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Activities For Playing Instruments in Elementary Music Class

Activities for Playing Instruments in Elementary Music Class

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Playing instruments in elementary music class is an integral part of the general music curriculum. Get the activities and ideas in this post.

Do you want your students to play instruments in your elementary classroom but don’t know where to begin?

So, let’s get playing instruments in elementary music class.!

PLAYING INSTRUMENTS IN ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASS

Want to help your students learn the names of the classroom instruments?

Here are some games and activities you can use with the FREE MUSIC CLASS INSTRUMENTS GAME you can get when you SUBSCRIBE to the FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY.

Free Elementary Music Game "I Spy Instruments"

These activities will help your students learn about and play instruments in elementary music class.

And you’ll get some ideas on how to incorporate STATIONS and IMPROVISATION activities into your music curriculum.

Hopefully, playing instruments in elementary music class can become an integral part of your elementary music curriculum and your students experience.

In addition, I’ll share in more detail lesson activities you can do with this Free activity.

  • INTRODUCE INSTRUMENTS
  • ASSESS STUDENT KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE INSTRUMENTS
  • PRACTICE PLAYING THE INSTRUMENTS

Here’s how to incorporate this free resource into your class activities.

These activities will be for your preschool to second grade students.

INTRODUCE INSTRUMENTS

I like to introduce instruments in elementary music class in the 2nd quarter.  I do this because I like to prepare them during the first quarter with patting, clapping and beat activities before getting out instruments.

Then they’ll have opportunities to use the instruments in the fun songs for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Holidays.

Teaching Kindergarten and Preschool music classes?

Here’s some of my tips on how I introduce the instruments to the younger students.

These ideas can be tweaked for your upper grades too.

Here’s an outline of how I introduce drums to Kindergarten classes.

Sometimes I’ll hide the instruments and sometimes they are just on the shelves.

The very first time I have them play instruments I use a script like this:

I spy a …..”instrument description” (GET THIS IN THE FREEBIE).

I begin with drums.

After students guess what instrument it is, I continue to talk about the instrument as I show it to them.

You can add in your own knowledge and preferences of types of drums or sounds..

“This is Mr. Drum and he’s our friend.

Today he wants to play with you.

Would you like to play with Mr. Drum?”

“Yes!”

“Let’s talk about how we should treat Mr. Drum since he’s our friend.

Anyone have some ideas?”

I have a short discussion with the students.

Then, instead of giving them a set of rules, I have drumming and instrument playing activities to show them my expectations for playing instruments.

Here are some activities you can do with the drum to teach your guidelines.

Be nice to Mr. Drum. Tap him gently.

We can pound, slap, pitter patter, pound tap to make the beat and rhythms.

When I hand you the drum, I want you to put it down on the ground.

perhaps have a piece of felt on the floor for students to set the drum on.

Tell students they’ll be taking turns playing the drum.

When they are not playing, their hands are at REST on their knees.

Do each action following the guide below. I don’t rush and we may not even do more than one or two of these in one class time.

POUND

SLAP

PITTER PATTER

 POUND TAP

I find that doing this activity helps them understand that playing instruments requires them to pay attention and follow directions.

Doing the activity this way teaches them to start, stop, listen, echo/copy, play on the beat- all those things through action and not a list of rules.

Depending on the class, I may have them play row by row.

Have them copy you- echo play.

  • Row 1
  • Row 2
  • Row 3
  • Row 4

PLAY THE BEAT WITH PALMS

PLAY WITH FINGERS MAKING A PITTER PATTER SOUND

PLAY PALM TAP

PLAY WITH TAPPING FINGERS

Overall, I’m teaching them how we’ll be playing instruments in elementary music class.

Looking for a fun drumming game for your preschool and kindergarten music classes?

JOHNNY PLAYS THE DRUM BEAT is a fun game to get to know student names.

Check it out in our Sing Play Create Shop

Check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers

PLAYING INSTRUMENTS ACTIVITIES

I think it’s important to give them lots of experience playing the drum in different ways.

If things are going well, I’ll go through each row again, this time using instruments music tracks.

I create a playlist of multi-cultural that music students can easily find the beat.

PLAY OR PRACTICE

You can have them play with music if they are up to that, if not, wait for the next class time.

