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Icebreaker games

Dear Listers,

Fifteen people wrote that they were also looking for new party ideas and
asked for a compilation. Another fifteen submitted some interesting ideas.
Gene Morian had saved an "Icebreaker" compilation from several years ago and
was kind enough to send it - thank you, Gene.

So . . . here is the long list of suggestions.

Party on!

We've broken into groups (4-8 per group) and had the
group make up a commercial for the choir, then perform
them for each other. It's very funny.


We've done the "who can sing the Bach chorale the best" game (in quartets).
Lots of fun.


What about "who am I?."

Print/write out names of famous people (actors, inventors, politicians,
musicians, artists, etc.) and paste ONE on the backs of each attendee.
Everyone else knows who everyone is except who they have pinned to their own

The person has to ask yes/no questions about "themselves" to guess who they
are, that is, who is the famous person pinned to their back. It's a good
ice breaker.

"Am I male?"
"Was I born in the 20th Century?"
"Was I in any movies?"
"Was I known in the U.S. only?"

etc. etc.


Check out this web address:
For fun games.


we hired a local magician who was very good....and entertaining...cost was

Next year we hired a hypnotist....he sent a substitute who was that
bombed.....but a good hypnotist can be very entertaining!

This past year we did nothing....took a break from entertainment!


I always hold an "Award's Ceremony." Throughout the year I try and keep
tabs on interesting events that happened, birthdays, etc. Being from
Montana (and now working in Illinios) the person with the best attendance
is made an "Honorary Montanan" with hat and moustache. This year I have
a repeat winner, so they will be outfitted with toy gun and bandana.
(Next year it may have to be boots and chaps!)

There were 3 women whose names I ALWAYS got confused, so I bought some of
those strap-on animal noses. Ella got the "Ella-phant," Leah got the
lion, and Marlene got the parrot. We took a picture of them with their
noses on, and they wore them to the first day of choir the next year!

One of my basses was new and had a lot of hair, so I presented him with a
bald wig to match the other basses.

Another person was given an exploding golf ball with the instructions to
use it on some unsuspecting person and report the results.

We are also having 3 tournaments (with trophies!) in Ping Pong,
Horseshoes, and Washers, along with setting up a volleyball/badminton net
for use.

A couple songs are always the order, including some folk songs, and old

I let them give themselves a tour of my 100 year old house and 1/2 acre
of yard with orchards, flower and vegetable gardens, and grape vines.

One of the kids of a singer will be in attendance, so I'm going to play a
practical joke on her. She will pick a card (which will either manage to
be the card I want, or I will have someone looking over her shoulder) and
place it back in the deck. She will then mentally "project" that card to
the audience. I'll ask the audience if they are getting anything, but
they, of course, won't get it. I'll get her to close her eyes and
concentrate really hard and try projecting again, but they still won't
get it. I'll then get an old-fashioned egg beater (which I will tell her
is a Mind-Projection Enhancement Device, despite what she thinks it is),
have her place it against her forehead and beat toward the audience,
while projecting her thoughts with eyes closed. At that time someone
behind her will hold up a large sign of what that card is, and I will ask
the audience if they received anything. They will, of course, say yes,
and I will have them all shout out what the card is, much to the
astonishment of the girl!! (I saw this done at an old-fashioned
vaudeville show, and the host person was dressed up like an east-indian
swami, with turban and wonderful accent.)

Last year we had one member move away and one retire, so we presented
them with signed cards, and a leather-bound hymnal with their name
printed in gold.

Also, we'll be presenting a cash gift to a graduating senior who has
helped out a lot the past couple years.

Food is putluck, but the main course is hamburgers and brats grilled by
myself, "Montana Style." (Whenever anyone asks, I tell them "Montana
Style" is when I grill while wearing my hat.)


When the party's at my house, I often make up word games...for example, take
the names of well-known songs and convert them to "fancy" language. They
play as teams for the most correct answers, and I have a little prize for the
winning team. This works well, as it makes some of those who came along pair
up and they enjoy that. We also usually have skits parodying either the
conductor (who is a good sport about it!)or one of the works we have done.
Then there's the tried-and-true old game of pinning the name of a composer or
other music luminary to each person's back and having them have to ask others
questions in order to find out who it is. First person to figure it out wins.


