Substitute Lesson ideas – Playing Fun

I came up with this idea so children could experience what it’s like to sing and play instruments in a group.

First I would teach the class a simple song by rote, I use Yellow Submarine by the Beatles but any fun song will do. If you can play basic chords on the piano or guitar to accompany all the better but not mandatory.

Once the class has learned to sing the song I suggest adding drums or percussion would make us sound great.

Next I write 4 quarter notes on the board and explain this is the pulse of the tune that the bass drum plays.
Now I ask if someone can clap this rhythm. The first student to clap correctly comes to the front of the class with me to play this rhythm on a hand drum or whatever you can use to sound like a bass drum.

Next I write a quarter note rest, a quarter note, a quarter note rest, and a quarter note so you would clap on 2 and 4 like a snare drum would do. The first student to perform this correctly comes up to play the tambourine or whatever you can use to sound like a snare drum.

Next I write 8 8th notes to be clapped 1and 2and 3and 4and. The first student to perform this correctly comes up to play the triangle or whatever you can use to sound like a cymbal.

You can add more rhythms and sounds but this would be the basic rock beat sound performed by a drummer.

Now I count off 4 beats and start the 3 drummers for 4 measure and bring in the rest of the class singing the song.

This has worked great for 4th, 5th and 6th graders, everyone participates and has fun.

I have also added improvisation to this plan. In the song Yellow Submarine where it goes “and the band begins to play”. I ask for a volunteer to come up and play 4 measures of whatever they feel on a xylophone, cuzoo, or whatever is available.

I am a substitute in three different towns and this lesson plan has made me famous with the kids.

Submitted by Jack Pearson

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