Did you know that simple routines in your music classroom can knock out a majority of unwanted behaviors? If you don’t have a clearcut routine for most of your lessons, your students walk in not knowing what to expect. Routines also help students transition from activity to activity without feeling insecure. They are able to transition quickly and focus on other things like reading, composing, and listening.
Think about going to the grocery store, what if all the foods were in different aisles every week? Think about your bedtime routine, it’s usually the same every night, and that’s ok! It’s great to have spontaneous moments, but it’s also beneficial to give your students an idea of how your time together will be spent. Ensemble classes like band and chorus may lend themselves more toward a routine. Students know how much time they generally have to set-up, they also know that tuning and warm-ups come before rep. The same can be true for your general music classes. Do this by deleveloping a series of activities. Then plug in old objectives for new ones.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
1. Entering the room: have assigned seats, will students enter with music and/or movement? Pick out a hello song that lends itself to changing with your objective for the day.
2. Roll call. Sing roll or use a chant, just be consistent while also adding new twists as the year progresses.
3. Sing warm-ups. Don’t worry about being boring, children love repetition! Switch it up when you start getting bored, chances are you’ll get tired of the songs before they do. You can start with a simple tune that eventually becomes a round.
4. Review with some fun flashcard games tailored around your objective. You could also use whiteboard or powerpoint games.
5. Teach the new song you have picked out. Maybe on the first lesson, they will only learn the rhythm, and in the next lesson they will learn the melody. Then in their final lesson they will play a circle game with the song.
6. Review something new that you’ve learned with some centers activities or another whole group game. Maybe you will work on a project at the end of class. Taylor to your teaching needs, but be consistent.
7. Exit the same way every class. I’ve used good-bye songs with primary and with the older kids, something as simple as clap 1: stand, clap 2: turn, and clap 3: file out of the room, has worked for me.
Do what works for you, just be consistent! To hear an in-depth conversation on this subject, check out The Elementary Music Teacher’s podcast where I chat with Jessica about my journey in developing a routine!