Roger: When I read your request I remembered that I had saved a
compilation of "icebreakers" that came in some time ago from someone in
ChoraList. I did some digging, and here they are for what they may be
worth. I have not tried to pick and choose, but am sending them just as
they came in from the compiler. Hope this helps. Best wishes, good luck
and have fun!
Gene Morlan
===========================================================Wow! So many people requested this information! Many suggestions were
variations on one another, but here are the icebreakers sent to me:

Some good games include an egg toss with real eggs. Everyone grabs a
partner and tosses eggs back and forth. After each toss, one of the partners
takes a step back. The partners alternate taking a step back after each toss.
team is eliminated when their egg breaks:).

Another is writing the names of famous TV and movie personalities on pieces
of paper so that each choir can tape a piece of paper on his back without
previously knowing what's on the paper. Each choir member then asks a fellow
member yes or no regarding the famous person until said member guesses the
personality correctly.
Each member adds one question of unique trivia about themselves to a list.
You then, compile the list and the members, including yourself, must go to
each other to find out what trivia belongs to who.

1. I have a pet named Bingo.
2. I have lived on every U.S. Border.
Etc. Etc. Etc.

It tends be a lot of fun in a short amount of time....the winner usually
gets some sort of gag prize.
Using a candy like "Starburst," assign each color with a different "fact."
For example, selecting a pink Starburst means you share your most memorable
musical experience. Without revealing the assignment, pass out one Starburst
to each student, asking them not to eat it yet...Let them know what each
color means, and have each student share their name, their fact and then
eat their candy!
I have a game (I've forgotten now where I discovered it) that I use with
all ages. I have some small cards with titles of familiar songs, like Old
MacDonald, Joy to the World, My Country 'tis of Thee, etc. printed on them.
Everyone draws a card from a stack keeping their title secret. When the
signal is given everyone begins singing their song, the object of the game
is to find other people in the room singing the same song, and eventually
sing it all the way through once, together. This puts the entire group in
random smaller groups. From there we might play one or more times, but
eventually move on to another activity using these random groupings. It's
a good mixer. Just be careful to caution them to sing properly, not shout
the song.
One of the icebreakers we have used in our adult choir is to pick one of
the singers as "key", then tell everyone to line up in birthday order
only) around the room. They have to talk to each other to find out where
they "belong" in line, and it's always a surprise to find how many people
have the same birthday as someone else in the choir!
I am also involved with orientation at my campus, in addition to teaching
music courses and directing the University Chorus. I have an icebreaker/get
acquainted exercise I have used very successfully at orientation the past
two years. It involves a scenario about being stranded in the desert after
a plane crash. There is a list of 15 items that you have salvaged from the
wreck and the game is to rank them in order of importance. Each person is
to rank them
individually, then rank them as a part of a team. I believe that the
original purpose was to show that teamwork often yields better results than
individual effort, but, if the exercise doesn't come out that way, then I
stress that each
person is responsible for his/her own actions (a good lesson for group
singers as well as college freshmen!). We use it primarily to get people
acquainted - it usually generates some lively discussion.
Stupid, but my kids enjoy it. The 'Name/Food Game.' Students form a circle.
The first person says his/her first name & favorite food ("Megan Macaroni").
The circle continues cumulatively - each person starts with the first
person and ends with him/herself. Specifically for a choir, we've divided
into smaller groups (6-8 singers, sometimes voice sections). Each group
must make up a name and a theme song.
Scavenger hunts are good....and make them find out info from you and
Put them in groups. Make up a list of fun facts about each person, and they
have to figure it out. For example, a student with the last name Shore who
loved Sound of Music: Sings like Liesel, and fun at the Beach?? You can
collect ideas from student info sheets, or draw on your knowledge of them.
They love to recognize themselves, and it is a great game to get to know
each other!
I just took an Intro to Kodaly workshop and was reminded of many of the
circle singing games I used to do when I taught elementary music years, I got brave and did one with my high school choir last week,
"The Jolly Miller", a double circle game where everyone locks arms back to
back when the song ends. The "miller" has been walking around the outside
and tries to find his/her place, thus one person gets left out and becomes
the new miller. Granted, most of my kids knew each other fairly well from
years past, although the sophomores are new this year....BUT the kids loved
it, had a great time, and want to play it again. I plan to use similar
games, especially at times when we are stressed out in rehearsal.
In a similar style of bingo card (can use 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper) write
in each square something about someone (generic OR specific depending on your
needs). Then, at the start of a particular rehearsal, or at a break or
retreat, each
person gets a sheet and has to find a "match" for that square and have the
person sign the square. The first few win a prize, or C.D. or something
easy and inexpensive.

