Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day

Posted by: trillingadventurer

Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 07:00 PM

Hi All,

I am going to be teaching a 6 week music enrichment course for grades K-4th beginning on Monday. I am going to issue them their own conn melody flute (like a recorder) to practice on. They will also be exposed to my digital piano, boomwhackers, djembe drum, cymbals, claves and a glockenspiel. I plan on exposing them to all different genres of music.

I have 12 students officially enrolled and their will be some walk ins as well. I have done this before and am very excited HOWEVER...

through poor planning on my part, the instruments are not going to arrive until TUESDAY. frown

But the first day is sure to be pretty chaotic anyway. We will be meeting outside first and then the principal will guide us all to the space I will get....I will have my digital piano with me.

I was thinking of taking advantage of this problem and using the first day to introduce some very basic musical concepts....without the distraction of all the instruments. I thought I might also use the time to discuss with them the importance of handling the instruments carefully and reminding them to bring their flutes back to class and how the class will only work if they practice....

Perhaps I can play "freeze dance" with them (to teach the concept of rests) and even let some place the piano if their are some more experienced kids in the class.

I might be able to use a white board to draw notes and play a games.

Any other suggestions?

Please don't shame me for not ordering the instruments in time. I have already beat myself up enough. smile
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 07:13 PM

What about teaching them some of the songs they will learn on the instruments by singing them the first day? If there aren't words, maybe make up your own. I think this is a great approach anyways!
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 07:19 PM

My teaching experience is focused in different areas than you are describing, but here are a few of my thoughts:

1) Don't look at the first class as a "throwaway". From your description I get the feeling that you are thinking of just filling time (maybe I'm wrong). Set some specific learning objectives, and the rest of my thoughts are specifics about what those learning objectives might be.

2)Learning objective: clap a rhythm together with accuracy. You could even use the rhythms from one of the first pieces you will be playing on the flutes. You could either draw the rhythm on the whiteboard or teach it by rote, depending on how you are planning to teach the flutes. Some systems use syllables and words to help with rhythms - it can be a good option with young kids.

3)Learning objective: define pitch and recognize pitches as higher or lower. You can use your digital piano to help with this. This would lead into their concept of correct fingerings once they have the flutes.

4)Learning objective: meaningful connection with music. Play a piece on your piano and have them draw on paper what the music makes them think about. You could even play contrasting pieces and see how their drawings differ.

5)Learning objective: describe and recognize different timbres. Use your variety of instruments to demonstrate different timbres and musical sounds. You could have a basic assignment where after talking about the different sounds, you have them listen you play an instrument and then either through group discussion or written assignment describe the timbre. This would require you giving them some basic vocab to describe timbre, such as warm sounding, bright sounding, etc.

Please don't be hard on yourself about your change of plans. Every education endeavor I've done requires some - even if sometimes very minor - changes along the way.

Let us know how it goes!
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 07:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
What about teaching them some of the songs they will learn on the instruments by singing them the first day? If there aren't words, maybe make up your own. I think this is a great approach anyways!


Yes I agree. Another good option - singing is a good, foundational activity for music learning. Just keep in mind their attention span is short at those ages.
Posted by: trillingadventurer

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 07:33 PM

I am starting to think this is actually a good idea to wait on the flutes anyway. Especially since I have no idea how many kids will be there...

I love the idea of exposing them to the pieces they will be learning. And singing of course.

Perhaps I can play a musical theory game using the white board....

Music Passion, wow...great suggestions! Thanks! Yes, it's not a "throw away" lesson. You are correct!
Posted by: currawong

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 08:58 PM

Are you going to be having 5 year-olds and 9 year-olds in the same class? There are lots of things to do with 9s that 5s wouldn't generally manage, and things you'd do with 5s that 9s might scorn.
Posted by: trillingadventurer

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/12/13 11:57 PM

Yes, the mixed age group is going to be a new experience for me...another reason I am glad about issuing instruments the following week. I will get a good feeling for the group dynamic on day 1.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/13/13 12:18 AM

DON'T teach on the first day. That's the easiest mistake to make.

The first day is for you to introduce yourself, and for the kids to get to know each other. Find out what kind of music they like and what artists they listen to. It's also the day for you to set up a routine so you won't run into chaos later. Not that a class of 12 kids will be chaotic, but you never know. You might have 12 angels or 12 brats. It's common for these enrichment classes to be pull-out programs for the more advanced kids (i.e., bored out of their minds in their regular classes), so you should have a really good time.
Posted by: trillingadventurer

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/13/13 01:06 AM

This forum gives me such a piece of mind. You are all right. The first day is about setting the tone. Not diving into a bunch of chaotic activities right away. I struggle to sometimes keep things simple when I work with groups. This is a good reminder.
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/14/13 01:55 AM

Originally Posted By: trillingadventurer
I am starting to think this is actually a good idea to wait on the flutes anyway. Especially since I have no idea how many kids will be there...

I love the idea of exposing them to the pieces they will be learning. And singing of course.

Perhaps I can play a musical theory game using the white board....

Music Passion, wow...great suggestions! Thanks! Yes, it's not a "throw away" lesson. You are correct!


Thanks.

Some "getting to know you" is also a good idea. I agree with that.

However I think there should be teaching on the first day. For me as an educator, it helps build the routine and the expectations that we are going to be learning. Also, with a six week course you have a fairly limited amount of time with the students.

Best wishes!
Posted by: trillingadventurer

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/29/13 11:14 AM

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your support. I had my first two classes and I am relieved to get those out of the way. One class has 10 kids with an age range of K-3. The other has 20 kids with an age range of K-7th grade. Tomorrow I will have the 20 kid group. And there will be a high school student there to help me.

I need to plan carefully and keep things moving quickly with both groups.
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Fun Music Class Suggestions for First Day - 01/29/13 02:34 PM

Thanks for the update - I hope it continues to go well.