Music Bingo: 12 Unique Themes for Quarantine Fun and Clinical Practice
by Miranda Rex, MA, MT-BC
We have all heard of music bingo. Most of us have probably done it multiple times. But what kinds of topics are you using? Sure Today’s Hits and 80s themes are fun, but thinking outside the box and getting really creative makes the whole experience even more fun for everyone!
This is a great activity to use right now during quarantine! It is fun for the whole family and can introduce you and your family to new music or spark conversations with your kids about music you used to listen to when you were their age. It’s definitely a nice stress reliever during this time of anxiety.
Clinically, I started doing this when I started working PRN at a mental health facility. I was only working sporadically, so it was difficult for me to engage the patients (especially teens) with little to no knowledge about them.
Music, as we know, is an instant rapport establisher, but oftentimes music therapy still needs some buy-in (again, especially teens). I did Disney bingo (pdf) and Today’s Hits bingo (pdf), which went over very well with teens and adults alike, but when I started working more regularly, I wanted (and needed) to branch out to other topics so I wasn’t repeating the same stuff over and over. So I wondered what kinds of themes could I use that would be unique and engaging?
Here’s a list of some of the most liked music bingo games I’ve created, with links to my playlists 🙂
1. One Hit Wonders Bingo
This is a huge hit with people starting in their 20s all the way up to their 60s. There are some awesome tracks that really get people groovin’ and talking about when they used to hear it on the radio or at the skating rink. Some favorites from this list include: Whoomp! There It Is, Hey Mickey, Take on Me, and Blue (Da Ba Dee).
2. Weird Al Bingo
I have to give credit where credit is due: a patient suggested this one for me. It was so much fun to put this one together. It brings a lot of laughs, even if people aren’t familiar with Weird Al’s music.
3. Dance Songs Bingo
This one is particularly popular with teens and young adults since most of the dances are newer, but you could easily make alterations for an older group and include things like the hustle, electric slide, the Charleston etc. It’s also fun to try and convince the group to demonstrate the dances.
4. Numbers Bingo
Songs with numbers! There’s a big variety of decades and genres, so this works pretty well with any age group.
5. Songs About Places Bingo
This one is fun to start a conversation with patients about traveling — where have they been, where would they like to go, etc. It’s good for a variety of ages as well.
7. Musicals Bingo
This one was a combined effort between a patient and me. I was thinking about doing a musicals bingo, but wasn’t sure if people would be into it. She was very excited by the idea and gave me a few suggestions of musicals/songs to put on it, then voila!
9. Songs You Know But Don’t Know the Title Of Bingo
This one is really a delight. It’s a compilation of classical and popular tunes that are regularly used in commercials, movie soundtracks, etc. that everyone has heard, but doesn’t know the title. People have a great time hearing the song and trying super hard to figure out what it is, and they seem to enjoy discovering the title and learning some music history about some of them as well.
10. Weather Songs Bingo
Music for all seasons! ….kind of. Lots of rain and wind songs out there, but it gets fun when people are deciding between similar titles.
11. Boy Bands Bingo
From The Beatles to One Direction, there’s something for everyone on this music bingo playlist!
12. Powerhouse Women Bingo
I made this one in honor of International Women’s Day, but it’s good all year round! This one surprised me by how well it went over; I was even more surprised that the patient who knew the most songs was a man! It was so much fun bringing these awesome ladies altogether like this.
I also have a few holiday bingo games for Halloween and Christmastime (it includes primarily secular music from popular Christmas movies!) and I am regularly updating my Today’s Hits playlists for the teens, which are generated primarily by me asking them what’s popular now or having them write down 3-5 songs they think I need to listen to.
I always use MyFreeBingoCards because it’s quick and easy, but if there’s another program that works for you, stick with it! This one also allows you to customize the card theme and provides an automatic randomizer and a caller’s card.
I usually do a typical round of bingo then do a blackout or coverall so everyone gets a chance to bingo and we get to hear all the songs.
What are some unique themes you have used? What programs do you use to make bingo cards?
Thank you so much for this! I will be utilizing one of these for my virtual cancer support group. I’ve done a lot of musical jeopardy in the past, but this will really mix it up and cause some great discussion.
Hey Ashley, that’s awesome!! Let us know how it goes! 🙂
Thank you for the great ideas. It’s easy to feel that we’re running dry right now.
It absolutely is. It’s been great to see music therapists collaborating together online! So glad this post was helpful for you 🙂
how do you play??? I’d love to use this for my group therapy..
Hey Tara! I use a bluetooth speaker and typically put the playlists on shuffle and let about 1 minute of the song play (or more, depending on when the big hook is or if the patients/clients are jamming) and let them mark their bingo sheets with approved items (markers, candy, bingo dots, etc.).
Depending on time, I will play until someone gets a bingo or, more often, until we get a blackout; sometimes I have done 4 corners as well, meaning each corner has to be x-ed out before it counts as a bingo. It’s a lot of fun!
If you have other questions, feel free to email me! email@example.com
These are excellent thanks so much.