Classroom Tips

Teaching music to kids | Music lesson plans and activities

Teaching music to kids can be a rewarding experience for both the children and the instructor. Sharing your passion for music with the next generation of musicians gives you an opportunity to shape the future of the art. 

Starting a business teaching music classes to kids requires two sides of your brain: administrative and creative. On the administrative side, you need to write a business plan, create a business budget, and set business goals for success. Creatively, you need to think about how you will actually teach your classes.

To help you prepare to start teaching music to kids, the team at Sawyer has put together this guide with benefits of music education as well as music lesson plans and activities that will help you get inspired and ready to change lives. And if you want to learn how to write a curriculum, check out our guide!

Benefits of music education

Knowing the benefits of music education is important when creating and marketing your classes. This knowledge will help you plan your lessons so that they maximize the impact on your students. In addition, sharing this information with parents will show them why they should sign their child up for your classes.

  1. Better auditory processing. A USC study shows that children who participate in music education have more mature auditory systems, which often leads to faster language and reading development.
  2. Stronger academic performance. Research shows that children who learn music (either in school or extracurricularly) receive better grades. 
  3. Better attitudes. In Germany, students who learn music were found to be more conscientious, open, and ambitious than students who did not participate in music.
  4. Babies develop faster. Babies in a 2012 study about music education for young children smiled more and showed earlier and more sophisticated responses to music. Likewise, they develop fine motor skills more easily than babies who are not in music classes.
  5. Better memory and focus. A study showed that musicians have a better working memory as well as ability to focus and pay attention to details than people who have not participated in music education.

Curious for more information about why music education is important for child development? Check out our article with benefits of music classes for children.

Music lesson plans

If you are preparing to teach music to children, then you likely know a lot about music. However, if you want to be a good teacher, you need to take the time to write a lesson plan that breaks your class session down into time-constrained segments. A well organized lesson plan ensures that you will stay on track during each class and your students will learn what they need to know in a fun and interactive way.

In your lesson plans, make sure that you include a learning objective for the session, a list of the materials needed, the activities you will be doing and the time allotted for each one, along with  space for assessments and evaluations.

To help you create your music lesson plans, we’ve outlined some music and movement activities for infants and toddlers as well as music activities for elementary students. For more information on how to write a lesson plan, including lesson plan examples, read our guide.

Music and movement activities for infants and toddlers

Teaching young children is fun and rewarding, but it requires a lot of patience, too. Your activities need to be engaging  and informative at the same time. Here are some great music and movement activities for infants and toddlers inspired by the classes currently being taught by our wonderful Sawyer providers!

Parent and child activities

Infants and toddlers benefit greatly from parent/caregiver and child interactive classes. In fact, studies show that family activities can help young children learn important social skills from the adults and other little ones in their class. Adult and child activities can take up a whole class or be interspersed throughout a session or semester. 

Practice rhythm

Little children do not need expensive instruments to learn rhythm and fall in love with music. Pots and spoons are quick drum kits, coffee beans in a container make great maracas, and kazoos or party horns can sound like wind instruments. Have the children in your class use these “instruments” to practice rhythm and play along with songs.

Mix traditional and modern music

Part of the fun of children’s music education is letting them discover different types of music and sounds. In your class, play a mix of traditional music like Bach and Beethoven and modern music like pop, hip hop, and rock. Let the children move to the music and see how their movements change depending on the style.

Create music from books

Young children often surprise us by how well they remember their favorite stories. In this activity, you can read aloud a classic children’s book and let the little ones play music along with the story. Try to get them to highlight the feelings and emotions from the story through their instruments.

Photo of music lesson plans

Music activities for elementary students

As children get a little older, the activities in your lesson plan can become more complex. Maybe you are teaching instruments or singing or maybe you are doing general music theory and appreciation. Whatever you are focusing on in your classes, make sure you provide a variety of fun and informative activities. Here are some great music activities for elementary students that our Sawyer providers love.

Name that tune

Did you know that playing games can enhance classroom learning? Children love to play games and they don’t even realize how much they are learning while playing! Games are interactive and competitive so children pay more attention and remember what they learn, according to research done by Stanford. Name that tune helps children think critically about melodies, rhythm, and beats so they can figure out the song.

Musical theatre appreciation

Another element that helps children learn is storytelling. Stories are a form of play for children and not only do stories ignite their imagination, but they also help them connect more strongly to the material. Therefore, when you are teaching music to kids, you can incorporate  musical theatre and other types of storytelling to keep the children engaged, having fun, and learning.

Incorporate art

Music and art often go hand-in-hand, especially in educational settings. Have the children in your class listen to music and then draw or paint how the songs make them feel. Alternatively, you can show them famous art pieces and ask them to create their own music to go with the art. The goal is to connect the two mediums and allow children to be creative.

Music theory for kids

Elementary school aged children will appreciate learning about music theory as well as the history of music. They might not be ready for a whole class on these topics, though, so we suggest incorporating music theory and history into your lessons. Maybe take the first 10 minutes of the class to go over a concept and then revisit it towards the end. You can also play some music theory games for kids where they practice note placement on a staff, recognize notes or pitches, or hop up and down to a specific rhythm. 

Photo of music activities

Teaching music to kids can help you share your love of music with the next generation of musicians  and art lovers. If you are looking for guidance on managing and running your children’s education and activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. We work with educators every day to save time on admin, spend more time in the classroom, and grow their business. See how we do it with a free trial or demo today.

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