how do you teach with music?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I cannot carry a tune (for the life of me). 

I am not a singer.

However, I sing all the time in my classroom (those poor cuties). 

I can't help it, because singing/music is such a powerful teaching tool.

I am looking to do a future post on music in the classroom
I would love to feature how some of you use music to teach.

So....How do you use music in your classroom?


  1. I use a lot of music too and have 5 Cds set uo ready to go. I use a track called "whistle while you work" when it is pack away time. It doesn't take long for the children to learn to respond to the first few notes...they automatically stop their activity and start packing away. I sit down, and they come and sit on the mat with me and if there is still time left in the song, they follow my actions as I do some simple actions to the beat of the music.

  2. Oh my goodness! I love the CD player! Is that what it is? Haha! SO cute! I have a sound system in our classroom, so I have no real need for something like this, because the system plays through our speakers. Is it sad that I am still playing with the idea of buying one of these though. just because it's so cute?!


  3. Well, I do the obvious I use songs to teach the months of the year, days of the week, and alphabet. With the reading seris I am using now, each letter (alphafriend) has it's own song too. The kids love it. Right now I am using the "BINGO" song to teach the vowels. That is fun because my Kinderkids will go into Fist grade already knowing their vowels. :)

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  4. Just in case you were interested the Vowel song goes like this:

    (To the tune of BINGO)
    5 vowels in the alphabet,
    I know them all by name.
    A, E, I, O, U
    A, E, I, O, U
    A, E, I, O, U
    I know them all by name, OH!

  5. I do something similar...
    but we end ours by saying:
    and sometimes "Y"!

  6. I wrote this really long comment about music in the classroom, and then it disappeared, so I added a post... http://sunglassesonmyhead.blogspot.com/2011/05/teaching-with-music.html

    :) Lauren

  7. ooh, and have y'all played the vowel game? kiddos stand in a circle, one person is it, and in the "duck, duck, goose" fashion say "a, e, i, o, you are out" except instead of running around the circle, the U person has to sit. continue until there is a winner. mix it up with long/short vowel sounds, words that begin with, etc. My kiddos adored this game! Great for a morning meeting activity, those last bus kiddos, an extra 5 minutes, whatever!!

  8. I had to laugh at this... my hubby tells me not to sing, but I can play piano.

  9. Just like you, I'm not a singer either. I have used songs to the tunes of familiar children songs to teach about telling time, regrouping in subtraction, water cycle, parts of plants, etc. I have used a cd that I got at a writing workshop, when students are writing. Some of the songs talk about punctuation, adding details, etc. Sometimes I use classical music, Carribean music, or sounds for students to write about what they visualize. I have a huge collection of cds. Some of the music that I use often is on my iPod.

  10. I use Pandora free radio in my classroom and play it on my Smartboard speakers, which have amazing high quality sound.

  11. I may not do a lot of singing but we listen to classical music quite a bit. Each month we highlight a new composer. (Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Saint Saens, and Prokofiev are favorites.) We incorporate art and movement, write in a composer journal, and simply listen to the music.

    1st Grade Teacher

  12. I use a lot of transition music in my classroom. I did a blog post on it a month or two ago. You can read it at

    My own kids have banned me from singing, so I can understand your pain...

  13. We no longer have music instruction in our school, so I use music a lot, in order to fill that void. I teach my kids songs and dances throughout the year and we invite families in to watch us perform twice a year. We also have a mother-son/father-daughter dance (followed by a kickball tourney) at the end of the year. We sing songs while we transition between activities, when we line-up and when we go home each day. We have a variety of songs that we sing to greet one another each day,as well as rythym stick activities and morning dances. BUT, the most powerful way that I use music is as an attention getter. In those moments when I am about to "lose my mind" because no one is listening, I usually burst into a silly song - it ALWAYS makes then stop what they're doing and listen. Music is a powerful tool, and so much fun too!

  14. I love using music! I have a couple Dr Jean CDs that I and the kiddos adore. We've made up movements for every song so we get a little physical activity in too. I also just like playing music while they work. Sometimes it's classical and sometimes it's the Curious George soundtrack. I always have music on when I'm working too! Gotta love Pandora!


  15. Hi! I play an awesome game, "Musical Squares". Our group activity carpet is a covered in rows of colored squares. Probably 9X6. For this game i ask children to stand on the perimeter of the carpet, 1 sqaure per child. It works out perfectly when every child is present that there are 21 students and 20 squares. I play music, preferably something fun-they loved "Who let the dogs out" the other day, and any sort of mother goose rap song on CD. I allow the children to walk/dance as they walk around ithe perimeter of the carpet. When I pause the music, the children have to sit in a sqaure closest to them, the last child standing w/o thier own square will have to answer a question based upon the subject. I used vocabulary words recently for a reading lesson-the words were on the board and i would say, "which word means....". The kids loved it and i got a kick out of their dance moves! We play it in math and phonics as well! :)

  16. I use music for almost all of my transitions. When we sit down or line up I sing little songs to help get students attention. My favorite is to the tune of If You're Happy and you Know it. I sing...If you're ready and you know it clap your hands...If you're ready and you know it clap your hands. If you're ready and you know it, then I know that you can show it - if you're ready and you know it, clap your hands. I change it to tap your nose, or stomp your feet depending on what kind of energy I'm aiming for in the classroom.

  17. @ amanda: yes it is a CD player! it is kinda goofy lookin', huh? i got it at pottery barn years ago...

    i am so jealous you have a sound system in your classroom--do you know how lucky you are???

  18. Lindsey, I have an amazing resource that I shared today on music supporting my curriculum. I know you use HM Reading and thought you may like to see...

    Primary Graffiti

  19. CD's by Greg and Steve are awesome! Website link to them: http://www.gregandsteve.com/store.php

    I teach in a self contained autism class, and it is a great tool for gross motor skills!



  20. Lindsey, I am like you... lack of vocal talent.... but I make up for it in enthusiasm.. LOL!

    I use music a lot. I play classical music during my writer's workshop. I love the idea of featuring a composer each month. Thanks Dolly for the idea.

    I use music during word study as well. I blogged about it. I'm going to attempt to post the link. Here it goes:

    Calendar Sing Along


    Word Family Sing Along

    I hope that links to my blog entries (fingers crossed)!

    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

  21. I can find a MP3 on virtually any concept on Amazon ;) The cornier the better. My kids love music!

  22. My friend Laura has a really cute blog that she posted a free sheet of songs to sing during transitions (sitting on the carpet, following directions, etc). Go check them out!

  23. I've taught school for 28 years and can remember my first years like they were yesterday...your blog is terrific! I taught kinder and first grade for 10 years, i've been teaching junior English for a long while now...I use rock and roll music in my classroom EVERYDAY! I've started my own blog and hope to show teachers how to use music in their classrooms! Yes, I used rock and roll when I taught elementary school! My blog has just started but the website is:



thanks for the love ♥

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