Kindergarten Music Challenges – A few tips for Success

  • Kindergarten Music Lessons are so much fun when you have amazing lesson plans AND you know the tricks for smooth transitions, classroom management and engagement techniques for all (or hopefully at least most!) of the students. I have taught this age group for a very long time and still love to be in the music room with kindergarten and also the Pre-K music classes….well, that is, if I’m prepared with my Music Rhapsody lesson plans, using the “WHAT’S NEEDED” to be sure my set up is ready to go..

    Variety, unpredictable, surprises, flexible..these are words that describe the lessons. Listening and looking for the children’s input, looking for those moments to show a child he has great ideas, she is influencing the music making, we are all music makers.

    Unique cues, both visual and aural cues are used in a way that’s interesting for the students, not just the music teacher talking, talking, explaining, saying directions, talking ABOUT music, blah blah blah…. like they hear from “regular” teachers all day long. The music teacher is something special! We don’t need all this talking in the musical environment we are trying to create. The music teacher uses interesting sounds (tongue clicking, snapping, clapping, etc.) or instruments (tick tock block, cymbals, cowbell, etc) to signal what to do! An article in Music Box, The Young At the Bars (Orff Instruments!), lists the sounds (instruments or body percussion and vocal sounds) that signal putting the mallets down, moving to a different row or area of instruments, when its “free play” opportunities and repeating specific rhythmic or melodic phrases (echos). Singing directions are also much more fun and interesting for a group who hears mostly TALK. I have lots of transition songs (especially check out “Colors Are Gliding” for putting away scarves) in my book, Kids Make Music, Babies Make Music Too!

    In the back of my books, I include suggestions for making lesson visuals. There’s also a category in Music Box called “Teaching Visuals.” I highly recommend printing these out in color on card stock, laminate and use year after year. Showing a visual that’s unexpected or interesting will grab the attention of students who are visual learners and are attracted to visual stimulation. Add to the fun with the homemade puppets or invest in the recommended puppets that are discussed in my books and lesson plans. Using puppets following my suggestions (check out “Lynn Kleiner’s Puppets with a Purpose” on YouTube or in Music Box videos), will guarantee you more participation and focus.

    NO TEACHER SPOT! The teacher moves all over the music room, sitting between the children who were talking, standing next to the child who was gazing out the window, moving towards the child who was pushing, while all along continuing the flow and excitement of the lesson. DO NOT BE PREDICTABLE. Instead of saying what not to do, guide the children to participate in your beautiful lesson that’s full of moving, playing, storytelling, and so much fun!

    If you are new to teaching early childhood (infants – age 8), check out these training opportunities this summer or online anytime. Detailed lesson plans, videos, recordings available too.

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