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Classroom management is so important. Without classroom management, no one learns anything. These are a few phrases for classroom management in the music room.
Everyone develops different phrases to keep their class running. These are the phrases that keep me grounded. They keep my classes running. They keep my students (mostly) in line. I hope that some of these phrases for classroom management help keep your class running smoothly too!
If you play before I say, I will take your instrument away
I found this one on Mrs. King’s Music Class and it changed my life! I use it with every class kindergarten through 5th grade. And I am serious. The first time I hear a noise, they have to put their instrument away.
It has really helped. At the beginning of the year, it was rough. I would have half of the students sitting out.
Now that it is the end of January, the students are finally getting it! We did instruments this week and only a handful in the whole school had to put their instruments away.
Thank you so much for the idea! Check out the rest of the article here for good information.
Put your hands on your shoulders
This goes directly with “If you play before I saw, I will take your instrument away”. I use this mostly with the younger kids. I tell them to get their supplies, sit down, and put their hands on their shoulders.
I find that having a specific thing to do with their hands rather than just “don’t touch it!” You could do hands in lap or folded or whatever, just the more specific the better.
With classes I trust more, I change the phrase to “Don’t touch them. A good thing to do would be to put your hands in your lap or on your shoulders so you do not have an issue.” The older students seem to respond to the options.
Regardless, give them something to do instead of something not to do.
Also read: Music Lesson Ideas: Opera
Think it in your head
This is a life saver! As soon as we started working on rhythms, it was a mess. I would hold a rhythm and immediately they are trying to figure it out. Which is good, because they are thinking about it. But not good because it was loud.
So we started “Think it in your head.” I will have the younger students point to their heads to remind them to think the rhythm in their head. I always say I should not hear noise if you are thinking it in your head.
And again, that is from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Not only is there less noise, but they actually pay attention to the what they rhythm is so they know the rhythm when we all read it together.
Also read: Free Music Lesson: Bizet Scarf Routine
I’m looking for….
I’m looking for people sitting criss cross applesauce.
I’m looking for people with their instruments on the floor and hands on their shoulders.
I’m looking for people in a straight quiet line.
Whatever you are looking for. I say one of those phrases, and then I look around pointing at whoever has what I am looking for and say “Good.”
Once the good’s start going around everyone else starts falling into line. Sometimes literally.
Show me don’t tell me
I love to have students show me answers. We learn hand signs for the first few letters of the alphabet. We use fingers to show how many beats a rhythm gets. We use thumbs up/thumbs down for yes or no questions.
These are all really great, but as soon as you ask a question, students’ first reaction is to yell out the answer.
So I started the “show me, don’t tell me”.
I use it with questions, with form, with opinions, even when I help with small groups in the afternoon in third grade (Yes, that is a thing. And no, you probably don’t want the music teacher helping with 3rd grade math and reading.)
This is also one of my go-to phrases for when I want the class to behave. I like to hold games and instruments for the end of the class so that I can hold it over their heads.
That sounds bad. But we all do it.
So I’ll use phrases like “Show me you can play the instruments” or “Show me you can handle a game”.
Also read: The Best Classroom Purchase Ever!
If you can hear my voice, clap once
This is one of my phrases for getting the class to quiet down. “If you can hear my voice, clap once. If you can hear my voice, clap twice.” And so forth.
I also like to do this when I’ve got a class lined up and their teacher is not there yet. I start with “If you can hear my voice, touch your shoulders. If you can hear my voice, touch your head.” And I keep going. Then I stop talking, and just have them mirror me. They particularly like it when I change my actions really quickly. And then I try to trick them. And they think it is wonderful.
Here are some books in case you want to read some more. Click on the pictures to see more:
So those are my favorite phrases for classroom management! What phrases do you use? How do you keep your class in line? Let us know in the comments!