Twister Fingerboard game


Karen said: Nov 26, 2012
Karen Walls
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
18 posts

Hi there,
I know this came up in conversation a few months back. I am wanting to play this game at my group lessons tomorrow. I’ll be having 7 students in this group. What would be the scenario for game play? Would each student take one turn, stay on their spot and have the other 6 take their turn? Or would they go one at a time and keep taking a card and spinning until they fall over? Then the other 6 would sit and watch?

Or would all 7 be on the mat at once and all going to the same spots?

I’ve got the mat all ready to go, the cards made, but I’m not envisioning well how this will be played.


Karen Walls
Indianapolis Suzuki Academy
Instructor of Violin

Ruth Brons said: Dec 28, 2012
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
West Orange, NJ
150 posts

Karen—How did the group classTwister game turn out?

Karen said: Dec 29, 2012
Karen Walls
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
18 posts

Hi Ruth,
The kids were excited to play this! I divided up my group into 2 levels; mid-book 1 and below and end book 1-book 3 (that’s my range in my studio). Each level took turns doing the game. I have 5 in one group (the higher level) and 8 in the lower range. It was harder with the kids in mid-book 1. Not to mention 8 kids in that group, but getting them to visualize and focus on what they were doing in the midst of calling out names and spinning and watching 2 at a time on the mat got to be a tad crazy! May need to reduce that group again and do four at a time.

It worked better for the book 2 and 3 kids who understood it.

I did use vinyl letters to mark the strings at the bottom and top of the mat so they’d get their bearings and I used vinyl numbers (they were very small ones though-the only ones I had on hand) to mark 1st finger, high second and 3rd finger, to help give better reference.

The kids liked taking turns spinning and calling out the color and hand or foot and other kids took turns picking the card to call.

Not sure if they got the whole point quite yet, so will probably need to do it again, and maybe then do a ‘Finger Twister’ version with just their violin so they can relate the two together.

It is a rowdy time, but fun! Thanks for asking!

Karen Walls
Indianapolis Suzuki Academy
Instructor of Violin

Jennifer Visick said: Dec 30, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1046 posts

I’m having a hard time understanding the point of this… is it a music reading exercise? Fingerboard geography? Note address exercise? Please explain!

Merietta Oviatt said: Dec 30, 2012
Merietta OviattViolin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
107 posts

I’m so sorry to get in on this so late, but what is the twister game? how did you set it up? What is the premise?

Dr. Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Specialist
Viola/Violin Instructor
Aber Suzuki Center, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
[javascript protected email address]

Karen said: Jan 1, 2013
Karen Walls
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
18 posts

Hi Merietta and RaineJen,
I heard of the Twister game on here, so perhaps it’s in the back logs somewhere. The gist of it is the Twister mat can resemble the fingerboard on a string instrument. The 4 colors of dots each represent a string. The students spin the regular Twister spinner to see what color (string) to be on and whether it’s a left or right foot or hand that will be placed down.

What you have to make are cards to go along with each string. It was suggested to use the same colored cards for the strings (red, blue, green yellow). Each color card has a letter note on it, so kids have to find the note on the ‘fingerboard’ with either their hand or foot on the color on the mat.

Example: a red left foot was spun, a red card is then picked with G# on it and we’ll say red is the E string for violin, the students have to put their left foot on the red dot on the mat that represents the G#.

What gets confusing for the younger set is that there are 6 dots for each color, so they couldn’t exactly find the right dot to represent 1st finger (there is a low 1 dot), high 2nd (there is a low 2 dot) and 3rd (there is a high 3rd finger dot as well).

I found marking the strings at either end of the mat, showing where the scroll and chin rest would be and showing with numbers to the side which dot represents ‘regular 1′ high 2 and regular 3 were helpful to the younger kids.

Does it make sense? If I’ve got it wrong, perhaps someone else can add their thoughts to this.


Karen Walls
Indianapolis Suzuki Academy
Instructor of Violin

Barb said: Apr 12, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
685 posts

HERE is another thread discussing Twister and other fingerboard geography activities.

I have my Twister game now (thrift store find) and will make my cards up before next group lesson!

Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Suzanne Brimhall Barraclough said: Apr 24, 2013
Suzanne Brimhall Barraclough
Suzuki Association Member
Salt Lake City, UT
9 posts

Hi Merietta, RaineJen, Ruth, Karen and Barb,
(Big Grin)
So here is the original explanation under “Fingerboard Geography”. I plan to have a less casual, more specific explanation printed and ready along with colored cards for Suzuki Institute! Will you be there Merietta? I had no idea the game would catch on like this! It’s so fun and so worth the extra work! It has truly helped my students to become better readers.

Nurtured by Love
Page 108
“Starting the children off with the fun of playing a game, letting their spirit of fun lead them in the right direction, (this) is the way all education of children should be started.” ~ Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Suzanne Barraclough

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