clap one of the rhythms on the card. Find a way to choose a corner at random (equity sticks, make a predetermined list, etc).
  • Everyone standing in the corner with the chosen pattern sits down.
  • Keep playing until there is 1 student left.
  • I let the winner choose a small prize from a prize box, but I’ve played without prizes and they love it just as well.

Players Are Automatically Out If They:

  • Run
  • Talk
  • Move before the countdown
  • Are not securely in a corner at the end of the countdown

If the directions are confusing, here’s a quick video of me talking through the game with a PowerPoint version I created for TeachersPayTeachers:

[wpvideo GzFvzKXq]


Download the rhythm cards I’ve used for free here —> Rhythm Rounds.

I hope you try the Musical 4 Corners out with your classes. It’s great for when things are a little hectic and you need an educational time-filler. If you have a tech-savvy sub, I highly recommend using one of my prepared PowerPoint games. The PowerPoints pretty much run themselves, and there are enough cards to play several rounds. The Instrument Families or Notes & Rests versions are great ones for a non-music sub to start with.

Happy teaching,9ec1b-sig2bsmall_name2bcopy

A nice tutorial on how to set up a Musical 4 Corners game for your elementary music classroom. You can take any concept and incorporate it into a game so middle school band, choir, and general music students love it too! A fun, active game to end your music lesson plans with!

Hello Music Teachers!

I'm Jane, and I'm here to help make teaching more fun and less stressful by sharing ideas for the general music classroom! I've taught general music since 2009 and now focus on early childhood music.



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