1-4 players. Pick a major key and moderate tempo (e.g. MM=72). The only note value allowed is the quarter note. Free choice of pitch (within an agreed-upon scale), and pitches may be repeated.
Tip #1: add rests so that everyone is not playing on every note. Occasionally take this to an extreme so that there are many more rests than notes – but keep the beat!
Tip #2: Listen to the other players for distinctive melody shapes and lengths. Imitate!
Tip #3: Use accents, articulations, dynamics, etc. to add interest to the line.
Tip #4: Steal melodic shapes from the other players. Often!
Variation 1: Same game, but now the eighth note is the only note value allowed.
Variation 2: Player’s choice of either quarters only or eighths only.
Variation 3: Change the tempo, starting really slowly, gradually speeding up to quite brisk, until.
Variation 4: Repeat in other keys.
Variation 5: Repeat using other kinds of scales: minor, pentatonic, chromatic, blues, whole tone, diminished (octatonic), Phrygian, Locrian, Klezmer, etc.