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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Make Music Lessons Seasonal All Year Long

Confession: I'm not that music teacher who gets all excited about doing snow songs in winter, Halloween songs in October, or patriotic songs for certain holidays. A lot of that has to do with being raised in multiple continents and therefore having less of a strong association with holidays (which I think is a good thing considering our students don't all celebrate the same things). Another big factor has to do with my prioritizing concepts, and sequencing those concepts, over seasonal material in my lesson planning. Not that I don't do both- it's just not my priority. But I have found in the last few years that referencing seasons, holidays, and other events that are a part of my students lives (and on their minds) in my lessons gives students another point of connection to the material and helps keep things interesting when we're reviewing those fundamentals again and again throughout the school year.

I prefer incorporating seasons over specific holidays because we all experience the same seasons when we're living in the same location. The same cannot be said for holidays. While I don't completely steer clear of holidays- I don't mind referencing them occasionally as a side note as a fun way of bringing in specific students' experiences and interests into the classroom- I try to keep them less of a focus and I make sure to include a variety when I do.

A special note about winter: let's all remember that winter is not "THE holiday season"! There are lots of very significant holidays that happen at other times of year, or run on a different calendar and therefore coincide with different seasons depending on the year, particularly in non-Western cultures. Let's not add a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa song to our Christmas carols and pat ourselves on the back. Let's also remember that not every holiday uses singing as a primary means of celebration/ recognition. Just because there aren't a lot of children's songs about it doesn't mean it's not a significant holiday. See how complex this gets?

Although I have found ways to incorporate seasonal song material as well, my favorite ways to reference seasons is with other small changes I incorporate into existing lessons, like manipulatives and visuals. It's an easy way for me to continue to keep the emphasis on sequencing concepts while also incorporating seasonal "material"! Click below to see lots of specific ideas that I use for each season:

What other ideas do you have for incorporating the seasons into your music lessons? I'm still a newbie in this area, so I'd love to hear your ideas (and I'm sure other readers would as well)! Leave a comment below if you have a favorite to share.

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