Tips to Gain Students’ Attention
Your Music Class
Tips to gain students’ attention was the topic of my last post. The focus was activities for your students to engage them and gain their focus.
In this post the focus is YOU the music teacher; what you can do to gain students’ attention, and keep it!
1. Change the Pace
Change the pace of your lesson by breaking up activities into a variety of small ‘episodes’ or by changing how you present the content.
A good rule of thumb is to change things up every 10 – 12 minutes.
Ways you might do this in your music classroom include:
- Switching mediums by playing a recording or section of a recording. Use Audacity to create small music/sound clips.
- Show a clip from a movie or YouTube.
- Quote or sing a line from a song.
- Every now and then (if you have an instrument handy) end a sentence or question with either of these excerpts:
2. Ask compelling Questions.
Begin your lesson with a question that is a bit quirky or with a trivial fact about a song or musician. A good site to find such information/facts is www.songfacts.com
3. Use Physical Objects Relevant to the Content.
As music teachers we immediately think ‘instruments’. I have quite the collection of instruments – especially from different countries. But you don’t have to travel the world to collect them. Ask the staff or parents if they have any they would sell or even better, donate. Have your local music store/s keep an eye out for you too. Keep an eye out in your local thrift shops.
I know a history teacher who wore a flapper outfit into her history class when she was introducing the 1920’s. Think about wearing a hat, scarf, jacket, sun glasses or anything that fits the style or era of music you will be introducing/presenting.
4. Introduce a Quick “Energizer“.
We are far more receptive to new information when we are alert. This involves getting students up and out of their seats. It could be as simple as moving the students from one area of your room to another, e.g. to a small group activity, or moving to music, a clapping/rhythm game, or even some form of physical exercises such as touching their toes or star jumps. What ever you are comfortable with doing.
5. Create Visual Interest
Another idea is to create something visually interesting that captures the students attention as soon as they walk into your classroom. This could be a display of instruments or a projected image. The image could be a quote (either musical or inspirational), a line from a song, picture of a musician, music cartoon……. there are so many things you could do with this!
6. Share Personal Stories!
Finally, if you have a personal story that relates to the topic, share it! Students enjoy it when you make the topic/content real for them. As a result, I have found this often leads students into sharing their stories and a good discussion often ensues.
Also, take a look at this post: 35 Ways to Keep Students’ Attention in the Classroom