How to Teach Music if You Don’t Sing

Many teachers dread teaching music, and so they don’t teach it. Here are some ideas how to teach music even if you don’t sing:

  1. Chrome Music Lab – This website has a variety of musical activities that are fun and involve experimenting and composing. You can find lots of units and lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers to go along with this website.
  2. Bucket Drumming – or just regular drumming. Home Depot has orange buckets and many schools have a class set. You can find a ton of tutorials and songs to drum along to on YouTube. Students learn all about rhythm and teamwork!
  3. Recorders – Don’t groan! Recorders are an excellent introduction to instruments and again, most schools already have at least a class set. Recorder method books are cheap and again, you can find a ton of tutorials online. Once students learn a few notes, they often really enjoy being able to play songs they know!
  4. Ukuleles – For older students (who would not disdain to pick up a recorder), ukuleles are a great alternative. They are a bit more difficult and yet grade 6-8 students can still pick it up quite easily. As with the previous ideas, there are many videos on YouTube that teach how to play ukulele if you can’t find a method book.
  5. Orff instruments – This includes xylophones, triangles, maracas, cowbells and other instruments you can often find in a school. I usually have students share a xylophone as there is usually not enough for everyone to have their own, however there are at least 2 octaves on every xylophone and as we are only playing “Hot Cross Buns”, it works!
  6. Stomp – Stomp is a percussion group that uses garbage and found items to make music. Similar to bucket drumming, but with more imagination. Older students love making up their own routines! You can check out Stomp on YouTube.
  7. Boomwhackers – These are long, colourful sticks that schools often already have. Each boomwhacker is a different length and colour and sound. I like doing this unit in December as there are many Boomwhacker Christmas songs available for free if you Google it. Students read the music and hit their boomwhacker to make a sound when their colour comes up.

These are fun units I have done over and over. That is not to mention Music History, Music composition, Music in the movies and on TV units. Truly you can have great fun teaching your students music, even if you can’t sing!


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