Teaching Music When You’re Not a Music Teacher

I did not have a very extensive musical education as a student. I could tell you that every Good Boy Deserves Fudge: and FACE are some things to remember when you are reading notes.  I may not have an extensive musical background, but that’s not to say that I can’t teach music:

I truly do appreciate music. I like a variety of melodies and enjoy paying attention to lyrics, instruments, beats and rhythms of songs, and I believe that discussing an appreciation of music can be educational and fun for students and the teacher. From time to time I incorporate this kind of music appreciation into my classroom, and now that I am daily occasionally teaching, I find it an excellent back pocket idea for instances when I am called into teach Music for the day or when I have some time and need to settle an active class.

I found ‘music appreciation’ to be successful with the students that I was teaching, because they like to sing and they can move to the rhythms. Music has also been shown to improve cognition in younger students: http://alumni.news.yorku.ca/2011/10/27/york-study-verbal-iq/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign.  And let’s be honest, it’s fun to just groove out sometimes.

In my planning, I identify a genre of music (e.g., Jazz), read up on its history, instrumentation etc. and after playing some music for the students, we just discuss it. My I phone is very helpful- I can YouTube some music and Google additional information on it and play it for the students.  We talk about how it made us feel and what we liked about it or didn’t like.  Later, we learn to sing the song, we analyze the lyrics and research the genre some more through media literacy (e.g.,  I’ve had the students learn more about Jazz styling by exploring websites like  http://pbskids.org/jazz/join_the_jazz_band.html.)

I hope this gives some beginning teachers some inspiration to make the most out of music instruction, even without a formal background in it. Good luck!


The Author



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  1. Jane Smith says:

    I enjoyed reading your article about music instruction. I was not very comfortable teaching music to my junior students but fortunately had a colleague who was. We teamed up and in the process created a webstie to help us and to help others who feel the same way. it is a site to help teach recorder. We tried to make it so that it would be of use to teachers at all different comfort levels. Here is the link: if you would like to check it out http://portablerecorder.edublogs.org/

  2. Samantha says:

    Thank you for the suggestion, Jane.
    I will keep this in mind when I will have to teach recorder someday, and pass this along to my colleagues!

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