One very important thing that every teacher is taught is that you always need to be prepared for every lesson you teach. Of course, that is if you want to end the day in a stress free fashion!
A lesson plan doesn’t have to be complex, and teachers who have been in the game a while can do it almost without thinking, however they always have to be prepared with something ready to do in their lessons.
In our area of music there are a few tips that make elementary classes much more fun, both for the students and the teacher.
1. Mix up the activities
You know the old saying: “Too much of a good thing…” – well in teaching there is never a more true statement! To teach a game or song that the children enjoy over and over again will eventually make them get bored of it, so stop while the going is good and move onto something else!
2.Each segment should be short and to the point
Short 5-10 minute activities are always best, depending on what you are doing of course. In a general music/singing lesson at elementary level you would normally start with a song or two, break it up with some percussion or rhythm work and them move onto another song and maybe a game at the end.
3. Break up the routine with something unexpected!
Keep the students guessing about what might come next in your classes! You should always keep some stability of course, but you may wish to break it up by heading out to the playground for a lesson with some games, or visiting another class to sing them a song. If you do this every now and then and it works for you students might start really loving your classes!
4. Keep them guessing with surprises!
Young children especially love getting a surprise! Get your students inspired by having a reward for the best singer one class, then the most well behaved the next! Having little incentives are a great idea, but if you can mix it up with surprises every now and then it’ll be even more effective.
5. Call it a “game”
You can call just about any activity a “game” and approach it as such, it’ll become much more fun! So if you’re going to do rhythm clapping for example, instead of saying “Let’s do some rhythm work”…. say “Lets play a rhythm game!” with a big smile on your face! You’ll be amazed at the difference one small change to the way you describe it makes!
6.Keep plenty in reserve
Whenever you’re lesson planning make sure that you keep plenty of material in reserve, and always have far more than you need for each lesson. You can always have a bunch of simple music theory worksheets copied and ready if you need them, and learn a couple of songs that you know will work every time.
Your music lesson plans will be much more fun and enjoyable for your students with a couple of these simple ideas.
Kevin Tuck is an experienced music teacher, having taught music both in schools and in his own music school business. Kevin is now editor of music teaching materials for the Fun Music Company.