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5 Ideas To Save Your Voice

So it's almost the end of the school year and with only a few weeks to go it's likely that your students are starting to become a little restless.  It's also likely that perhaps your patience isn't as great as it was in September, am I right?  And we all know that the combination of increasingly excited children plus increasingly exhausted teachers doesn't always have a great ending!

You may find yourself having to wait longer for quiet, repeating your expectations more frequently or imposing more sanctions.  And as the balance of rewards and sanctions tips in the wrong direction you become more frustrated.  

Thinking about January already?  Not sure what to teach?  Have a look at this list of 100 Curriculum Ideas for some inspiration and receive a new resource every week in your inbox!

But as music teachers we have that extra challenge of noise level.  If we need students to stop what they are doing, not only do we have to project...

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Quick 'n' Easy 5 Step Christmas Song Project

Christmas Songs.  Love them or hate them, this is the season where you begin to hear them endlessly and everywhere.  Shops, lifts, in the street, at work.  There's no escaping them.  And writing a new Christmas song can be a fun and worthwhile lesson activity, improving multiple skills such as literacy, group work, independence, resilience and creativity as well as musical skills. 

So you decide you want your class to write a Christmas song.  But what next?

Maybe you are foreseeing some issues.  Could it be that....

1. You are not a trained music teacher and don't feel very confident in your ability to do this?

2. Your students are not exactly gifted or are just inexperienced in the musical/creative fields?

3. You are short of lesson time but really want them to do this

4. You don't have access to a lot of musical equipment

Well, don't worry.  Follow this simple 5 step system and you should have a Christmas song at the end of it!

...

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5 Quick Christmas Cover Ideas With Very Little Effort

It's that time of year when we are not only expected to teach great lessons, keep up with meeting, duties and the gazillion emails every day, but also arrange a plethora of excellent musical experiences in order to impress upon anyone who happens to be passing by that we are an excellent and over achieving school.  

Sorry, that came out slightly sarcastic.......what I mean is, we all know that at this time of year there is a lot of extra responsibility to present the music department in a glowing light and provide a beautiful musical backdrop to school events, as well as showcasing our excellent students. 

Anyway, whilst that might be very enjoyable, we are left with the dilemma of what to do with our classes in our absence.

Thinking about January already?  Not sure what to teach?  Have a look at this list of 100 Curriculum Ideas for some inspiration and receive a new resource every week in your inbox!

Hmmm, it's a tricky one isn't it?  We...

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Save Time & Increase Engagement With These Christmas Lesson Ideas

Last week I was telling you about my top favourite traditional Christmas songs for quick and easy time saving lessons.  (You can read Time Saving Christmas Lessons right here) But don't we all have those students who shun the beautiful traditional Christmas songs and carols (or SHOCK HORROR have never heard of them!!!!) and are only interested in the more rock/pop/modern hits.

I am sure, like me, you have found that the majority of these songs are actually quite complex to play and can create quite a lot of workload to take down to a level where students can learn independently.

Thinking about January already?  Not sure what to teach?  Have a look at this list of 100 Curriculum Ideas for some inspiration and receive a new resource every week in your inbox!

So here are some quick and easy ideas on how to approach the trickier songs.

Karaoke O' Clock

Yes, Christmas songs will persuade even the most reluctant of performers to open their...

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Time Saving Christmas Lessons

Love it or hate it, Christmas is on its way and as music teachers we all know this is going to be a big time of year.  Personally I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!  Concerts, carol services, community singing, what's not to like?   And you have the added bonus that you can do all the boring admin style jobs whilst singing some timeless and cheery Christmas hits!

On the downside the extra extra-curricular may result in you having to set the dreaded cover.   Or just being far too busy/tired/exhausted to plan amazing lessons right up to the end of what will have been, quite frankly, an interminably long term.  (When was the summer?  Can anyone even remember it now??) . Time to do anything else at all becomes a major problem doesn't it?  

So why not spend a couple of lessons focussing on keyboard skills?  I find the old ones are the best when it comes to finding accessible Christmas tunes for students to learn independently.  And...