Ideas for squares:
Generic type:
Has a recipe in his/her wallet
Ancestry is Italian
Has unwrapped gum package in his/her purse/pocket.
Is wearing black rimmed glasses.
Hates Sushi.
Lives more than 20 miles away from rehearsal.

Specific to your group:
Went on tour with us in 1998
Has sung more than 5 seasons
Has served on the ___(fill in blank)____committee.
Has just joined the group last week.
Has had perfect attendance to date.

For added fun, the "winners" introduce each person that got them to

#2) Fun interviews
Each person chooses someone they don't know well to "interview." It
consists of three questions (other than name and section).
1) Favorite Food
2) Favorite singer
3) If stranded on a desert Island, what three things (not people) would you
bring with you and why.

As time permits at the beginning of each half of rehearsal throughout the
retreat, or fall sessions, three or four people introduce the person they
interviewed and read the things about them. (This is successful, because
the interviewer doesn't have to say anything about him/herself, and the
"interview-ee" just has to stand and NOT have to talk about themselves
either. Sometimes they can be quite funny and fun!)

Third and final: (you have to have a big enough room to accomplish this)

Everyone picks a partner.
Form a circle.
One of the partner faces in, one out, so there is an inner circle facing
out, the outer circle facing in.
Have a bell or something loud.
Tell everyone every time the hear the bell (or gong, or whatever), move one
person to the left and introduce yourself and section. Do it as long as it
takes to make 360 degrees. (The tough part: as it "gets going" it takes
longer and longer for people to pay attention to the "bell" and move!)
We play the traditional "name game" every fall.
Student: "Hi, I'm Cathy."
Everyone: "Hi, Cathy."
Student: "And I like carrots".

Next student: "Hi, I'm Gabe."
Everyone: "Hi, Gabe."
Gabe: "And I like girls. And this is Cathy, and she likes carrots."

Etc. It's cumulative. We usually introduce a row or section each day the
first week of school and give prizes to anyone who can name everyone (and
their "like") at the end of the week (in large choirs).
Fix the meter in 4. The conductor conducts the pattern. On the first measure
clap on 1: on the second clap on two: on the third measure clap on three; on
the fourth clap on four; on the fifth clap on three; on the next measure on
two; and on the last measure clap on one. As the group gets better,
increase the tempo.
I've used one in the past where there are twenty questions (such as find
someone who has sung a solo, or someone who has been in a musical, someone
who has the same birthday as you, etc.) and they have to find a
different name for each question.
Buy a very large bag of M & Ms and enough small sized Dixie cups to provide
a cup for each person involved. Fill the cups with random numbers of M &
Ms, usually anywhere from 3 to 8-9, and place them on a table. Invite
everyone to pick up one cup, but to refrain from eating the M & Ms for just
a moment.
When everyone has a cup, ask them to count the number of M & Ms in their
cup--after they have counted, tell them that they must tell the group one
thing about themselves that no one knows for each M & M in their cup.

It's great fun, and the greedier people (and chocaholics) end up having
to tell the most.
One of my personal favorites: two truths and a lie. Everyone says two
true things and one false thing about themselves (preferably not in this
order!), and everyone else has to guess the "lie." Some of the more
creative students will have a ball with this!


I have played a form of pictionary using song names as the words. Worked


Ours it s community and student choir (all ages). We usually have a revue,
where people do items, serious and silly, musical and other (eg poems, skits
or sketches, etc), followed by a "BYO" party - ie, eveyone brings food and
drink to share.


One game I have done with my choir is 2 Truths and a Lie. Best done in
smaller groups, each person comes up with 2 truths about themselves and 1
lie. My singers have had fun with this, plus it allows them to find out a
little more about themselves.


