Note Names, Now With Makey Makey

Over the past few weeks I have been learning a new technology that I may be able to use in the classroom called Makey Makey. My father gave me a set for Christmas about three years ago and I had never opened the box. I have had lots of fun exploring its possibilities, and playing Tetris using some empty soda cans as my arrow keys.

Makey Makey setup for Tetris using soda cans and a tape measure. Photo by the author (2019)

My favorite discovery so far has been turning my tape measure into my “Earth” material. This grounds you so that the soda cans operate as buttons and the current completes its circuit.

I thought the Makey Makey would be really fun in combination with a game called Staff Wars. Staff Wars allows students to practice note recognition on any clef, while slowly increasing speed so that they are forced to identify the note names quickly. I drafted a possible lesson plan called Makey Makey Lesson Plan for now. My biggest personal challenge I will experience with this lesson plan is that my Makey Makey is one of the originals, so remapping the buttons would require editing the Arduino’s code rather than working through Makey Makey’s website. I plan on spending some time this week to figure it out and finding one more alligator clip so I have enough for each note name (the kit comes with seven, I will need eight for this lesson). I look forward to refining my lesson and diving into coding in the next few days!


Luft, Lindsay. (2019 March 31). Makey Makey Lesson Plan [Word Document]. Available from

The Music Interactive. (n.d.). Staff Wars (Version 1.8) [Software]. Available from


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