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How to Turn Ew’s into Yay’s – Classical Music Reboot

Sep 6, 2022 | Music Teacher Activities, Tips and Tricks for Music Teachers

How to Turn Ew’s into Yay’s – Classical Music Reboot

Did you know that September is Classical Music Month? It is! That’s why this is the perfect time to introduce your students to some of the great classical pieces.

You know it’s important to teach music history, the composers, great music . . . but why? Why should you teach classical music to your students when they are so against listening? Well, first, it’s beautiful once you know how to appreciate it. An added bonus . . . listening to the greats has been proven to increase concentration skills and self-discipline in children.

Don’t be afraid! It’s easier than you think. How many times have you heard, “Ew, this music is so boring“, when you’re trying to give your kiddos some culture and hone their music listening ears? Yep, it can be super difficult to create lesson plans and activities to introduce your students to the great composers and their music. That’s why it’s important to bring out the good stuff when you’re teaching ANY type of instrumental music.

The more fun you can make these types of activities, the more your students will enjoy listening to classical music. Don’t shake your head and make that face. It’s OK to make it fun. In fact, especially with the diminishing attention spans of today’s students. Putting in the fun and silly is the BEST way to get your kiddos’ attention . . . and KEEP it!

So pull out your basketballs, your scarves, your beanbags, and all those new manipulatives other music teachers are using, like squishes and pop its. All the things that kids think are fun are good to use.


There are so many great basketball rhythm activities on YouTube, and many of them use classical music. Here is a good way to teach your students a bit about the music and the composer before you teach the rhythm activity:

  1. Play the music
  2. Talk about the composer – a brief history is good. If you know any funny stories about the composer, this is a good time to tell them.
  3. Teach the rhythms by using body percussion or reading them.
  4. Teach the rhythms using basketballs.

Here are a few YouTube links to choose from:

Scarves & Streamers & Beanbags Oh my!

You probably have LOTS of activities that you use these items with. If not, it’s time to get them out and find some great ways to add them to your classical music activity bank. Literally EVERY TIME you get out these items, even your big kids probably get excited. What? You haven’t tried them with big kids?? Now’s the time.

You may be asking, “How do I use them?” Here are some steps to take to design your very own activity:

  1. Choose something fairly quick (under 4 minutes is best . . . remember your audience)
  2. Listen to the music a few times (unless of course you know it really well).
  3. Analyze it for form.
  4. Create LITERALLY ANY type of movement that you think expresses each section of the music.

Need a couple of great examples? Artie Almeida is truly the very best at creating these types of activites.

But what about bean bags? Think about passing them at different tempos, tossing them in the air, and tapping them on the floor in a certain rhythm.

Squishies & Pop it’s

To quote Austin Powers, “Yeah Baby!” What kid isn’t going to want to play with these?? But how do you use them with classical music? Go back to the steps above. When you get to the part about creating the movements, substitute the squishy for the movement. For example, instead of tapping to the steady beat, you could tell your students to stretch or squeeze to the steady beat. For the pop it’s, they can pop to the steady beat. I mean the sky is literally the limit.

As a music teacher, you know how important it is to introduce classical music to your students. The question is HOW? Hopefully, you’ve left today with some great tips and tricks to help you get your kiddos not only listening, but excited.

Do you need more information, have questions, or need examples. Be sure to join our email community for the newest tips and tricks for music teachers.

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