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Whole Class Percussion Without The Pain: A Step by Step Guide

Class percussion lessons can be enormous fun and hugely rewarding for students and teachers alike.   Hand percussion is so accessible for all students, regardless of ability or experience and enables them to join in with a subject where they can easily feel out of their depth.  And for teachers, getting a whole class jam going, and seeing students really enjoying themselves is priceless.

Not sure what to teach next?  Get some inspiration from our FREE  100 Curriculum Ideas checklist.  Just Click Here to download.

However, compared to a lesson of keyboards-with-headphones, this is noisy music at its best (or worst, depending on what experiences you have had!!).  If students aren't sure of their rhythms or are intent on just randomly hitting stuff it will just devolve into a terrible noise.  This can be unpleasant for everyone concerned and can easily put students off, rather than showing them how exciting music truly...

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How to read TAB: 5 Top Tips for Non-Guitarists

I always think of TAB as a bit like playing by numbers.  Or a grid reference on a map.  For years it confused me.  Why is it upside down?  What do the numbers mean?  Which line is which?  How do you know what rhythm to play?

For a lifelong wind player, learning a whole new notation system by myself has been a bit of a challenge.  But when I show students it is all worthwhile.  Suddenly a student can pick up a guitar and play a melody.  They may not know what notes they are playing or anything about the theory of music, but they are making music and having fun.

Have you downloaded the FREE KEYWORD SUPERFOLDER yet?  An amazing time-saving, workload-reducing pack of resources containing all keywords needed for GCSE/BTEC, with listening links and definitions.  Check it out HERE. 

So this is a post for you music teachers out there who, like me, have never been taught guitar or TAB but would love your students to...

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Learn To Play Bass Guitar: 5 Top Reasons Every Student Should Try

Before I became a music teacher I had never even touched a bass guitar.  In week 1 of my first job I realised that I was going to need to step away from my woodwind comfort zone and understand how guitars actually work.  

In week 3 I played the very simple bass line (I'm talking 3 note sequence in semibreves simple) at a band rehearsal.  And it was great.  That exhilarating feeling of learning a new instrument came back to me all over again and it was a whole new way of visualising note relationships.  I even began to understand TAB.  

Have you downloaded the FREE KEYWORD SUPERFOLDER yet?  An amazing time-saving, workload-reducing pack of resources containing all keywords needed for GCSE/BTEC, with listening links and definitions.  Check it out HERE.

I encourage all of my students to have a go at a bass guitar at least once and the majority love it.   And here's why I think it's a great thing to try.

1. Learn...

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Keyboard Lessons: 6 Common Complaints & How To Solve Them

Having taught music for over 15 years I have come across a range of problems and issues when leading a keyboard lesson.   The most irritating 'problems' are surely those of malfunctioning headphones or wrong settings.  The 'I can only hear in one ear' scenario and the 'My keyboard isn't working' (is it actually switched on???) issues are usually quick and easy to solve, but sometimes students actually have valid problems that need help.

 

Have you downloaded the FREE KEYWORD SUPERFOLDER yet?  An amazing time-saving, workload-reducing pack of resources containing all keywords needed for GCSE/BTEC, with listening links and definitions.  Check it out HERE.

 

Here I have compiled my Top 6 Keyboard Complaints along with ways you could solve them.

1. I'm left handed

I never know whether to laugh or cry when I hear this one.  It usually starts with me asking students to learn a melody with the right hand only.  Why?  So that...

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5 Simple Ways To Teach Piano Keys

 

 So here is a phrase most of us hear on loop every day.....

"Miss, where's the A?"

Ah yes, the sound of students trying to work out where the keys are on a piano.  I find that keyboards and pianos can be highly deceptive.  It is so easy for students to actually create a sound that it is easy to forget that they don't know what they are playing, or understand the structure of the keyboard in any way.  

In some schools where I have worked, the whole notion of actually learning the piano keys seems to be glossed over and students spend the whole of KS2 or KS3 just relying on letter names written on to the keyboard.  But would you write the letter names on to a cello or a trumpet?  Would you deface your violin with whiteboard marker?  I certainly wouldn't, so why not teach the keyboard or piano notes properly in the first place?

I am fully aware that it is difficult for students to learn notes off by heart when they play this instrument for...

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