Are you an elementary music teacher looking for some fun and engaging activities to keep your students entertained during testing season? Well, look no further! I know how tough it can be to keep your students quiet and focused during these testing periods. So I’ve put together a list of five quiet music activities that are sure to keep your students engaged and entertained while also reinforcing their music knowledge.
Music Coloring Pages
Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love to color? Simply print out some music-themed coloring pages, such as pictures of music notes, instruments, and musicians, and let your students get to work. Connect it to music class by using color-by-note (rhythms or note names), coloring instruments based on their instrument families, or learning about a composer and coloring a portrait of them. You can even use coloring pages to create classroom decor or bulletin board sets that give students extra ownership over the room. I’ve had students color a musical alphabet and hung it in the front of the room. Not only did students get to help decorate the room themselves, but I saw so many kiddos come back and reference those posters when talking about instruments!
This is a great way to keep your students engaged and quiet during testing time or any other situations where noise needs to be kept to a minimum.
Music puzzles can come in many forms, from crossword puzzles to word searches and even jigsaw puzzles. Kids are usually familiar with how to complete puzzles, which means less teaching for you!
Two popular puzzle types are the crossword puzzle and the word search. There are tons of great crossword puzzles and word searches online covering topics like rhythm, genres, certain pieces of music (like Carnival of the Animals), or really anything else you might be covering in class.
For a more hands-on approach, try creating a music jigsaw puzzle. Simply print out a picture of a musical instrument or composer and laminate it or glue it onto a piece of cardboard (optional). Then, cut the picture into puzzle pieces and challenge your students to put it back together. There are also matching puzzles like these recorder puzzles that make students use their musical knowledge to put the puzzle pieces together. This is a great way to reinforce music knowledge while also working on fine motor skills.
Music Memory Game
Music memory games are a fun and engaging way to improve memory skills while learning about music. These games involve matching pairs of cards, with each card featuring a picture of an instrument, composer, or musical symbol. The goal of the game is to match all the pairs of cards while remembering the location of each card.
To create a music memory game, start by gathering pictures of instruments, composers, or musical symbols. You can find many free resources online, or you can create your own by printing out pictures or drawing them by hand. Laminate them or glue the pictures onto index cards and shuffle them so that the pictures are face down.
Music memory can be played individually or in teams, making it a great activity for both small and large groups. To play the game, have your students take turns flipping over two cards at a time. If the cards match, the student gets to keep the cards and take another turn. If the cards do not match, the student must turn them back over and it becomes the next player’s turn. The game continues until all the pairs of cards have been matched.
Music memory games can be customized to fit any level of music knowledge, from beginner to advanced. For example, you can include pictures of basic instruments for younger students, and more advanced instruments or composers for older students. You can also include pictures of musical notation and symbols, such as treble clefs and sharps. You could even have students help you create their own music memory sets!
Music Mad Libs
Music mad libs are a fun and engaging activity for elementary music students. They are a variation of the traditional mad libs game, where players fill in the blanks with various words to create a silly or funny story. In music mad libs, the story revolves around music-related vocabulary and can be a great way to reinforce music theory and terminology.
To create a music mad lib, start by creating a story with blanks for various parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. For example, you could start a story like this: “The _______ played their _______ at the _______.” Then, provide your students with a list of music-related words to fill in the blanks, such as instrument names, musical terms, and locations. (To add an extra layer of challenge and fun, have students come up with their own terms – you may just want to have a chat about school-appropriate vocab first, though!)
Once your students have filled in the blanks, read the story aloud with their words included. The result is often a funny and unexpected story that combines music terminology with creative language. For example, “The tubas played their polka at the zoo” is a silly sentence that combines an instrument name, a musical genre, and a location.
Music mad libs are a fun and engaging way to reinforce music vocabulary and grammar, as well as to encourage creativity and imagination. They can be easily customized to fit any level of music knowledge, from beginners to more advanced students. Plus, they are a quiet activity, perfect for those times when noise needs to be kept to a minimum.
Musical charades is a fun and interactive game that combines music and acting. The game involves acting out a song, musician, or music-related term without speaking, while the other players try to guess what it is. (Some examples could be KISS, Rachmaninov, crescendo, or staccato.) It’s a great way to get students up and moving while also reinforcing music concepts and terminology.
I’ve played this game two ways before:
Play it in Teams
Start by dividing your class into two teams. Each team will take turns selecting a song, musician, or music-related term to act out. The actor must then try to convey the chosen item through gestures and facial expressions without speaking, while the other team tries to guess what it is.
Play it Telephone-Style
Have the entire class stand in a line, facing away from the first person in line. The first person in line comes up with a song, musician, or music-related term and tells it to you. They then tap the person behind them (whose back was to them until this point) and silently show them their charade. That person then turns and taps the next person and shows them, so on and so forth until it gets to the end of the line. It might sound simple, but you’ll quickly see that even without trying, the message will get hilariously messed up!
Musical charades can also be a great way to incorporate movement into your music lessons. By acting out songs and musical terms, your students will be able to physically embody the music, which can help deepen their understanding of it. Additionally, it’s a great way to get students up and moving, which can be especially beneficial during testing season when students may be more sedentary than usual.
I know that testing season can be stressful for everyone, but these quiet music activities can help ease the tension and keep your students engaged and entertained. Plus, they are a great way to reinforce music knowledge and vocabulary while keeping the noise level low. So, why not give them a try? Your students are sure to love them!