5 Of The Best Rhythm Games


Rhythm may well be one of the first topics that you cover with a class.  Pulse and rhythm are so vital to every genre of music that it is really important that our students can at the very minimum feel it.  Preferably they will be able to read notated rhythms and perform them too.  

Often students are taught the basics - 'here is a crotchet, minim, quaver' etc - early on and then they are never mentioned again!  Unless that student plays an instrument regularly, there is no way they will retain that information. So why not add in some fun games regularly to remind them of pulse, rhythm and notation?  

One of my favourites that my students love to finish a lesson with is 'Pass the Beat Around the Room'.  You can read more about that in my post 10 Fun Music Games.

The following 5 games are quick and easy to produce and can be used as starters, plenaries or main lesson topics.  

Have you downloaded the FREE KEYWORD SUPERFOLDER yet?...

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10 Tried & Tested Ways To Teach Tempo & Dynamics


Tempo and Dynamics are key elements for students to understand, and arguably, the easiest.  In my experience, these are the two that students find it easiest to retain and explain.  However, they will need to be introduced to the vocabulary like any other concept, and getting students to use the correct Italian words is definitely a higher level challenge.  

It is not, however, necessarily a challenge that must be put off until secondary school.  Why not teach these words in primary school and embed the vocabulary right from the start?  

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.


What Should I Teach?

So, stage 1 of embedding the vocabulary is, of course, to teach it.  For KS2 or KS3 I start with the following list:


  • Largo - slow and...
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5 Easy Ways To Introduce The Elements Of Music

What Are The Elements of Music?

The elements of music are the basic building blocks around which all music is written.  Sometimes referred to as the 'dimensions', the elements bring all the basic vocabulary that your students will need to talk about music effectively.  They are particularly vital if your student wants to go on to study at Level 2 or further, as all official qualifications require knowledge of the vocabulary of the elements.  If your student only wants to go on to learn an instrument rather than an academic study, these words are also vital in understanding how the music is played and what certain musical markings actually mean. 

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.

There is much debate in KS1-3 teaching as to how much should be practical, and how much...

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Music Baseline Assessment: 5 Questions You Should Be Asking


The 5 Questions

The start of a new term brings with it, for most teachers, a number of new classes.  Whilst we will undoubtedly still be teaching some familiar students, every school will have a whole new intake and each teacher will have several new classes.  In this article, I am going to be thinking about how to determine the current knowledge of those classes in order to plan more effectively for their learning and progress, with a particular focus on secondary education.

Whenever we assess a student, there are certain questions we should be asking ourselves - Who, When, How, Where, and Why.

What is Baseline Assessment?


But first, what is a baseline assessment?  This is some kind of initial student testing to determine their current knowledge and skills. It is commonly done in September with a new year group - for instance year 7 on arrival into secondary school - or a group beginning a new qualification - for instance your GCSE cohort.  If you...

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10 Fun Music Games For The Classroom

The beginning of a school year is always super busy, with classrooms to set up, equipment to organise, class lists to print and analyse and possibly new staff to settle in.  

Planning the first lesson, especially if you have new students, can be tricky.  

Firstly, the students will have been out of a learning environment for around 6 weeks.  Whilst some may have been active, getting out and about and still learning in different ways, it is a sad truth that many will have played non-stop X-box or watched TV and barely seen the light of day for 6 weeks.  So waking up your students' brains is a good way to start.    

Secondly, you may have new students.  Your entire intake year will of course not only be new to you but to the entire school and its routines, and students here will be struggling to make friends, find their way around and cope with a number of new routines and teachers.  You may also have new classes across the school with...

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16 Benefits of Music Education

Today I’m going to be answering some questions that I get asked a lot as a music teacher:

So why are we here miss?

Why do we have to do music?

Why is that on our timetable?

These all boil down to one big question….

What are the benefits of a good music education?

And the good news is there are lots of ways to answer this.  Music education is very important for a whole range of reasons.  Let’s not forget that music has probably been around as long as we have.  The oldest musical instruments found are bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes, found in a cave in southern Germany and are thought to be 43 000 years old.  For us to have kept making music for this amount of time must prove that music has some great benefits, or otherwise wouldn’t we just have given it up?


Before I go any further, I just want to remind you of the three main strands to music education.  Music education is going to be most effective if it offers a broad...

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5 Quick Ways To Revamp Your Tired Music Curriculum

In the UK we have the exciting prospect of yet another new Ofsted framework to work to.  Yes, in the ever revolving carousel of 'best practise for curriculum planning', we are back to thinking about the basics, this time dressed up as:

  • Intention
  • Implementation
  • Impact

In basic teacher speak, we are thinking once more (as if we ever really stopped doing this) about

  • Why do we teach what we teach?
  • How do we teach it?
  • What is the outcome? What progress did the children make?

So for many, this will be the trigger for yet another revamp of our curricula.  For others, it may just be time to think about how relevant our curriculum is still for our students. 

We all have our favourite topics that we have taught since the beginning of time, are comfortable with, have all the resources prepared for and are aware of 99% of things that might not go to plan.  These are our security blankets.  We like teaching them because we don't have to do lots of new planning...

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5 Easy Ways To Teach Music In Your Homeschool

Music can be a bit 'marmite' when it comes to the homeschool - you either love it or hate it.  With the long list of core topics to cover, it is tempting to put music to one side as an optional extra, to be addressed when there is time.

But this could be doing your students a disservice!  Music is a fantastic tool to help to build many skills that will help your students in all sorts of areas of their lives.  

Teamwork, coordination, fine and gross motor skills and even the working memory will all be improved by listening to and playing music.   Music is the only subject that involves both sides of the brain, and the resulting sparks of neural activity can even lead to an enhanced ability in literacy and numeracy.

So here are 5 quick and easy ways to introduce music into your homeschool.

1. Music Homeschool Meets Community

Photo by Vinícius Caricatte from Pexels

Music is a fantastic way to meet other people and join in a communal activity.  Get your...

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Music Teachers' Quick Planning Guide

Lesson Planning Overview For Music Teachers


When it comes to lesson planning, it can be a challenging and very time-consuming job.  But it doesn't have to be yet another teaching chore, another piece of admin to be carried out.  This is your chance to be creative and dictate what you want to spend your days teaching. Sometimes you will be overrun with ideas for lesson planning, whilst at other times you won't be able to think of a thing.  This is where you need some degree of organisation, rather than an explosion of random ideas.

Long, Mid or Short Term Lesson Planning?

When you are thinking about your lesson planning, it's best to think of the end game first.  Where are your students going to end up? Which qualification are they going to be taking? What route will they be following after school?  Work backwards from that endpoint, considering what skills and knowledge they will need to have gained or improved in the intervening years. Your...

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6 Top Tips For A Successful Music Performance

You’ve practised for a long time.  You’ve invited everyone you know to come and see you.  The audience is ready for a brilliant and entertaining show.  But how can you guarantee that your music performance will be really successful? Well, unfortunately, in the world of live performance there are no guarantees.  To be realistic, there is any number of things that could go wrong. But being prepared will not only reduce that possibility but also ensure that you are able to cope and keep going if something unplanned or unexpected does happen.

Be well rehearsed

Always rehearse far more than you think you need to.  You should know your pieces upside and backwards. You should be able to start at any given point without thinking about it.  If you are a singer you should know your lyrics thoroughly. If you are in a rock or pop band you should be able to perform without your music.  How are you going to stage slide if you are relying on being...

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