Have you ever had the dreaded experience of hearing a student say “music is boring”? It’s best not to take these comments personally because many students think that anything that isn’t P.E. or recess is boring, but what if you could use strategies to amp up the level of excitement in you classroom? Here are 5 strategies to blast away the boring!
1.Use More Movement
The human body is made to move, and if you have your students sitting for a majority of your class time then you may have a cause of the boy who cried, “BORING!”
An easy way to incorporate movement is to add choreography to the songs that you sing. Simple movements that go with the words of a song can promote quick memorization and add more of a challenge to students who pick up songs quickly.
Another way to incorporate movement is to add rotations to an activity. I recently did a rhythm activity that I learned from Jim Solomon with my students that involved a quick rotation to a new instrument after every rhythm pattern. This caused them to be much more alert and they picked up all of the rhythms very quickly. Also, no one got bored. I was surprised how many rotations we could do and all of my students were smiling and energized.
2. Use a Piece of Their Culture
The best way to teach an unknown concept is to relate it to a known concept. By learning what dances, songs, and trends are popular with your students, you have instant and potent ammunition to hook them into an activity. I recently was shown a video that was a rhythm activity using the song Hair Up from the movie Trolls. In actuality the song is a Remix using the melody of In The Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.
The relation of the Mountain King to a popular movie creates an instant interest and excitement because the students already have a connection to what you are talking about.
3. Keep Score
Q: When does an activity become a game?
A: When you keep score.
This one is simple. To make an activity more fun, turn it into a game by adding a scoring and competition element. A great example of this is the game So La Mi, also known as poison melody. It is a way to teach students to echo pitch but they will hardly realize that they are learning because they are having fun “playing the game”. An added benefit to this it that the students will pay closer attention because games and competition activate a very present mindset.
4. Try Something New
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got” -Unknown
For some, it can be scary to try new things, for instance, introducing a new instrument (like ukulele or steel drums). Other things may include, changing the layout and arrangement of your classroom for a particular activity or trying a new warm-up routine.
Trying new things in your classroom sparks interest from your students and keeps you on your toes.
5. Let The Students Lead
Students thrive when given responsibility and ownership over certain elements of their classroom experience. This could be as simple as student jobs like recorder washer or ukulele tuner (good luck on that last one) or it could be student run sectionals on a recorder tune your class is learning, but one thing is for sure: students excel when given leadership opportunities.
One of the most notable ways I’ve incorporated this recently is a game I came up with that I call “conductor”. Yes it’s exactly what it sounds like. I teach the students a simple conducting pattern (usually meter in 2) and have them get up in front of the class and conduct while the students play instruments to the pattern the conductor conducts.(Leave a comment if you are interested in the specifics of how to run the game).This game has worked brilliantly and really makes the students pay attention. (Especially when the next student selected is random).
These are just a few you can use to make your classes more exciting and less “boring” and hopefully you will never have to hear those dreaded words again. (But lets be real, they’re kids, of course you’ll hear it again, ha!)
Leave A Comment Below and share how you create excitement in your classroom and blast away the boring!