I just got a job teaching music for grades K-6. I will have a different grade level everyday and they will come to me in groups with each lesson lasting approximately 45 minutes. I will see each group approximately 15 times over the course of the year. Though some lecture will be necessary to introduce concepts, the principal doesn't want allot of lecture but would like them "actively engaged". She wants them participating. I will be making up the lesson plans without much more than these guidelines. When I interviewed, I brought my ukelele along and she really liked that. She likes the idea of them singing and moving to the music.
These are the materials I have at my disposal from the school right now: The sixth graders have recorders that just came in. So they will be able to use those. There is a cd player, assorted CD's, a box of percussion instruments and some "tubes that make various sounds.
I also have my own portable composition and recording computer that has DAW software, soft synths (including GPO ) , songwriting software. I have a keyboard and microphones that go with that.
I thought that this would be the best place to post since there is allot of focus on music education here. Would any of you musicians and educators have any suggested lesson plans, resources, and/or pearls of wisdom you would like to share with me? I appreciate any responses.
Teaching is one of the most important jobs. What you impart to these young learners could shape their lives and last a lifetime. You may be the spark for these young people into the world of music.
There are terrific music education conferences in many states where music teachers get together and exchange ideas. And we have a number of music educators here on the forum who can offer some insight.
Having had experience as a kid in a music class all through grade school and then having worked with elementary musicians a bit, I hope you can consider me knowledgeable and experienced enough to give a bit of advice.
Here's what I remember
One of the first things we did was learn the staves (every good boy deserves fudge) and note values.
Counting and clapping rhythms was big. Hated, but big. (And in retrospect, important)
I also remember doing a lot of work from 'music" textbooks. We'd sing songs which were printed in the book along to a cd accompaniment, which sounds similar to what you have planned. This is good since singing is usually fun for kids.
I always remember there being the chapters in the book that I really wish the teacher had used, the ones concerning the different families of the orchestra. I don't think I was alone in wanting to learn about the different instruments either. You could really take advantage of GPO in this regard. I imagine one class period where you talk about the different families and play some "example instruments" would suffice.
Wow what an awesome job, Toonyfish. Kids say the darndest things. Congrats!!
You know what would be cool, if you could arrange a field tip to take them to a symphony. You would need several other teachers to help with a project like that, so all the kids can be herded and kept together as a group, but they would probably go for it, it would be a fun trip. When I was grade school, the nuns at the Catholic school, then later the teachers at public school, would take us all to art museums and to the symphony.
I have always been extremely thankful for that, particularly whenever i worked with hillbillies that thought i was crazy for listening to classical music. I though maybe if the teachers and nuns had not done that, i could have turned out like them.
The best grades to teach Toony! Knock 'em silly with loads of sing along songs! When I taught K - 6 one of their favorite things to do is sing limericks, like "I Went To The Movies Tomorrow" and "Agalina Hagalina".
Good luck and have fun!
I taught K-12 for 36 years.
The best goal is to help the kids enjoy music; respond to music;
and have fun on simple instruments.
1. The more talking you do, the less they will pay attention.
2. Don't judge-encourage.
3. Have a plan for †he cycle(all classes) and teach to the grade
level of understanding for each group.
4. Pick classical music that is impressive.
HOLS† the planets rather than Brahms Symphony, etc.
Nothing wrong with Brahms, but kids respond to the music
of Holst, Resphigi, better than solumn music.
5. Don't use "canned" lesson plans. Teach "good music."
6. Use rhythm band instruments, Orff instruments if available;
make instruments such as maracas, drums, bottles w/water;
stress improvisation in a structured manner.
7. Smile a lot-hide a bad mood.
8. Greet every student and do the same at the end of the
9. Don't let Administration downgrade music in your mind-that's
I taught for a short stint (thanks to budget cuts) and the things I remember being a hit were when I gave the assignments that allowed interaction between the kids. One of the assignments was that they had to create a band together. I put them in small groups and gave them examples of roles each of them could play. Managers, groupies, etc. were also options because some of the kids are too shy to perform. Some of the kids had actual instruments, but some made instruments and lip synced! This is a good "post Spring Break" assignment because you pretty much lose them after that.
The youngsters still like the "Hokey Pokey" "Farmer in the Dell" and love to beat on things. Make lots of oatmeal drums and bean shakers!
I'm not knocking exposing them to as much classical music as you can, but maybe in small doses. Their attention spans are so small! What I accomplished mostly was getting them to identify the sounds of the instruments and then playing classical works and having them identify the solo instruments. "Peter and the Wolf" works great!
Also having them clap out meters was fun because we created some funky rhythms once they got the hang of it.
Sorry to go on about it. I'm sure that there are plenty of great lesson plans. Also, utilize the other faculty members. They can be very supportive!
Send me a private message here and I'll see if I can hook you up with one of my friends. She teaches the K-6 music program at my kid's elementary school. They have one of the best music programs which varies from grade to grade. They start teaching them basics in the lower grades. Around 2nd grade they start playing some percussion instruments including some marimba type instruments with just a few notes on each one. They put on different music shows for each grade level. The 2nd grade show was quite good this past year. I played piano a couple years ago for the 2nd grade show when my son was in the class. They now have 2 music teachers as the school has over 1,000 kids!
The 4th grade show last year expanded the instruments. In 4th grade they also start playing recorders to get prepared for band and orchestra which starts in the 5th grade.