Five Minute Fillers

Have you ever needed a five minute filler for a music class? You probably know the type of situation I mean. It’s when you’ve got quite a large group of kids together for choir or band music class or even for a group of fidgety young children …..and you need to get them either fired up or switched on!

The thing is with this kind of five minute filler activity, you need to have something fun, fantastic and new lined up. If you do the same thing over and over again the kids (even 4 year olds) will just get bored and you’ll find it hard to get anything out of them. If you use an idea that’s too complicated, you’ll loose them….So what can you do?

Keep it simple!
Yes that’s it… not exactly profound is it! Whatever you pick, choose something that’s so freaking simple, you can teach it to a group of fidgety three year olds or to a bunch of fidgety adults. A chant, a simple song, a game, a joke, a dance. The idea is to make it as fun as possible, but involves maximum amount of participation from your group in the shortest amount of time.

The best teachers are the ones who get the maximum amount of participation going and make it fun in the shortest amount of time. The philosophy is simple – if it ain’t fun you don’t learn!

Think about it for yourself. What do you remember most about your own schooling. Was it all those tests you had to take week after week or day after day….NO WAY! It’s the fun stuff… it’s the teacher who cared and made the hardest stuff fun… it’s the experience you had and it’s the feeling knowing you could do it. If we’re spending our time saying we’ve got to spend our time in our sessions meeting the curriculum needs and tests, we’re doing not only our children, but our whole society a great injustice. Just face it, if it’s not fun we won’t learn!

I thought the you tube video above illustrated a great tool for learning a simple chant to get any kids be it young or old warmed up. It’s probably not within curriculum guidelines, it’s not profound but it it involves all the factors; it’s simple, it can be creative, it gets participation going quickly and anyone can do it.

But now, it’s time to tell me what you think. What five minute fillers do you use with your classes already? What tips and strategies do you use to get even the most tired and un- co operative classes fired up for their lesson or rehearsal. Others can learn from your methods, so share below!

Fun in Music Lessons

2 Comments

  • By Elan Chalford Reply

    With my Suncoast Waldorf violin students, I often use some ear training for five minutes. I use my violin and play intervals, asking same or different, higher or lower, major or minor…All depends on how much they are getting.

    Their favorite five minutes is when I play a tune, usually a hoedown or a jig!

  • By joy Reply

    My classes like to play a challeing opposite echo game. Whatever I chant to them, they must chant back using the opposite words. If I say “no,no yes-yes-yes”, they say “yes,yes no-no-no”. Keep mixing up the words and rhythms. You could also use hot vs cold, colors, seasons, dynamics, left vs right.

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