Musical Activities for Middle Schools to Make Lessons More Creative6 min read
Almost every human being develops a natural love for music from their early years. We’ve seen how babies bob their heads and toddlers dance to their favorite songs. Music has a special place in the hearts of most human beings. It helps us to make good memories and also takes us back to specific memories from our past. There is a somewhat irresistible thrill that comes over us when we hear our favorite song come on. That’s why for many, their love for music lasts a lifetime.
However, this natural love for music can easily begin to wither when the music starts feeling forced or like work that you have to get done. Nobody likes anything when it feels like an obligation. This is why school teachers who teach subjects like music and art have extra weight on their shoulders. You don’t want your students to end up losing interest in the subject or feel like it’s “work”. And as music students approach their middle school years, there is another difficulty that arises. Children may begin to find practice excruciating and monotonous. But as a music teacher/instructor, it is important for you to not get discouraged and instead think of the benefits of music for your students.
What are the benefits of music education in children?
Research reveals that there are a number of benefits of music education for children. Music greatly helps to improve memory. It also assists brain development in children. When learning music and instruments, children develop stronger hand-eye coordination. Learning music also tremendously benefits them academically. Children can focus better and acquire better study habits. Problem-solving and other cognitive skills are heightened as well. Children tend to be better at teamwork and learn to be disciplined. Additionally, music improves self-esteem and self-confidence in kids.
What are a few music activities to make lessons more creative for middle schoolers?
If you are a music teacher who is desperately looking for more creative ways of conducting your music lessons, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some music activities for middle school that will help to make your lessons more creative.
A Rap Battle
The genre of rap has become increasingly popular and relatable. Hosting a rap battle by dividing your students into groups is a great way to make things fun and more interesting in the classroom. Your students will be able to let their creative sides loose and explore something different. Putting them into groups will also help them to not feel nervous or singled out. The purpose of this activity is to allow students to learn how to compose music without necessarily having the ability to read music. As students work in their groups, they will be able to get creatively vulnerable and not feel nervous or scared to perform alone. You can pick some topics for their battle beforehand and note them down on the board. Choose a rhyming scheme for each group and encourage them to create some obvious and consistent patterns. This activity will also encourage them to work in a team and follow directions.
A Drum Festival
A drum festival is a really cool idea that you can choose to spread out over a week, a month or even a whole semester. During this time, you can dig deeper into the roots of African drumming and introduce your students to the history of the form. Your students can get a few hand drums to class and try to connect with this very meaningful form of musical expression. Feel free to do a demonstration in class if you are experienced in this genre, or invite someone from outside. You could also show the children some videos of performances. Drumming is essentially an extremely interactive, tangible and fun form of music so students will find this really appealing. Drumming also provides a number of advantages for children in a classroom setting including emotional, social as well as stress-related benefits.
What is the Current Top Song?
This is another interesting activity that you can conduct weekly or monthly. Here is where you show your students the workings involved in the current popular song that is topping the charts. Identify the current favorite song by researching on music charts and downloads. You can break down the cord progression and arrangement of the song for your students. This will greatly help your students to form connections between music theory that they study in the classroom and popular music outside. Children who are interested in writing and composing music will also learn a great deal.
Sounds and Voices
Your students are probably still too young to understand the true importance of their voices. Teach them the importance of finding their voice and using their voices as instruments through this activity. Allow your students the space and freedom to play around with their voices; they may or may not use simple instruments. The activity works something like this: ask your students to record themselves reciting poems or short stories. Next, put these recordings into whatever software is readily available. You can make a project by editing whatever your students have read by manipulating and tweaking voices. Your students will enjoy seeing how their voices can be changed and maneuvered to sound spooky, scary, loud, soft or silly. Tell your students that they too can achieve what the software does by tweaking their own voices.
A Musical Scavenger Hunt
This is a wonderful activity to help your students see and appreciate the music that is in the world all around them. It is an activity that will help them to look for music in places they probably thought of as mundane. Tell your students that their goal is to look for instruments – makeshift instruments! Ask them to search for everyday objects that can be used as musical instruments. You can ask them to carry that instrument to class and have them demonstrate how and why they felt like their makeshift instrument could make music. You can then encourage them to work together in groups or altogether as a class to form a band and perform something small.
Creativity is often the best way to get kids interested in topics. So don’t hesitate to be creative with your methods and allow your students to creatively explore music around them too. Making your students collaborate and work together on music projects is another great way for them to feel motivated and encouraged to learn more. And lastly, as a music teacher, be positive and enthusiastic to open your kids up to new possibilities in the music world. If you feel like the energy in your classroom is a bit low, fill in the gaps with your passion and excitement.