Memory Games

I love to play memory games with students. A favourite of one of mine is based on a game Suzuki played with us, and like all good learning games, creates smiles, laughter and enjoyment all round, while getting an important point across. It masquerades as a test – to see how well a piece has been memorised, and goes like this:


Play for me the first Twinkle variation (or any piece, really – it depends on the student’s age and level), and while you are playing you have to answer my questions, without stopping or making a mistake.”

“Ok, that’s easy!”

We begin playing the piece together. (I’ve got to be able to ask the questions while softly playing, too.)

After half a phrase I call out, “How many eyes have you got?”


Big smiles. “How many ears have you got?”


“How many feet?”


“How many hands?”


(Can you see what’s coming?)

“How many noses have you got?”

Bigger smiles now, and the little violinist answers, Two!!! or just looks at me, laughing and trying to keep playing, while giggles and guffaws break out from the parents.

Once they’ve got used to how the game works, I venture more complicated questions such as, “How old are you at your next birthday? What’s 11 plus 3?”  and finally, “What is your telephone number at home – backwards?”

Types of Memory

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