Three ways to get your students moving

Today I'm blogging about three ways to get your students moving to music class!

#1:  Eric Chapelle's “Movement for Creative Dance”

I found out about this CD series from a colleague I taught at my last school. This is a wonderful CD set to help foster creativity and movement in your music room! Click on the picture below to view one of the CD's on Amazon (note: the links in this blog post are referral links.)

Each CD comes with creative movement suggestions, and the last track on each CD is called “Potpourri,” and consists of musical fragments of each of the tracks on the CD, with pauses in between each fragment. I love using the “Potpourri” tracks, as students love doing what they call “freeze dance”–dancing and then freezing when the music stops. It's a great way to discuss how different styles of music require different types of movement. You can have students dance without props, or add scarves, ribbons, whatever! This is a great activity to inspire creativity AND to get your students to expel some of their energy! Speaking of CD's, you should try out…

#2: John Feierabend's “Keeping the Beat”

This is a wonderful CD for getting your kids to keep the beat! Click on the picture below to view the CD on West Music.

The CD comes with 36 tracks of short, upbeat classical pieces–perfect to get your young students moving! I often add this as a short activity to get my Kindergarteners moving to the beat. I have students follow what I'm doing, and do motions for 4 or 8 beats (4 beats on my head, 4 beats on my shoulders, 4 claps, 4 steps, etc.) and students do what I'm doing. Once they are comfortable with this, you can have them lead the motions (I find this works better starting in about January of the Kindergarten year, as they are developmentally more ready then–at least with me only having them once a week for 35 minutes!)

#3: Tennis balls

My third graders are practicing a 2-beat meter right now, which is the perfect time to work with tennis balls! I first started working with tennis balls as a way to practice meter when I worked with the Dalcroze professor at my college (thank you to Tim Caldwell…I owe so much to him!) You can have students sing a song they know (such as “Bounce High”) as they bounce the ball on the strong beat and catch on the weak beat. You can also have them listen to you play the piano and do the same. You can play a pattern in a 2-beat meter (strong beat/ weak beat/ strong beat/ weak beat) and have them bounce, catch, bounce catch. Then you can switch to other meters and have them move accordingly (like bounce/ catch/ tap shoulders with the ball for the 3-beat meter.) This is a great activity to get students to feel the strong beat, and they LOVE having their own tennis balls. Granted, it's a bit crazy and sometimes balls roll underneath desks and instruments, but the kids have so much fun! I bought my set of tennis balls 14 years ago during my first year of teaching…and they still bounce! (Okay, a few of them don't bounce as high, but still, fourteen years!!)

What are your favorite ways to get kids moving? Feel free to comment below, and happy teaching!

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Hi, I'm Aileen

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