Musical Chairs


This is a live-music variant of a classic children's game


This game works the best with a rather large space and with a facilitator. You will need chairs in the amount of one less than the number of players. Put the chairs in the middle of the room, in a circle facing outwards. There is also a musicking area, with instruments waiting for players. Players will have to be able to see the facilitator when they are together in this space.


Players start in a circle around the chairs. The facilitator, or a selected starting accompanist, is ready to play music (do not count that person as a player, adjust the number of chairs to be one less than people in a circle).

Gameplay instructions

Each round of the game starts when the music starts. In the first round it's played by the facilitator who will be tasked to stop, at any chosen moment.

Players: go around the circle of chairs (feel encouraged to match your pace to the energy of the music). When the music stops try to sit on a chair. As there is more players than chairs, one of you will not manage to do it — that player will join the band from the next round until the end of the game.

Facilitator: Before the next round, take one chair away and adjust the circle. (Maybe) give some directions for the next round's music, and remember that after you start to play in a band, you will need to either conduct the common ending of music or make it otherwise very easy to follow.

Game end

In the last round, almost everyone is playing in the band, and only two players go around a single chair. The game will end when the music stops and players hurry for the chair. Who manages to sit down wins the game.


  • Depending on a group, you may let a player that is joining the band become the new leader (so each round a different person gives direction and decides on the ending moment).
  • If agreed, a leader may shout "change" to make players change the direction of walking.

Gamemaster's notes

If the competition is strong (e.g. sometimes among children) consider putting a bandleader turned back to the chairs to show that all is fair.


A video of Musical Chairs from Pass the Sound series:

Unless stated otherwise Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. See licensing details