How to Have a Howling Good Time in Music Class

How to Have a Howling Good Time in Music Class


How can you have a howling good time in music class? I’ve got some fun ideas for you to use that won’t require tons of preparation. Just be prepared for some Howling Good Times! Not that I want my students howling, but I do want them to have a good time in music class. That requires a bit of vision on my part.


At the beginning of October I will present the Halloween songs and chants from my curriculum. One thing that I like to do for Halloween music lessons is to have my  students learn a whole bunch of songs and chants and then during the week of  October and then I have them perform them for each other on the little stage in my classroom. You could have them perform in a circle or just in the front of the room.  You can read about my curriculum in this post: “Halloween Music Class Tricks or Treats?”  Students love to perform their creations. It’s a nice activity for the week of Halloween when spirits are high and teachers are sick of candy corn and chocolate- maybe?


Creative movement activities are perfect for Halloween lessons. I use a variety of activities paired with thematic lessons. Scarves are wonderful to use this time of year. I ask my students to show me how the music sounds to them by using their scarf to express what they see and feel.  This activity correlates with national standards that ask to Identify ideas and emotions that are expressed through music and other disciplines. I will have the students sit for a while, then stand and then sit to keep the wiggles out and keep them calm too. Sometimes I will have them work in small groups and create a story with their scarves that matches the music, then they get up and move.  These can be wonderful lessons for expression and showing how music and mood work together.

I make a video of the movement activity using my music collection. I just use Windows Movie Maker which is a free program for PC.

Here are the basic steps to making a movie.

I put all of the slides into the movie file. I then create a beginning title and a “Rest” or “Freeze” title (if it’s not already made as part of the activity.)

I then sequence the slides so that there is a nice flow to the activity and give the students different movements. For example; I’ll have them “jump” and then do clapping, or stretching so that they don’t get too tired.

Then add in transitions. I choose the same transition for the entire project. (This saves me time!)

Next I set each slide to play for about 15-20 seconds.

Then I add in each song. If the song is really long, I will shorten it and fade out.

Some music, song and piece selections I’ve used are:

Hector Berlioz- Symphonie Fantastique- Movements 4 and 5 (March to the Scaffold and Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath)

John Carpenter- “Halloween”

Frederic Chopin- Funeral March

Michael Jackson- “Thriller”

Camille Saint-Saens- “Danse Macabre”

Franz Schubert- “Der Erlkonig”Stephen Sondheim- “Sweeney Todd”
Lindsey Stirling- “Moon Trance”

Andrew Lloyd Webber- “Phantom of the Opera”

John Williams- “Jaws and Harry Potter”

Edvard Grieg “Peer Gynt Suite: In the Hall of the Mountain King”

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor


Students love to sing a long to YouTube videos. You can make a playlist and have them sit and sing for part of the class. Over at “O For Tuna Orff”, there’s some great ideas on Singing like a monster. “I love Halloween songs and music, but I’m always looking for ways to encourage solo singing. ” Check it out here: HALLOWEEN SINGING ACTIVITY   Sing Like a Monster is a blog post all about encouraging students to sing a solo. This activity really helps keep their energy focused and gives them a chance to shine. I do Music movement activities in between the little performances.

Dem Bones

Old Mother Witch Game Song

10 Little Monsters

Shake Dem Halloween Bones-Good activity song for Kinder

5 Little Pumpkins

Halloween Song

Cute and Funny Singing Pumpkins in a variety of musical styles

Scary songs by the Learning Station

Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate

Monster Mash

If you’re interested, these are the HALLOWEEN RESOURCES at Sing Play Create.

What’s especially nice about my resources is that you can project them and teach from the pages easily. They are sequenced and ready to use. For most of October we’ll begin class with some “Howling” vocal warm ups using Monster Vocal Explorations.  

One of my very favorites is this fun Rhythm Chant and Game.

“Boo Hoo What are You?” a Rhythm Chant and Game

For part of the class we’ll play our rhythm instruments using this collection of activities.

Halloween Rhythm and Composition Activities with Instruments

This is a big hit in my classroom. I love it because the students have to look at the pictures, pay attention to the rhythms and play an instrument.  They are totally “Howling”!  You can find many of my Halloween resources bundled up for greater savings.

“Witch, Witch, Pumpkin, Black Cat” and Vocal Explorations all in one resource.

If it doesn’t work out to do the performances, then I use my Halloween Brain Breaks activity cards with my Halloween playlist.  Sometimes I have students two times in one week, and so I might pull out some listening activities-especially if students seem to be howling a bit too much!

Fall and Halloween Listening Activities

Most of these lessons are perfect for Kinder-4th grade. BUT! I have included sheet music and orff arrangements in them so that you can have your upper elementary students play Halloween songs.

And Halloween Music class would not be totally Howling good fun if we didn’t sing and play a familiar
favorite, “Skin and Bones”. Whether using the Orff arrangement, learning the
solfege or teaching Em on the guitar, you’ll be able to use the cool video or the power
point to teach. Easy to print PDF files included. K-6 Lesson adaptations
included too.

Skin and Bones

You’ll find this 50+ page resource chock full of easy to use and easily adaptable materials-including a VIDEO-to be a welcome addition to your Halloween music lessons.

There are parts for sop & bass xylophone, wood block, triangle, and guitar. Each part is on a separate sheet with and without note names so that you can print and give to students for small group practice. All sheets are in color and part of the presentation and also in black and white for easy printing.  The guitar teaching pages have the chord and how to strum.

The printable is an adaptable activity for filling in “spooky rhythms”-you can use it with any Halloween Lesson! The complete video is on YouTube for you to use.

Using a video to teach is a great way to keep students engaged. If you have a smartboard, you can control the video from the board. If not, you can use your computer and put a small group of students at it to practice their part while you work with the rest of the class.  The video is divided into sections-singing, Note reading, Orff parts, Solfege and Guitar.  Maximize your student’s learning experience with this innovative tech tool.  If you’re interested, I have a MONTHLY MUSIC CLASS HALLOWEEN BUNDLE of Resources.

Looking for more Halloween Music Class Lessons?  You might enjoy: Halloween Music Class Tricks or Treats?

What are your favorite Halloween Lessons?  Like this post? Please Share!




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