One of the biggest challenges for music educators is keeping your music students engaged in the classroom. Today’s students can struggle with feeling invested in their classwork. It is crucial that music educators evolve their lessons to cater to their students in order to maintain interest and engagement. Here are five tips that will help you keep your music students engaged:

Positive Attitude

The simplest way of keeping your music students engaged is to maintain a positive attitude. This can seem like a no-brainer, but there are still teachers today who approach their lessons with an apathetic attitude. Students will notice that, and be more inclined to tune out of lessons. Maintaining a positive attitude and having fun with your students is a great way to make your class fun and keep your students engaged.

Utilize Technology

Today’s students are more technically adept than ever. It has become increasingly important for all teachers to find a way to incorporate new technology in their classrooms in order to enrich their students’ learning experiences. There are a wealth of music education focused websites and apps that can help to add value to your lessons. Here are some of the most useful music education resources:

  • GarageBand – GarageBand from Apple allows the user to record and play back multiple audio tracks. Your students will also be able to pick from an extensive list of virtual instruments to play. This can be a great platform to give your students the ability to be creative and express themselves through music.
  • Note Trainer – Note trainer is a free iPhone, iPad, and Android app that teaches students how to read sheet music. The app caters to a wide range of skill levels and allows your students to gradually increase their reading ability and track their progress.
  • YouTube – YouTube can be a great resource for finding songs and videos. YouTube can be applied to the classroom to help students visualize a song for better understanding or to show videos of live performances.
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Teach Through Games

Teaching your lessons through the use of games can be one method of keeping your class fun and maintaining engagement. Games can offer students a fun alternative to typical lectures or textbooks. Introducing some low stakes competition into your lessons can be what leads to more engagement from your students. Games also allow your students to work with their classmates, which can foster a more collaborative and interactive learning environment.

Smaller, Shorter Activities

Another method of learning that will help to keep your students engaged is to segment your lessons into smaller activities. So as opposed to asking your students to complete one task in the duration of one class session, it can be beneficial to break up the class session into multiple activities. This will help your students maintain attention to the tasks, while also helping them to retain more of the material learned. Studies have shown that the brain prefers and learns better in shorter work segments.

Use Music Your Students Will Relate To

Using music that your students like and are more familiar with can be a great way to keep them engaged. Classical and baroque music have typically been the standard genre for music lessons, but today’s students can’t relate to that musical time period. Asking your students for suggestions about what songs they like and would like to learn how to play can go a long way to make your lessons more appealing to your students.

Keeping music students engaged can be tricky, but hopefully these tips provide some insight into how to maintain student engagement. Maintaining a positive attitude can rub off on your students. Using technology and teaching through the use of games can be a great way to make your lessons more interactive and enjoyable. Using music that your students like and can relate to will make the learning environment more comfortable for them.

Tim Ufer works with university graduate programs as a community outreach manager, with a concentration for career development in higher education. In addition to music education, Tim’s expertise includes business management, engineering leadership and entrepreneurship.