Top 7 Tips for Building an Engaging Music Curriculum
One of the teacher’s biggest challenges is keeping students engaged (especially in a group setting). Even in a music class, which has stimulation everywhere, students can drift and get occupied with other things. To solve that, you need a curriculum that hooks students and keeps them entertained, while not forgetting to educate and improve their skills.
The following seven tips for creating this type of music curriculum should help with that.
1. Make sure your classes are consistent
Students don’t like repetition, but they do like structure. Once you’ve established a routine, you have more freedom to get creative within the framework you’ve created.
Often this comes by setting an introductory activity, a “warm up exercise”. Maybe you can play a few songs and have the students guess what you’re playing (turn it into a game!), or have them start by playing a few popular songs they’re already familiar with.
2. Set a tone for the class moving forward
This is similar to establishing routine. It’s important to determine a sort of tone for the class – this can help keep things efficient. Some tips are: creating a seating chart, deciding whether you want an upbeat or relaxing class, etc.
3. Give students a voice
One reason students ‘check out’ is because they don’t feel involved. Though you are making the curriculum, you can work in ways to have students “vote”, or have a say, in what they’ll be playing. For example, plan for a few songs they could learn, and have them collectively choose which one to move forward with. They will find the lessons much more meaningful if they felt they had a choice in it.
4. Weave in technology
It’s a digital world. The more you can incorporate technology into your curriculum, the more of a connection you can build with your students. There are plenty of options, like these music apps, that can enhance the level of learning.
5. Hop on social media
Building off our last point, you can even use social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to create more of a community in your classroom. Teachers use these for sharing bands and artists with students, promoting certain pieces of content and posting announcements. It’s also a great way for your students to ask questions without feeling embarrassed.
6. Work off a methodology
There are many to choose from. What we’re really recommending is to have a learning process for teaching specific pieces. For example, some instructors will begin by teaching a student away from the music, so they can have the sound of the song before seeing the notes. Then you can give out the sheet and have them identify what they just played. Finish by playing the music on a track, having the students follow on the music sheet as they listen.
7. Include games and have fun!
We save the most important tip for last: if your students aren’t having fun, they aren’t going to learn. You can do team exercises, giving points away (for rewarding techniques and such), or even doing exercises like having a student act as the teacher for the class (you’d be surprised at how much they love this, as well as how educational it can be).
At Harmony Road Music, we are always looking for talented instructors to join our team. You can have flexibility with your curriculum, as well as learn from professionals who have been doing this for decades.
Just remember, you’re the key to unlocking a student’s greatest potential!