In the previous post we talked about different music activities at the beginning of the school year. This is a continuation, or somewhat same as we are talking about just the first activity- creating a story through music. Making a musical story to introduce yourself or the rest of the students in class is a GREAT idea to start a class at the beginning of the school year or to use as one of your activities at the beginning of the year!
Students are very excited to know who their teacher will be. They want to know who the teacher is as a person. This activity will help you break the ice, develop a connection with the students, and connect the introductions to music. You can also use the activity to introduce yourself, and give the students an overview of the things they would be learning through this activity. It will also take the boredom out of the first class when the teacher would naturally talk more.
Creating a musical story and using it to guide students in a music class to get to know their teacher and their curriculum is a great way to start the music school year! Think about the most important things you want to teach this particular group of kids. That could be care about the instruments, singing, elementary instruments, different music genres, etc. Then think about your own path as a musician. Then, combine the two by creating a short introductory “story followed by music”.
This activity can become a favorite with elementary and middle school students.
As I am an orchestra director, I use my violin for this introduction. In a more general music classroom you can use recordings as well.
I tell the students my name and I explain to them that I have started playing the violin since I was five.
I play some of the beginning violin pieces such as Twinkle or Lightly Row
I tell them that I am from Bulgaria. I talk very briefly that the music there is very different.
I play a short folk song.
I tell them that I love to play different types of music and that the string instruments can produce many types of different sounds.
I play very short bits of Country Fiddle. “Halloween Special Effects, Jazz, etc.
I tell them how much fun I am having as a music teacher and how much fun they would be having during the year.
I play (myself or recordings) of some of the pieces that they will get to perform.
You can also break up the activity by playing one part of it, talking to students about one of their parents letters, playing the second part, then talking about classroom rules, etc. This will also take away from the boredom of you having to lecture the whole class and it will keep the students engaged.
Elementary or Beg Instrumental Music Classroom
This could be a great activity to turn into an unit at a later point. This little introduction can become the start of students exploring their own background, linking it to music, and sharing with the class. Creating their own “musical heritage story” can take on many different forms and it can be linked to many other subjects such as History and Language Arts. If you are looking for an easy way to connect common core standards in a music classroom, here you go! This can be a very effective game you play with your students. The possibilities to be creative with it are endless. You can use many of the Suzuki repertoire in order to have your students “tell” their story through music. For example, a student in the upper books may research the origin of the pieces and try to connect them to their own nationality/cultural heritage. A student in Bk may use different pieces to portray who they are. For example Perpetual Motion may be used to show a lively personality, etc.
This is a simple idea that can be as elaborate or as easy as you feel you need to keep the students’ interest. After I do it, the students have LOTS of questions and impressions. It is easy to take most of the class time on this one activity. If I need the time to go through other things, then I would keep it very short, but I may come back to it at a later point and ask students about their own heritage.