MUSIC Classroom Rules

Establishing clear rules and procedures which can be consistently and lovingly enforced is of the utmost importance in classroom management!  Rules help guide students and teachers towards appropriate behaviors, while procedures tell us HOW we should do the things that we do. Setting my music classroom rules to music has been one of my favorite back-to-school ideas!

Guiding principles behind classroom rules is to keep them simple and keep them positive.  I have used these MUSIC Rules in my classroom for many years.  There are many variations on this idea floating around in cyberspace, too. 

The challenge of the back-to-school season is that we must go over rules and procedures with every class we see.  This takes time, and most of us would rather be making music with our students. My solution is to find musical ways to introduce rules & procedures.

The MUSIC Rules Song

The melody stays in a good singing range for elementary students and uses melodic patterns commonly taught in many music learning sequences.  I have my MUSIC Rules posters displayed at the front of my classroom. When introducing the rules, I generally sing the whole song through, accompanying myself on ukulele. Students can follow along with the posters. A brief discussion of the rules can follow this whole song introduction. Then, we echo individual phrases of the song before putting it all together. This whole-part-whole sequence is generally enough on the first week of class.

By extending the simple song with harmony, instruments, and movement activities, the rules can be reviewed for several weeks in a very enjoyable, musical fashion.

Lesson Extensions

Simple Melody: Depending on your preferred learning sequence, you might have your students listening for sol-mi and mi-re-do patterns or tonic and dominant chord patterns. 


Simple Harmony:  Only 2 chords, C & G7,  are required to harmonize with the melody. These can be easily transferred to the ukulele, played as a C-G bordun on Orff instruments. 

Simple Bass Line:  With only 2 chords, it is very easy to teach and sing a chord root bass line.  At first, introduce this bass line as a separate “song,” then create a simple form, like AB or ABA, by singing the rules song alternating with the bass line.

Simple Movement Activity: If you have created a simple form, consider adding locomotor movement.  For example, try this when using an ABA form:

  • A - stand and sing the rules verse

  • B - walk & wave while singing the bass line on a neutral syllable such as “bum.” (walk in a curvy pathway, in self-space, waving at friends while singing)

  • A - stand and sing the rules verse

Simple harmony part: Once your students are secure singing both the MUSIC Rules song and the bass line separately, consider creating harmony by singing the two parts at the same time.  At first, you might want to sing the bass line by yourself as your students sing the Rules song.  Then, ask a few students to join you on the bass line.  Soon, your students will be singing harmony on their own!

Grab your FREE PDF copy of the rules song in the Sally’s Sea of Songs Members section!  Complete the signup form at the bottom of this page to receive the password delivered to your inbox!

MUSIC Rules Posters come in 3 different themes.

Sing your way to a smooth sailing music classroom with a MUSIC Rules Song!   

Musically yours,


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