Five Centers for Every Music Classroom

Music stand with rhythm flashcards and a maraca, with the text "Five centers for every music classroom"

Have you been wanting to use centers in your music classroom, but aren't sure where to start? Or are you looking for more engaging stations for your music room? Here are five centers that are sure to be a hit with your students! These centers not only make learning music fun and interactive, but they also help develop important musical skills. Let's dive in!

#1: Rhythm patterns on instruments

This center allows students to explore different rhythm patterns using a variety of instruments. At the center, I have set up a collection of non-pitched percussion instruments, such as hand drums, maracas, and tambourines. I also have music stands with two rhythm flashcards on each stand, like shown in the picture above.

At this center, students can pick an instrument of their choice and play the rhythm patterns they see on the stand. They can experiment with different combinations of patterns and create their own unique rhythms. Students could even play in a round with the other students at the center!

Other instruments that work well at this center include Boomwhackers, or barred instruments set up in C pentatonic, with students playing whatever notes they want for each rhythm pattern.

#2: Chrome Music Lab

The next center that I highly recommend is Chrome Music Lab. This website provides a range of interactive music experiments and tools that are perfect for elementary music education. Students can explore different concepts such as melody, rhythm, and harmony through fun and engaging activities. My favorite activities in Chrome Music Lab include Rhythm, in which students create rhythm patterns, Melody Maker, in which students can compose melody, and Kandinsky, in which students create art, and then the art transforms into music!

If your other centers are rhythm related, you could use the Rhythm activity. If your other centers are melody related, they could use the Melody Maker activity, with students only choosing notes they know (i.e. green for sol, yellow for mi, and blue for la.)

From creating melodies to exploring the physics of sound, this center encourages students to explore music concepts in a playful and innovative way.

#3: Composition center with manipulatives

At this center, you can have rhythm manipulatives which students can compose with. Then, they can perform their composition on non-pitched percussion instruments, or barred/ Orff instruments set up in C pentatonic. The composition center not only helps students develop their musical skills, but it also fosters their creativity and self-expression.

#4: Solo singing with Chatterkids

To encourage solo singing, I have used the Chatterkids app as a center. Chatterkids is an app that allows students to record their voice and animate a picture of themselves, so that only their mouth moves!

At this center, students can choose a song of their choice and record themselves singing it using the Chatterkids app. They can then animate a picture of themselves to go along with their singing. This center not only helps students build their confidence in solo singing, but it also allows them to have fun and be creative. The filters, frames, and stickers make it a very interactive experience, and lessens the anxiety of solo singing.

#5: Staff writing with mini erasers

To improve staff writing, you could have one center with staves and mini erasers. For Valentine's Day, students could use heart erasers, for St. Patrick's Day, students could use shamrock erasers or “pot of gold” erasers like the ones shown above, etc. You could do any of the following:

  • Have students copy staff patterns they read to patterns on their own staff, using the erasers
  • Have students transfer stick notation patterns to the staff
  • Have students dictate songs they know with erasers
  • Have students compose their own patterns, using solfa they know, with erasers

This center not only helps students develop their staff writing skills, but it also reinforces their understanding of musical notation.

Free workshop and download

Looking for more strategies for implementing centers in your music room? Check out my free centers workshop, on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

You can also download these free four voices centers for Kindergarten or First Grade!

Incorporating music centers or workstations in elementary music education is an excellent way to engage students and develop their musical skills. By providing students with a variety of experiences and opportunities to explore music, we can foster their love for music and help them develop important musical skills.

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