21/100 “When I say ‘5’….”

The hardest part of teaching class music, I have found, is not the music teaching part at all.

Take this all-too-familiar scenario;

“Children, it is time to put the instruments away.” Your next words “Put the shakers carefully in the red box and the bells in the blue box” are drowned in a stampede of 30 children flinging instruments randomly in the general direction of the crates and then rampaging round the hall.


After you have gone into full-blast, red-faced, cross-and-shouty-mode in an attempt to restore order, you should remember that really, you have only yourself to blame!

Next time, try this: (use a soft, calm, voice)

“When I say ‘5’ I would like you to….” and then I give the instructions, again in a calm, soft(ish) manner. It’s so important not to make this sound like a fun and exciting activity!

If I need to stop someone from moving, I say “Wait until I say the number” (and now they are all poised to rush at me) “which is 3 plus 2” (and they sit back, tricked again).

I tend not to count up (or down) to the number ‘5’, as I have discovered that it introduces a sense of anticipation and the children will race to be first. Once I am sure that they know what they have to do, (“point to the blue bells box, point to the red shakers box, look at where you are going to line up”) I then just say “5” in a calm, unexcited tone of voice.

This has worked very well (so far – you can never be sure of anything).

.cat in a box


This entry was posted in Class Teaching, Lessons that have happened and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.