Let’s have a look at some effective music teaching strategies, that anyone can implement quickly. The beauty of teaching music in a primary setting is that as the teacher, you don’t have to be a virtuoso musician to lead an inspiring lesson. All you need is the confidence to show the children what you want them to do, and be confident enough to look like you’re having fun doing it! The main aim of primary school music is to create an exciting atmosphere, where the children are having so much fun they don’t realise they’re learning along the way. Teach them a tiny bit at a time, and I believe anyone can effectively draw children into the joy of learning music.
Start with musical games.
Ha! Is a great game I learnt from BBC’s bring the noise. It involves all children stood in a circle looking at you. The game aims to get everyone to say HA at the same time. Start by counting to four, and on the four shout HA! Do this a few times and see if the children can always say it together as an ensemble.
Then you can take away the counting and just use your body language to show them when you’re about to say HA. Can they still do it together? The last step is making into a child-led activity, and let some children lead the rest of the group. This is an excellent game for developing a sense of an ensemble, while also teaching rhythm.
Teach the beat/pulse.
Effective music teaching strategies should always teach the beat/pulse. The beat or pulse is one of the main fundamentals of music, and once the children have mastered it, it opens them up to the world of music and creating their rhythms on top of this pulse. Put on some music, and get the whole class to clap along! Once they can clap along effectively, try and see if they can mark out the pulse with their entire body, for example flapping their arms or marching.
Call & Response singing.
You can start this one off quickly by singing your favourite song, preferably one the children also know! Sing one line to them, and ask them to copy it back. Once you’ve done this a few times and the children are comfortable, turn into into a child-led activity by passing the leadership baton to one of them, getting them to sing the line that the whole class copies.
Effective music teaching strategies to teach pitch.
Learning about pitches of notes can be fun! Let’s start by finding a simple song you are confident singing in front of the class. Try and make it something straightforward with only a few notes. Mary had a little lamb, might be an excellent example as it only has a few notes in it.
We’re going to use our hands to symbolise the pitch of each note, so for a high note you’d have your hand up, and for a low note, you’d have your hand down by your waist. Think of this as the scale going from high to low. Can you show where each note is on this scale as you sing the song. Do this in front of your class and get them to copy. This could also be fun to do with a parachute if you have one handy—the first step towards children reading music.
Pitches using the floor
Using masking tape, create long lines across the classroom. For example, Mary had a little lamb has four notes in it. So we’re going to lay four lines down on the floor. Can the children jump between these lines as they’re singing the song? If you get them to do it one at a time, while moving from left to right along the lines, this teaches them that we read music from left to right.
The most important thing with teaching music in a primary classroom is to keep it fun. Effective music teaching strategies should make music one of the most engaging subjects, and therefore it can be if you take a bit of time to prepare your lessons beforehand. Try out some of these ideas, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. These mistakes are what will mould you into the empowering music teacher you want to be!
If you are a primary educator and want to learn more about teaching music for primary schools, why not check out our CPD courses? Join the Academy by clicking here, or heading to academy.themusicalme.com. CPD UK accredits our courses to ensure we provide the highest quality materials to reform your music lessons. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0800 7565580.