Top Tips for Teaching Kindergarten Music

It’s time for another Readers Choice blog post. Today’s topic is kindergarten music, otherwise known as How Small Children Can Deplete Your Energy in a Single, 25-Minute Class Period. As per usual, I’m speaking from personal experience and sharing my tops tips for surviving and thriving with Kindergarten music classes.

Tip #1. Behave like an adult, but act like a kid.

Could my first tip have been more strangely worded? Probably not. Moving on…

I played outside with my nephew for about 20 minutes last week, before the mosquitos tried to eat us alive (it is spring after-all). Our playtime involved “island hopping” across loads of rocks and other shenanigans. Did I feel like running around in the backyard with the mosquitos? Not really. Did my nephew think I was the coolest aunt ever for doing it? You bet! And that same concept applied to my kindergarten classes. I was the role model they needed, but I was also the fun-loving adult they deserved. In actual practice, this means allowing yourself to be goofy and imaginative with your students. This is your chance to tell all those “dad jokes” without having tomatoes pelted at you. The more your students laugh, the more connections you’ll make.

Tip #2. Aim for character over content.

I know there will be some who disagree with this tip, and that’s okay; in fact, I welcome it! Please share your opinions in the comment section. However, I believe that we are not only teaching students music, but teaching them how to be compassionate, kind, thoughtful, and all the other characteristics that make us decent human beings. So, if Johnny is tugging on Timmy’s shoelace, and I only have five minutes left to finish teaching a concept, I will show Johnny how to be nice to Timmy, rather than spend the last five minutes teaching rhythm. Will that class be behind? Probably. Will they be more prepared to learn together in the next class? I think so.

Tip #3. Be compassionately consistent.

I really can’t say it enough. Kindergarteners deserve the same structure and classroom management as other grade levels. They thrive on expectations that are clearly explained and consistently (but compassionately) followed. Don’t be afraid to follow through just because kindergarten kids are cute, imaginative, and just told you that “you’re the best music teacher ever”. Mary Poppins is a great example of a character who is consistent, yet compassionate. Plus, she could sing. And she was always playing games with the kids. Basically, what I’m saying is that we’re all within reach of being Mary Poppins, and isn’t that just about the happiest thought you’ve had all day!?

Thanks for reading!

2 Responses

  1. Every personality quiz I've ever taken about "What Disney Character are You?" and even based on Meyers Briggs Personality – I'm Mary Poppins. I guess I'm over half way there to being the perfect Kindegarten music teacher. 😉

    But really, I agree completely about #2. I always stop a lesson to teach a life skill if I can. That goes for EVERY age. I can't tell you how many times I've had the conversation about how we sometimes have to do things we don't like. I also recently had a conversation with some 3rd graders about how you should try to learn things you don't like by relating them to things you DO like. I think life skills is the one thing we as educators have gotten away from, but it is one of the most important things for students to learn.

    Also, in regards to #3, students don't care if you tell them they did something wrong. They will actually love you even more for it. I can't tell you how many times I've taught Kindergarten and took something away or scolded a student and by the end of the class the student tells me "I love you!" or "You're the best!" It's almost as though it never even happened. They know you love them BECAUSE you follow through and set boundaries. It may not seem to make sense, but it is the truth.

    1. I agree completely. Also, I'm jealous of your quiz results; pretty sure I've gotten Professor Mcgonagall on more than one occasion. It's not bad, but it's no Mary Poppins 😉

      Oh, and #3. Yes and yes! So many times I was concerned that a student wouldn't deal with a consequence well, but ended up loving me just the same (if not more). I really think that consistency breeds confidence in students.