As a music educator, keeping your students entertained throughout the year can be difficult, especially during the holiday season or in the days following a big performance. Sure, you can give your students a free period or pop in a Disney movie, but why not plan something that’s fun and educational, instead? From classroom games and scavenger hunts to live demonstrations, here are a few fun and educational classroom activity ideas that’ll keep your students entertained and inspired. Have fun and unique ideas of your own? Leave them below in the comments!
The best thing about classroom games is that they can be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like. If your students are especially hyper and you have access to a field or playground, try musical freeze tag. It’s easy to play, and will get the energy out of your students. (The teacher of their next class will thank you!) To play, put on a CD and enlist a student to be the DJ. While the music plays, instruct your students to dance and wiggle around and as soon as the music stops, freeze! Whoever doesn’t freeze in time is out, and the last person dancing becomes the DJ of the next round. If you’re limited to the classroom or want to keep things more relaxed, try games like Music Listening Bingo or Music Activity Books.
If you want to keep things really low-key, pop in a DVD and sit back and relax with the rest of your classroom. To keep things relevant to music, limit your DVD selections to live performances and music-related documentaries. Not only will these videos keep your kids entertained, but they’ll learn something about music in the process. Some teachers keep a small library of DVDs and books that their students can borrow throughout the year. To get started with building your own collection, head to yard sales, used bookstores, keep an eye out for online sales, and add a few books to your Christmas or birthday wishlist.
Instrument Care Demonstrations
Whether you teach marching band, orchestra, choir, or standard music theory, your students are in your classroom because they love learning about music. Why not expand their horizons by bringing a few different instruments to class and performing a live demonstration on how to care for and clean them?
From string instruments to brass instruments and everything in between, learning how to care for a different instrument can take up an entire class session. Take it a step further and bring in a more exotic instrument, such as an accordion or bagpipe. Allow them to touch and hold the instrument. Invite them to watch a Music & Arts Intro to Your Instrument video before, during, or after your demonstration. Search “MusicArtsFan” on YouTube.
Whether your students’ idols are lead guitarists or back-up vocalists, there are a lot of musicians in the industry for your students to look up to. Unfortunately, not all of them refrain from using harsh language or discussing adult themes in their interviews. If you want to broadcast interviews but are worried that one of them may cross the line, we’ve got you covered. Music & Arts has an entire section of our YouTube account dedicated to in-depth interviews with a variety of musicians. From Yamaha pianists to American Idol contestants and everything in between, encourage your students to browse The B-Side interviews both in and out of the classroom.
Last, but not least, think outside the box and set up a mini scavenger hunt that takes place within the walls of your classroom. Ask them to jot down fun facts about their classmates (i.e., “what is Michelle’s favorite thing about playing the saxophone?”) or have them search through books for the right answers (i.e., “find the book titled ‘musical theory 101’ and write out the name of the second chapter.”) Although this game can take place at any point in the year, it’s an especially helpful activity when it takes place at the beginning of the year when your students may not know their classmates or their way around your classroom very well.
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