Imagine letting out a satisfied sigh as your last student exits your classroom after an exciting successful and engaging lesson. Now imagine the feeling of absolute dread when your students stare at you blankly as you try to get them engaged in a lesson. The former is the is every teachers dream, and the latter feels like pulling teeth.
The question then is: "Exactly how do you create excitement in the music classroom?"
Here are three ways...
The number one way to get your students excited is to get them moving (within certain preestsblished guidelines). Life Coach Tony Robbins says that "Emotion is created by motion" which means that when your students are moving they are creating the feeling of excitement through that motion. This is because our minds and our bodies are connected and the more motion you can include in your music lessons, the more your students will be engaged.
It seems obvious being a music teacher that music should be a part of your class and that it would create excitement, but it's not simply using music, but how the music is used and what music is used that determines the level of excitement it provides. We all know that music is used in movies to create a variety of emotions from fear to a feeling of triumph, but how often do we use the "Theme Song Approach" during our daily classes? Every music class I have my students repeat a short set of affirmations with a triumphant March style track in the background and before that they stretch to a popular high energy song. This gets them warmed up and primes their minds to experience excitement. Try including a warm-up routine set to music and see if it adds that boost of excitement you are looking for.
There's nothing quite like a little competition. Putting students in groups and giving them tasks can create a rush of excitement as the students strive to win out over the other teams. This turns even the most mundane of daily routines into a game and works with "teacher vs. class activities too. For instance vocal warm-ups become a game if you tell your students to repeat every solfege pattern except "so la mi" or to repeat every rhythm except for the "poison rhythm". Competition puts your students in a present state of mind and causes them to become incredibly focused. Just make sure that no students are made to feel like losers and that you create a culture of sportsmanship in your classroom.
There are many, many other ways to create excitement in your elementary music classroom. Leave a comment below and share how you make learning music exciting!