INTRODUCE INSTRUMENTS

You can use this method with introducing all the classroom instruments.

METHOD FOR ALL GRADES

You can use this method with all grades. Vary your music selections according to grade levels.

Here’s a fun get to know the classroom instruments song you can sing with them as you show them the instruments.

INSTRUMENT SONG FREEBIE- RL LIBRARY FREEBIE

You can play the I SPY a MUSIC CLASS INSTRUMENT GAME to introduce the instruments and then have students play that instrument.

You can play the I Spy game to assess student knowledge of the instrument and how it’s played or what it’s made from. (Metal, Wood, Animal Skins)

As the older students have already been introduced to the instruments, you can use the game to get them reacquainted with the instruments at the beginning of the year.

Use the drum activity to reacquaint them with instruments.

SHAKER- SHAKE

TRIANGLE-TAP

GUIRO-BRUSH

WOOD BLOCK- TAP

As we dive into instrument playing, I like my students to get used to playing in ensembles.

At the beginning of 2nd quarter I get everyone playing instruments in small groups.

depending on their skill levels, each grade will play different types of arrangements.

But, I’ve found that all grades love to play drums.

No matter what, I start with everyone at the beginning so that the new students can catch up and learn how to play.

I use the same method of echo playing with all the grades.

As students develop skills, I have them be the leaders.

I also have them create an ostinato and then play in groups together with some playing beat and others playing ostinato.

I then pace the grades according to ability.

You can play the game to practice playing a song you are working on in the rest of your lesson.

First I teach the students how to play the rhythm patterns with the instruments.

After we get that down pretty good, I can set up stations.

Students can warm up playing together as a class and then break into groups.

Here’s one way to set up the stations.

These stations will work for grades 1-6. I use different levels of activities and materials for each grade.

The great thing about a set up like this is that you can run these stations for 4-5 class times.

Use the beginning of class to practice together and sing the song you are working on.

Do a short movement activity and then break into instrument activity stations.

Each group rotates through 1 station per class time.

  • Beat Station 1- this station may be on xylophones. I have sets of note cards that I have students play one note or chords. I have them play each note 4 times. This could be the bass note of the song you are learning.
  • Rhythm Station- 2 This could be the rhythms of the melodies of songs you are teaching them like star light, engine, engine etc. or rhythm patterns.
  • Rhythm Station 3- this station will be the ostinato rhythm. Choose a special rhythm you want them to play.
  • Rhythm Station 4- Create your own rhythm patterns.  Choose 4 cards, play the rhythms.

Sometimes I’ve had a 5th station that repeats station #2 or 4 as students like to play and they are okay with playing more- and it’s good for them.(This makes the groups smaller if needed).

PLAYING INSTRUMENTS – IMPROVISATION IDEAS

Now you can play the I SPY game again and have the students play something for you when the figure out the instrument.

Here are some playing instrument activities to foster improvisation skills.

  • Have them draw a rhythm card and play it after they discover the instrument.
  • Have them improvise as the class sings a song.
  • Have them play some music you are working on together.
  • Have them write a rhythm and play it for the class or group.

You’ll be delighted by their increased skill levels after implementing these types of activities into your elementary music curriculum.

READ this post if you’re looking for RHYTHM ACTIVITY IDEAS.

HOW TO TEACH RHYTHM IN ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASS

Lastly, you can print the I Spy game and add it to your music teacher SUB TUB.

Get the Free Music Class Instruments Game by SUBSCRIBING to our NEWSLETTER.

I’m hoping that you got some activity ideas for playing instruments in elementary music class.

Looking for activities to teach about the ORCHESTRA INSTRUMENTS?  I have a wonderful BUNDLE of activities you may want to check out that will give you tons of materials for all elementary grade levels.

INSTRUMENT FAMILY BUNDLE on TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS

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Playing instruments in elementary music class is an integral part of the general music curriculum. Get the activities and ideas in this post.
Playing instruments in elementary music class is an integral part of the general music curriculum. Get the activities and ideas in this post.

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Meet Sandra

Hi there!  I’m Sandra, one of the authors behind Sing Play Create.  My goal is to provide teachers with interactive resources and activities to improve the effectiveness of their teaching and enhance student learning.

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