Four Music Teaching Ideas

Four Great music teaching ideas Step-by-Step

Music Teaching ideas shape our classroom experiences. They impact rapport, engagement, and behavior. Retention rates are influenced too.

Teachers crave amazing, GREAT music teaching ideas. They engage and motivate our students.

Want the great NEWS? There’s no genius required. You don’t need to have expert skills in music. You don’t even need to be a musician!

Finding GREAT ideas are ESSENTIAL for effective teaching.

But where do you start searching for music teaching ideas?

There are pros and cons!

Option 1: Use music teaching ideas that have worked for you before

Take one of your own ideas and build upon and expand it. But the question is : Where do you start? What ideas do you start with?

Option 2: Explore training and conferences

These opportunities can give great experiences. However, traditional in-person training can be expensive.

Option 3: Learn from other teachers’ online.

Today the internet gives us a wonderful gift. It allows us to connect with others doing the same job that wasn’t possible a generation ago.

We can connect through social media, through blogs, and through online communities. We can post and ask for ideas, and we can read through others’ suggestions.

The problem with that? We can drown in so much information, yet starve for ideas that WORK!

Where can you find outstanding music teaching ideas?

Hi, my name is Janice Tuck, and I’m a music teacher just like you. I’m also an author, speaker and co-owner of the Fun Music Company.

I’ve taught in every type of school from private and public, through to special needs. I have done private instrumental, classroom and preschool classes. I’ve taught young children and at secondary school.  So, in music teaching I’ve seen a LOT!

I created the Fun Music company to serve music teachers with outstanding teaching materials. Materials that are easily accessible and fun for students.

Janice Tuck creator of the music curriculum program

What makes GREAT Music Teaching ideas?

Today, I’m sharing my 4 work-every time music teaching ideas. These are the BEST ideas that grab my class’s attention.

GREAT music teaching ideas are those that:

  • Keep students engaged, even if they show little interest in music.

  • Are easy to communicate

  • Get children to behave, especially in those upper grades.

  • Encourage children to sing and retain songs.

  • Allow students to take on new and more complex information.

  • Keep music relevant and fun!

Using these strategies will shift your own passion for teaching. It will allow you to create lasting impact with your students.

Four GREAT music teaching ideas.

Idea #1 : Poison Rhythm Game

Grab attention and get them focussed and engaged with this fun game!

This is a simple, effective and fun rhythm listening game! It will get any class or group focused and listening in less than a minute. In the game children have to listen and echo rhythms that the teacher claps. However, not if the teacher claps the “poison” rhythm:

Music Teaching Idea poison rhythm - don't play rhythm.

Everyone has seen a teacher clap a rhythm to get attention. It isn’t difficult to clap a rhythm and have a group of children echo.

The teacher can use any rhythms, depending on their experience teaching music.

Begin by randomly clapping rhythms like the examples below. Then clap the poison rhythm. If they copy it – they’re out!

Music teaching ideas sample rhythms for poison rhythm

They will also be out if they don’t play one that wasn’t the poison rhythm.

Children will get good at this quite quickly. You may wish to make it more difficult by varying the dynamics (volume) and the tempo (speed). This will make it more difficult to spot the poison rhythm.

See the music teaching idea played on video:

Want a done-for-you solution?

There are many variations of this game in the Fun Music Company curriculum. We have chosen suitable patterns for each grade, and even provided suitably paced backing tracks and recordings. Therefore, you don’t even need to think up the patterns yourself!

Idea #2: SQUILT Listening

Stereo listening music teaching idea

Set up time in each lesson for Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time.

Listening time. This is something that isn’t done enough. Yet, it can be one of the most powerful things we can do in music education!

We don’t recommend sitting your children down and pressing the play button on a long requiem or symphony! Expecting them to sit there and “appreciate” the music is madness. That just isn’t going to happen!

Music listening idea squilt worksheet

Instead, try this idea. In the middle of a lesson, put some music on in the background. You can use youtube or any other music source. Then have the children draw along or write with it playing in the background. We call this learning by exposure to music. You can use all kinds of music from different eras, cultures and genres.

Children will get used to hearing music while they study and work. Then, they will start asking questions about the music. Then give them a SQUILT listening journal page. They can then answer age-appropriate questions based on the music.

Then, use open and closed questioning techniques to further pique their curiosity.

If possible, we recommend using specifically crafted questions and activities for each piece of music. This is obviously very time-consuming to create yourself. That is why we have extended this area into CONNECT in our full K-6 music curriculum.

Idea #3: The Musical Pizza

Drive knowledge about rhythm using this fun music teaching idea

musical pizza music teaching idea

A pizza is something most of your students will be familiar with. Therefore, it becomes a great metaphor for making a “musical pizza!”

This is called word association and most music teachers will be familiar with it. The idea is that students associate familiar words with rhythm patterns.

What is great about a pizza as a source for word association?

It has toppings!

We can use the metaphor of a pizza to build a musical composition. This can encourage creativity and teach rhythm skill development at the same time.

You can do this as a warm-up while standing in a circle, or you can do it sitting on the floor.

Begin by clapping, or stamping the beat strongly saying “base”. Then, try clapping and saying some other “toppings” listed here:

Students can then make up their own four-beat rhythm, and the class can copy their rhythms.

Pizza Rhythms Music Teaching Idea

Watch the music teaching idea on video:

Idea #4: Classroom Tic-Tac-Toe

musical pizza music teaching idea

Build retention of music theory concepts with this music teaching idea.

Want to know one of the BIGGEST secrets to getting children excited about music? Just mention the word GAME and you’ll see the instant excitement in their faces!

When we first stumbled across this music teaching secret we thought it was just a simplistic game. However, what we found is that games such as this one encourage students to actively learn.

A game like this is an active learning strategy.

One of the biggest benefits of active learning is that they think they’re just playing a game! However, they’re actually learning! They are developing real musical reading skills and knowledge. This knowledge can be used later for performing and creating music.

And that’s why we include active learning strategies throughout the Fun Music Company curriculum.

How to play classroom Tic-Tac-Toe:

Step 1: Prepare in advance a set of flashcards. This can be from a music theory or Musicianship topic you are working on. Younger students may use a set of pictures of different musical instruments. Older students might use a set of music theory symbols or musical terms.

Step 2: Draw a classic “tic-tac-toe” grid on a whiteboard. Then, use whiteboard markers or magnets to play the game.

Step 3: Divide the class into two teams. Assign one team to be the “X” team, and one team to be the “O” team.

Step 4: Call a student’s name and show them a flashcard. If they can name the picture or symbol, they earn the right to place an “X” or “O” on the grid for their team. If they don’t know the answer, they lose their turn. Then, give someone from the other team the opportunity to answer.

Step 5: Play continues until a row is completed and the round is complete.

Tip: It is always a good idea to alternate which team gets to go first!

Example music teaching idea flashcards:

See it on video:

Would you like more Music Teaching Ideas like these?

These four, plus five more of our BEST music teaching ideas are included in our completely free Music Lesson Activities ebook. Enter your name and email below and we’ll email it to you right away.

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Want a done-for-you solution?

The Fun Music Company Curriculum includes many more versions these music teaching ideas. Plus it has more of everything you need to build your full music program!

  • A proven system that works.

  • A structured program based on curriculum requirements.

  • Lots of different versions and extensions of these activities.

  • Customization of the activity for each grade level.

We also offer a risk-free trial which means that you can check out our program today. So why not start by requesting a quote for your program today.