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In my first year of teaching, I had no idea just how often my students would have to stand in line, waiting to go back to their classrooms. It’s frightening when you see students on the edge of mutiny. It’s kind of the same feeling you get when standing in an impossibly long line at the grocery store. You feel the tension as customers become more and more impatient. They shift their weight, look around for a manager, and perhaps make snide comments to the patrons behind them.

The difference between the grocery store and the classroom, is that teachers in the classroom have the authority to make a positive change. There’s no need to panic or let the classroom degrade into an array of spitballs and hair-pulling. Music teachers can utilize one of their many skills, improvisation.

During my first year, in those fateful minutes standing at the head of the line, I improvised. I sat down at the piano and made-up what would eventually be called (not-so-cleverly) the Sound Game. In essence, the sound game leads students through non-locomotor movements to accompany sounds on the piano. Most of the sounds are used to review basic musical concepts.

A few have no purpose other than to make the students laugh. As with all games in my classroom, I edited and refined the rules as the years progressed. Click on the picture below to download your own free copy.

This freebie is only meant to be a guide. Ultimately, the movements and sounds of the game depended on my students and their needs.

In addition to using this with grade-level classes, I also played it with our transition class as part of our lessons. The game reviewed many basic musical concepts, while giving them the opportunity to work on fine and gross motor skills. They loved it.

I know many teachers have their own unique methods for using up every last second of music class (and probably have wittier names for them as well). What are your methods for avoiding standing-in-line mutiny?