I have a few ideas. My family is very devoted to Jeopardy and my brother
often creates a Jeopardy game using a particular theme. You could create
one with musical categories such as Composers, Theory, Music the Choir
Has Performed this Year, Pop Music, etc. In fact, as I write this, I'm
thinking that I may do this same thing for my end-of-the-year choir
party. Thanks. You've helped me.

Other ideas - one of my choirs gets together once a month for a games
night. So far, they've played Celebrity, Charades, and Dictionary but I
think we'll be having Boggle marathons and other such non-music-related
games, as well. Also, there is a Music Bingo game that, I believe, was
designed for children, but I think is fun and a great learning tool for
any age.

Roger Wilhelm
Asbury First United Methodist Church, Rochester, NY.

on July 9, 2002 10:00pm
We had a Luau this year and it was great fun! I teach at a private school, so I had mixed ages. Our older chorus members greeted the younger ones at the door with plastic leis and a kiss on the cheek. They came into the room with hawaiin music playing and were told to go get their name tag and some punch. I had three "toss" games going on (Supervised by the older kids) These are very simple, inexpensive games. Check out Oriental trading co. We purchased all of our decorations and games from them. After everyone arrived, We strted a group game. It was kind of like musical chairs, but there were dots on the floor and when the music stopped, you had to put one foot on a dot. then we would remove dots ect., till we had a winner. Then we played Limbo, which the kids loved! Then they ate. Parents sent the food in, and there was quite a spread. After they ate we played ano
on April 9, 2004 10:00pm
In my high school choir, we used to play this teamwork game at the beginning of every year. About 1/4 of the room was considered the safe space. Everyone would spread out around the rest of the room. The object was to get everyone in the safe space (preferably within one class period or shorter). Only one person could move at a time and that person had to tag someone else before they could move. The trick was for the first person to go to the back of the room, get as far away from the furthest person back while still being able to reach them, and then tag them. This way, the first person is moving forward and helping the second person move up. If everyone works together, this can be done easily. You can tell who your leaders are and who are only looking out for themselves (the ones that get tagged and go straight to the safe space). Of course, the upperclassmen always knew what to do, but we weren't allowed to talk, so it was fun to see what the new students would do. She would make us play the game once a week until we made it within her set time period.
on April 22, 2008 10:00pm
Play "Name that Tune" with songs you have learned during the previous year. This can be done in teams or individuals
on May 4, 2008 10:00pm
We just had a bon fire choir party. I used the fake money and auction game. For everything anyone did, they got play money. "You drove to the party? Here's a $20." "You ate beans? Great! Here's $30." You wore's $10." You get the idea. Then the auction was even more fun with folks trying to outbid the other for nonsense prizes. Even the children got into the act. It was great fun.
on December 16, 2008 10:00pm
How about the good ol' fashioned sing down. Break your chorus into teams - maybe 10 people max per team. You pick a very general topic (i.e. water, love, colors) Each team has several minutes (5-10 depending on age) to write down as many songs that have that word or related words (need to specify before hand - Water could also be rain, sea, pool, etc..)in the lyrics. Then call pencil's down and run a quick round robin with each group singing just the part of the song that satisfies the theme. once the leader says ok, the next team sings one of the songs from their list and so on until there is one team remaining with a song. Teams are eliminated if they sing a song that has already been sung (even if it's a different part of the song), or if they run out of songs. They can include a song that they think up on the spot, but there is a 10 second time limit to start their song when it's their turn.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on August 7, 2009 10:13pm
I do one with my middle school kids that I learned from our student council advisor.  The kids refer to it as the "shoe" game. It is also called "Have you ever".
 Basically they all get in a cirlce,  take off their shoes ,and stand behind them.  You take one pair out and then have that person start in the middle of the circle.  The person in the middle asks a question to the group starting with the phrase "Have you ever" and then something that they have done. Example..."have you ever been to Alaska".  Then all of the kids who have been to Alaska have to run to a new pair of shoes. Others can stay put. The last kid who doesn't make it to a pair of shoes is in the middle and asks the next question. Kind of like musical chairs with questions and shoes instead of music and chairs. Oh well.  It helps to have them ask broad-ranged questions like "have you ever sang" or "have you ever gone to a movie".  Then you can get more specific. 
Hope it helps, my kids actually love this game but it can make the room smell for a bit  :-)