I want to use music in my classroom. It helps children learn vocabulary, musicality, rhythm, keeping a beat, sequencing, patterning, and it’s fun! However, every song I sing sounds the same because I cannot carry a tune to save my life!
If this scenario is something you can relate to, no need to worry. There are several ways to provide musical experiences to your students regardless of your own musical abilities. First, let someone else do the singing. There is a plethora of children’s music available online and via apps. If you’re old school like me, buy a cheap CD player and look for inexpensive ways to acquire some children’s CDs. Second-hand CD stores, garage sales or checking them out for free from the public library are inexpensive and easy ways to bring some music to your classroom.
If you really want to be the leader, chant the song rather than sing it. You are still teaching rhyme and new vocabulary and you can build in a steady beat or rhythm for children to follow along. Maybe you have a student who has a talent for carrying a tune. Children love to be helpers and leaders. Allow children to have the job of “song leader.” They can choose the song and lead the singing which gets you off the hook and teaches them responsibility and self-confidence.
Playing wordless music is another option. Allowing children to move to the beat of the music in different ways allows for choice, creativity and gross motor development opportunities. Making musical instruments available in the classroom is a great way to provide musical experiences. Children can create their own music or play along with a recorded song. If you do not have musical instruments, do some online research about how children can make their own instruments. From shoe box guitars to paper plate maracas, the ideas are endless.
Finally, you can incorporate literature with music by reading one of the many book versions written for children’s music. Picking songs that children may already know and having them sing or “read” along with the book promotes early literacy skills while capitalizing on the joy of music.
So, no excuses! Whether you should be auditioning for The Voice or The Gong Show, music can be a part of your classroom. The benefits for children are endless and music is proven to make us all feel happier.