Finding the Right Rhythm: Creative Ways to Craft a Musical Start for Your First Music Class


Picture this: it's the start of a brand-new school year, and you, as a music teacher, are gearing up for that all-important first lesson. But here's the catch – you're faced with a whirlwind of tasks like greeting eager students, going over rules and procedures, and, oh yeah, memorizing a whole bunch of names. It's like juggling melodies, lyrics, and administrative duties all at once! 

So, how do you strike that perfect balance between the necessary practicalities and the sheer joy of making music? Fear not! In this blog post, we'll unravel the secrets behind navigating these challenges, so you can kick off your music class with a captivating start that will have your students humming and tapping their way to a year full of melodic adventures.

What does a back-to-school lesson include?

First, let's consider what all needs to happen during those first few lessons of the school year. Here are the very basic elements that are commonly included:
  • Welcome
  • Roll call/learn names
  • Review of Rules & Procedures

But that list looks incredibly boring for me, knowing that I will have to repeat it 25-30 times this week.  Looks boring for my students, too!

Craft a Musical Start

Finding ways to make these administrative tasks musical has been a challenge of mine.  From singing the rules to turning procedures into an Orff arrangement, including music at every step of the way makes the lessons more fun for all. My plan usually includes these simple activities.
  • Hello/Welcome Song
  • Roll Call & Name Game
  • Sing the Rules 
  • Review Class/School Procedures
  • Closing/Goodbye Song
While common wisdom says we need to change activities every 5-10 minutes and having 7, 8, or more activities on the plan is not unusual, I like to leave space in these back-to-school lessons. It might take longer to get everyone seated and call roll. Classes may be late because they haven't figured out the schedule yet. I like to take photos of students new to the school to add to my iDoceo grade book. We might even want to play the name game several times! This short list is usually enough.

Here's Help!

Click the images to learn more about each step.

Hello Songs for Music Class Hello Everybody
Greeting songs are a great way to make our students feel welcome. Read this post to see how I use the song "Hello, Everybody" and adapt the activities for various grade levels.
More Hello Songs for Music Class

This post has a collection of my favorite hello & welcome songs. I like to include them during each class and will change every so often for variety.

The More We Get Together Name Games for Music Class

 Name Games are fun for students and offer enough repetition of the names to help the teacher, too! Here are some favorite game and chants.

Sing Your Rules
Sing the rules. What better way to help students learn your rules than to get them stuck in their heads attached to a melody! This post includes a link to a free poster & melody for your MUSIC rules.

Back to School Music Fun

Turn school or class procedures into an Orff lesson! This lesson can be used with chants, body percussion, or classroom percussion. It can even be extended over several class periods by adding a melodic composition and form activity!

Kindergarten Music in August

 First Kindergarten Lessons can be challenging because those little ones may not have much experience with all of those school skills like lining up and raising hands. They may not have ever had a formal music class either. Here are some of the activities I use to get my kinders started on the right musical foot. 

Check the Members Page for Free Resources!

If you haven't already, be sure to check the Member Page of this blog for several free resources to help you in your back-to-school planning and lessons! The password is included in each email that you receive from me. You can also fill out the form at the bottom of this page and the password will be sent to your email.

As always, I am here to help. Let me know your best tips or challenges for back-to-school lessons in the comments.

Musically Yours,



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