Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Day of School MAKE MUSIC!!!

I often see posts on other teachers blogs about how they "talk" a lot the first day of school. WHY? Why not make MUSIC the first day in the music room and accomplish two goals; learning the rules AND creating some cool sounds? I posted this last year and it was something my kids really loved; I don't do this with all grades but it's a great way to reinforce/review quarter note/eighth note concepts! Here's the original post from last year: So this year I decided to "do" my rules a little differently than in the past. I HATED those simple discussions/creations/posting of the "rules of the music room". AFter all, by the time the kids come to music, they've had rules in their classroom, the library, PE, computer, Spanish, art, Science Lab, and now music. Ick and Ugh! So... with the older students (grades 3 and 4), the first thing we did was a name activity and song, then reviewed rhythms (quarter, eighth, quarter rests) using Artie Almeida's Chair Rhythms- which is so fun! AND then We practiced saying each slide in rhythm and then assigned a body percussion to each; first page/rule/rhythm: Stomp Second: Pat Third: Clap Fourth: Snap Practice each then divide the class into 4 groups; one for each rule. Practice with body percussion, layer in parts, groups join after 4 beats of the previous rhythm/rule, add conducted dynamics, breaks, whatever.. my classes had a blast!! Transfer body percussion to UPP: stomp= African drums, Pat= woods, Clap= Metals, Snap= shakers. Layer in parts, add dynamics, cresc./dimin., breaks... etc. It was a BLAST and got the kids to remember the rules, play the rules, and make some interesting music together the VERY FIRST day! Not to mention that it took a BIG chunk of the class period which is always satisfying to end up with a "piece" to play at the end of class! Here is the powerpoint:


Enjoy! Oh- and yes, "listener" has 3 syllables but I used 2 quarter notes as I thought that fit best how we speak the word. To separate it correctly seemed strange musically speaking!


  1. Wonderful idea to start the new school year! Can you tell me more about Artie Almeida's Chair Rhythms? Is it from one her books?

    1. It was at one of her workshops. Set four chairs out, next to each other. Explain to students that each chair represents a beat. Place 4 volunteers in chairs. This represents quarter notes, students "read" rhythm; I tap the air over each student as they "read" ta, ta, ta, ta. Ask for 5 volunteers and let them problem solve how to sit in chairs (two students have to share one chair and this becomes eighth notes). Read this rhythm, then move the eighth notes to different places by moving the students around. Continue asking for more volunteers until you have all eighth notes, then ask 2 student to sit down, leaving one chair empty. Explain rests, read various rhythms, moving students around to create new rhythms. Ask for more volunteers; 3 this time. Have one student sit in a chair and whisper in his/her ear to swing legs up onto the chair next to him/her so that bottom is in the chair and both legs are on the chair next to him/her, thus covering TWO beats of sound. Read the new rhythm, then ask one student to sit down, the student who was the half note should now lay down to cover 3 chairs; dotted half note, read this rhythm, then have the one remaining "quarter note student" sit down and have the remaining student lay with hands over his/her head so they are covering all 4 chairs/beats; whole note. The students love this and it's a great way to review notes and let everyone be involved in the creation of the rhythms. Have fun! :)

  2. I totally believe in this. I sing hello songs chant the rules and play name games...As little talking as possible.