Let's face it, it is downright difficult at times to be a music teacher. There are inherent generational differences between you and your students, budget cuts from the administration, and constant correspondence with parents to name just a few distractions from what's really at hand: the music. Despite all of that, becoming a music teacher can be one of the most satisfying careers you will ever find. Today we're taking a look at some fun ways to engage your music students so that they can feel the same passion for the music that you do.
1. Utilize Technology. Your students are without a doubt downright obsessed with technology. Whether it's the latest phone or a new game system, you can be sure it's being talked about in your classroom. What better way then to grab their attention than to take a look at some technology in music. Here are two exercises to get you started:
- Show students all of the opportunities for them to interact with music on their iPads, phones, computers, and tablets. Make a list of your favorite apps and programs (ranging from serious to the downright funny) and take a day to have your students play with them. Have your students each pick an app to present and allow each one to be the music teacher for a moment.
- Present your students with some older technology that remains relevant in music today. Bring in your LPs with a record player to show your students how people used to listen to music as well as where things like sampling come from as well as how their favorite DJs perform. It will give them a whole new perspective on the recording history and presentation of music.
2. Bring in Guest Music Teachers. You may be surprised by how many special guests you can find who would be willing to create a lesson for your class. Anyone ranging from artists to instrument-makers, composers, producers, and live music promoters can become amazing music teachers for the day. Be sure to utilize the music community in your area — they will be more than willing to help the cause.
3. Make Time to Jam. Although learning music can be a very structured experience (and for some students it has to be), there should also be some time set aside to jam. Let the students take the reins and see what type of music they are interested in exploring. From songwriting to just plain exploring their instruments, it is important as a music teacher to allow for some spontaneity in the classroom. This will keep students curious and focused, two integral traits for any music class.
*How do you get your students engaged with music on a slow day? Let us know in the comments!