The most productive place for music in the school curriculum is smack bang in the middle. Music helps pupils concentrate, helps pupils learn, helps pupils remember and most of all helps us all have fun while we are learning at all points in the school day.
Make your register a song or a rap. You could use a backing track from a CD, a computer or an electronic keyboard. When pupils are absent, their space becomes a rest in the music. If you are not formally taking a register with the pupils, a Hello Song at the start of the day will mean that you all start with a smile. Making up songs gives more information on how to get started.
This kind of song need not be restricted to the start of the day. Songs that indicate break times and the end of the school day can give a great shape to your lessons. Why not use a song at the end of the day about what you have studied during the day and what each pupil has achieved.
The power of music to promote focus and relaxation can’t be overstated. Develop your own piece of very calm music using your classroom instruments. This might involve an element of turn-taking so that you do not need to get lots of instruments out. You may want to use a pentatonic scale as the glue to hold this music together. Find out more about pentatonic scales here.
Listening to recorded music can be very calm and create a really positive environment. Maybe some gentle movement or breathing exercises used at the same time would form the basis of a wonderful PE or physiotherapy session.
So much music is written for a particular occasion that there is no reason for us not to join in with the bonanza. Learning Christmas carols is great but how much better to make and record your own. Don’t stick with Christmas of course; any event that is special to anyone will do. Write a new Happy Birthday song as well as singing the usual one.
Self-expression is central to almost any artistic endeavour. Getting close up and personal by writing songs about real situations and feelings can be tremendous – sometimes very tough and sometimes very uplifting.
When you are planning your topic work, place music in the centre of the activity. It could be that you are listening to music associated with the topic or that you use the topic to inspire your own creative work. Whichever way, the music will be a great help in consolidating and integrating ideas.