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.

This download is only meant to be a guide. Ultimately, the movements and sounds of the game will vary based on your students and their needs.

10 Responses

  1. Depends on the day. I do play quiet mouse with certain classes if their teachers are running a bit behind. This is a game where students get picked as the quiet mouse if they are standing quietly in line. Once you are picked you leave line and pick someone else who is standing quietly. The only rule I stress in my classroom is they only have 10 seconds to pick, so they shouldn't just pick friends. Just pick the first person who is quiet and try to spread the love.

    Another thing I do is sometimes I'll ask questions about the lesson. Ask them how many beats does a quarter note get? What do we call this note when we clap it?

    Or sometimes we will even sing a song while we wait.

    I'm going to check out your freebie. Thanks for adding it to this post! 🙂

    1. I'd never heard of the quiet mouse game, but it sounds relaxing 😉 What do the students do after they've picked someone else to be the mouse? I hope my freebie is useful to you! Thanks for visiting 🙂

    2. They go back to where they were in line and hope to get picked again (which means they have to stay quiet). I'm always surprised how well it works. Most of the time I don't see ANY kids talking at all. Every once in a while I'll get one kid that is talking, but normally the other kids will just show him a quiet sign without saying anything because they want to be picked. 🙂

    3. That's a great way to reinforce modeling! I was always explaining to the students that it's more helpful if they show that they're quiet rather than telling everyone else to be quiet 🙂

  2. I use an echo song I found on YouTube called Dum Dum Da Da. Basically you sing a phrase and do an action and they sing it back. They get reeeally entranced by it. Or I do "Mirror" which is pretty much Simon says but without talking. They mirror me and I try my best to trick them.

    And sometimes I just got for a song they know well.