Teach it Tuesday: Music Lesson

I spent my day in a music class today and had a great time with the kids. Sometimes the best part of subbing in a prep job is that you get to try one lesson over and over again!music-notes

By the end of the day I felt like I had mastered my “Body Percussion” lesson with the intermediate students. I am not a trained music teacher by any means, nor do I have a lot of experience teaching music. I do, however, have a lot of fun teaching music the odd time I am given a chance! Here is the lesson for you to try (let me know how it goes!):

Body Percussion:

1. Discussion (5 min) – Talk about what percussion instruments are and how we play them. Generate examples of ways that we can create different percussion sounds using our bodies (stomping, clapping, etc.). Explain the challenge for the class is to (in small groups of 3-5) create a body percussion rhythm that represents a couple of lines from a well known song. I give two examples at this point – We Will Rock You and ABC’s/Twinkle Twinkle. Then discuss why “We Will Rock You” is so easy to recognize and suggest that they choose similar songs with strong beats when they do their own. I also mention how we can use the height of our body percussion to represent the pitch of the song (e.g. a clap over our head would be higher pitch then a foot stomp or knee slap).

2. Creation (20 min) – In groups of 3-5 have students choose a song and create a body percussion rhythm (no humming or lyrics) for about two lines of the song. Remind them that they need to be in sync for it to sound right and they will need to practice. Make sure students know that their first job is to decide on a song and that part needs to be done relatively quickly (rock paper scissors or take a vote if necessary), and then they need to create their body percussion to perform. During this time I make sure that I’m visiting each group to make sure they are on task and working well together. I will help get them started on a rhythm when necessary but try to leave this up to them.

3. Performance (15 min) – After the groups are ready we get back together as a group and each group gets a chance to perform their sequence. We then take three guess (charades style) on what the song might be. Most of them are pretty difficult to guess but they sure have fun guessing! After three guesses the group tells us what their song was and does their sequence one more time with singing or humming to show how it goes.

We had a lot of fun today with the body percussion and it was cool to see what the kids came up with. Let me know if you ever give this lesson a try and how it goes!


3 thoughts on “Teach it Tuesday: Music Lesson

  1. I’m curious as to what city you teach in? I used to be a music teacher in philadelphia and they always called me a “prep” teacher and my class a “prep” class. Where I’m from, students or teachers NEVER refer to me as a prep teacher or my job as a prep job. I used to take great offense to it, but realize now that some cities just have different titles. Also, some cities value their specialist classes more than others. Here I’m called a specialist and the students know that music is a serious class where they receive a grade and must accomplish the day’s objectives. I was taken aback when you referred to the job as a “prep” job because it reminded me of my days in Philly.

    • We are in Victoria, BC, Canada. As far as I know from the teachers point of view these positions are often called “prep” jobs to explain that you will have many different classes. Some schools choose music for their prep teacher, some choose phys ed or computers. I haven’t come across a situation where the students call it a prep though? They all seem to know they are going to music and its a “real” class. (Our middle schools and high schools don’t follow this system either just elementary)

    • Hi there!
      Meaghan and I (Karley) both teacher in Victoria, BC (Canada). I worked as a music teacher and as a dance teacher last year (both specialist positions). In our district classes such as music, dance, drama, foods, woodworks, etc. are all considered specialist classes that require specialist/certified teachers. Last year I was referred to as “the dance teacher” or “the music teacher” and very occasionally as “a prep teacher”. I think many teachers called music/dance etc. teachers “prep teachers” simply because that’s when their prep block takes place. I know what you mean when you say these so-called “prep” teaching jobs are so much more than “prep” blocks, though. Students need these specialist classes and most students truly look forward to special opportunities they’re given. As a specialist dance/music teacher I know that I’ve experienced amazing kinds of learning in students that the standard classroom teacher has not/will not experience in their classroom.

      I’m speaking on Meaghan’s behalf here, but I know her well enough to ensure you that her use of the term “prep” was not meant to offend. In my opinion, the term “prep” is used loosely among teachers and school staff; perhaps we all need to be a bit more mindful of the term in general.

      Thanks for your comment and for opening up this topic for discussion šŸ™‚

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