Musical Review after a Long Break

Hi everyone! It's Aileen from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room. Since many of us are headed back tomorrow after a long two-week break, I thought I'd write about reviewing after a long break. Granted, two weeks isn't super long, but since I only see my students once a week, it will be three weeks by the time they see me again! Here are a few quick and easy ways you can review with your students after a long break, so you can jump back into your lessons.

#1: Reading rhythm patterns
Sometimes, simply reading through some rhythm patterns can go a long way to getting students reacquainted with rhythms they should know well. Since it's the New Year, I just uploaded these rhythm flashcards to my store for free! Just print them out, cut them out, then read each with your students. You might try 4 beats apart, then 2 beats apart, then the third time through, no beats apart, which is a bit trickier and requires musical memory!
Since "Star Wars" is all the rage right now, another fun way to review rhythm reading with your students is to use "Rhythm Wars" by Amy Abbott (which can be purchased in a bundle or separately). The rhythms come on the screen just like the opening credits to the fun! (For more "Star Wars" activities for the music room, see this blog post.)
You could also simply have students read the rhythm to a known song. You may even ask them before reading what each rhythm is called. Then, dive into reading!

#2: Melodies/ Poison
I like to have students echo me on solfa, in an activity I simply call "melodies." If practicing do, you could sing sol-mi-do with hand signs, and students echo, then do-mi-sol, and students echo, etc. This is a great review activity, in that all they have to do is echo you!
To make it a bit more difficult, you could only sing the first solfa and show the hand signs for the remainder, and they have to sing back all. Or, you could play it on recorder and students have to sing back!
A game that students LOVE is called "Poison." You can write a melodic pattern on the board. You sing a pattern, they echo, UNLESS it's the Poison pattern! If they sing, you could either have that student sit down, or do a teacher against class challenge--if even one student sings, you get a point, but if no one sings, they get a point. They love the competition!
With this game, you could simply write the patterns on the board. If you want them already made, I have some Poison games in my store; here is the one for sol-mi.

#3: Flipped classroom
Since I sent home recorders with my 4th graders before break, I made videos so they could review at home in front of their computers. This idea is often called "flipped classroom," in which students teach themselves at home. Even if you're going back to school tomorrow, you could notify your classes of videos they can watch to help them review, so when they come back to music class the first time they haven't forgotten everything! Here is the video to review "B":

Click here to see other recorder videos on my YouTube channel. I made them general enough that any music teacher could use them. If you want to make your own videos, you can record right from your computer (I used QuickTime) then post to YouTube!

#4: Vocal exploration
Since many students have not used their singing voices over their break, it's always good to do some vocal exploration to help them warm their voices back up. Here are a few blog posts all about vocal exploration! Even with upper elementary students, you can do vocal exploration, simply by having them echo you, on sirens, on nonsense syllables, etc., to help them get back into their head voices.

#5: Just sing!
As important as it is to teach musical concepts through songs, it is just as important to sing for the sake of singing. One of my favorites I've done this year with 3rd grade is "Boots of Shining Leather." It is a beautiful song, works well in a round, AND has a great dance which can also be performed in a round! Yes, it is a great song for 4/4, for half note, and for low ti, but it is also just a great song to sing, especially to get students singing again after break!
Here is the notation:

And here are my 3rd graders performing it in a round:

I hope you all have a wonderful first day back, and that your students remember just as much as you think they should. :) Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

1 comment

  1. Thank you for the great ideas! I'm struggling to get my head around getting back into the swing of things. These are wonderful activities to simply connect with students again.


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