Image Map

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Lesson Warmups to Practice Listening / Responding

I've been using student-led warmups at the beginning of my elementary general music lessons for years now and I am a big fan! I've gotten a lot of questions about the warmups I do and how I do them, so today I'm sharing my favorite warmups to practice listening to and responding to music.

In this post I'm focusing on warmups that help students practice listening to and responding to music in different ways. Most of my warmups are focused on practicing/ reviewing a basic skill or concept I want my students to practice regularly. Including these warmups gives me a chance to introduce students to musical genres, artists, and styles I may not be able to incorporate into my lessons as often, and gives students a chance to practice and review music vocabulary.

You can read more about why I do student-led warmups and how I manage the logistics of warmups in general in this post, but essentially I have a small group of 2-4 students who are assigned to lead the warmup / opening activity / do now at the beginning of class. The idea is to keep it quick, easy, and low-pressure so everyone can be successful right from the beginning of the lesson.

1. Pick a song

I have a few slides premade with lots of tracks embedded in them, grouped in different ways- sometimes I intentionally have a wide range of all different tracks, and sometimes I have tracks that all represent one specific musical element, genre, or theme. Student leaders pick a track, we listen to a snippet of the track, and then I ask the class a question about it: identifying a musical element, asking them what characteristics of the focus genre they hear, etc.

2. Pick a question

This warm-up is similar to the previous one but in reverse. I have a song (usually a video recording of a performance) picked out, and each warmup leader chooses one element that the class will identify in the song (dynamics / tempo / timbres / mood / genre / etc). 

3. Be the DJ

For this one, rather than the class describing the music, the class responds to the music with movement. Each warmup leader chooses a track and the class "shows the music" with movement. This is when I tend to pull out the biggest variety of tracks for leaders to choose from so that it's easier for them to differentiate their movements.

4. Pick a prompt

This warmup gets students to use and think about musical vocabulary while also building conversational skills through circle discussion. I give the warmup leaders a category (instruments, musical genres, etc) and each leader chooses 2 things from that category. We go around the circle passing a talking piece (whoever is holding it is the only one that can talk) and each person chooses which one they would pick out of those two choices (like "trumpet or clarinet" or "hip-hop or K-pop").

5. Movement mirror

This warmup is similar to the steady beat warmups I shared in a previous post except the movements are slow and fluid and have no beat. I turn on some soft, ambient music (like you would hear in a spa) and have each leader take turns doing slow movements at the front of the room while the class mirrors their movements. The goal is for the leader to move slowly enough for the class to mirror their movements without having to wait to see it first.

There are so many fun ways to put students in charge and practice listening and responding to music, and they are so much fun! These only take about 3 minutes at the beginning of class and they are so easy. You can find my post on warmup activities for steady beat in here, my post on activities for rhythm here, my post on activities for solfege/ pitch here, and my post on activities for pitch letter names here. If you have any questions or more ideas please leave them in the comments!

No comments :

Post a Comment