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How to Incorporate Music Into The Elementary Classroom

Jessica shares different ways you can incorporate music into your elementary classroom and includes her suggestions for how to collaborate across the curriculum, so music is integrated into other subjects.

student listening to music

As an elementary teacher, it can be overwhelming trying to include music on top of the rest of your curriculum. Even if you have a music teacher at your school, you may be wondering how to incorporate music in the elementary classroom. If so, I want to share some helpful tips that have helped so many other classroom teachers.

Use music during transition time

As you're transitioning from one activity to another, play some music. Just like when you go over any other procedure in your classroom, you'll teach the students the procedure for transitions. When the music stops, students need to be at their next activity or work station.

Transitions can include lining up, cleaning up, carpet time, going from math to reading, or anything else that happens during the school day in your classroom. When you play music during transitions, students may sing along or even walk to the beat.

Integrate music into other subjects

In your classroom, you can integrate music into math, reading, science, and social studies. You may feel a little awkward at first including music into the subjects you’re used to teaching. Just like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable it will become to you. You don't need to be musical to use music in your classroom either!

The awesome thing is, kids retain what they're learning so much better if it's reinforced with music. For example, in math, you could have students work on their multiplication facts by rapping. In writing, students can write about their favorite music.

Let your students get their wiggles out

Let's be honest for a second. Sitting in a chair all day doing work gets tiring. Students want to stand up and move. They probably have an allotted time to go to music or P.E., but that's simply not enough. Kids are wiggly by nature and letting them have time throughout the day to get their wiggles out will help them focus better when it's time to work.

Some awesome ideas are to turn on a Kidz Bop station on Pandora, play songs from GoNoodle on your Smartboard, or even find a YouTube video for the kids to dance along to. Guess what else? You can move right along with them. I can already hear you now, "but I'm not a good dancer." Your students don't care. They would love to see that different side of you that they normally only see from their music teacher.

"Letting your students sit still and quietly listen to music really helps relax them."

Let students listen to music

Obviously, your students are listening to music while they're actively engaged in learning. But, what I mean by let them listen to music is to use it during quiet time. There are times when you'll want your students to read quietly. Or, maybe it's an inside recess day (we all know what that means) and the energy level is through the roof. Letting your students sit still and quietly listen to music really helps relax them.

Another way to let students listen to music is to play different musical genres. Maybe once a week on a Friday, play one song at the end of the day. Have a discussion with them about what type of music they're listening to, what instruments they hear, and what they like or dislike about this style of music. To make it even more fun, bring in music from your favorite artists or musicians. That's a great way for your students to connect with and get to know you even better.

Help out the music teacher

If you have extra time at the end of your day, another thing you can do is to help out the music teacher. If your students are working on a program, ask her for a copy of the CD of the songs they're working on. Even if you're not musical, push play and have the students sing along. With music, repetition is key. The more students hear a song, or even sing along to it, the easier it is to memorize it.

Ask your music teacher for help

Along with helping out the music teacher, have the music teacher give you ideas. The music teacher at your school has so many great ideas for including music in your classroom and will be so excited to offer up some help. I remember a particular 3rd-grade class that needed help with writing. During music class, we wrote about the music we heard. Then, in their classroom their teacher had them write with even more detail. By the end of the year, some of those students who were struggling with writing ended up being able to develop their own ideas and had improved penmanship.

Here are some additional resources for how to incorporate music into your classroom: Mathematics in Music, The Music Mouse, Music Printables, and Mozart: Mathematics in Music.

Do you incorporate music into your classroom? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Author Bio

Jessica Peresta is passionate about providing other music teachers, especially those right out of college or new to teaching elementary music, with the music education resources, lesson plans, teacher training, and community you've been looking for. She believes your domestic life outside of school should be spent soaking up time with family and friends and your music teacher life while at school should not leave you feeling defeated, but should be a joyful, exciting, and rewarding experience. To find out more about Jessica and her passion, head to www.thedomesticmusician.com.

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