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Does anyone play any muscial instruments in class/lesson? 
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
Post Does anyone play any muscial instruments in class/lesson?
Does anyone play any muscial instruments in their classes/lessons?

I play the guitar and I have thought about playing it instead of using the CD for some of the kids songs

but I use flash cards alot (as most of my kids are quite young)

and if I play the guitar I can't point to the cards etc???

but I like the idea of speeding up and stopping at random (having fun)

hhmmm? is it worth it?

what do you others do? any ideas?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 5:01 pm

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:03 am
Posts: 71
Location: Athens, Greece
I have been playing the guitar in class for over a decade. It works fine.
You can always ask a student to point at the flashcards. I use songs as a sort of spelling and reading exercise as well. Whenever I teach them a new song,
I write the lyrics on the board and they have to write each line in capital letters as well. This gives early finishers something to do. The slower writers have to finish this for homework. Then everytime we sing, until they learn the song by heart, they are supposed to read the lyrics so it is good reading exercise.
In the beginnin I used to give them handouts with the lyrics but this proved inefficient. They tend to lose the handouts, then the copying work, which they are motivatied to do since they like singing, is lost.
I teach regular children's songs. For example Billy Boy when I have taught them the use of "Can", "Good night ladies: for "going to future:.
I also teach songs that have grammar that will be learnt later.For instance "1,2,3,4,,5 Once I caught a fish alive" when past tense is not even in sight. In this way when we get to those lessons they are already familiar with the forms of the structures and have to learn only the uses. By the end of the year each class can sing for more than half an hour in English, which I feel is a gain. I also record them and each student gets his own cassette as a souvenir of our English class.
Ten little Indians , is a good song to teach numbers up to ten, then you can use it to teach numbers from 11 to 20 (John Brown had eleven Indian...) then you sing it with numbers from 10 to 100. In this way they practise numbers in a happy way.
But also teach more difficurt songs as well like "Cindy" Susanna: "Mountain Dew". With such songs I justs give them the first stanza and the Chorus in one class and each following class they get a new stanza until all the song has been learnt. They are advised to leave space free in their notebooks for the rest of the song.
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions please ask them.

Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:22 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
I think it's a great idea if you can do it. I have long thought I would learn guitar just to play it in class, but to this day I can still only play 'living on a prayer.' And that's just from my rockin' JHS days when i memorized it to impress the ladies. (My sisters weren't that impressed BTW.)

If you still want to use the flash cards, go ahead. The kids love it when you seem flustered or drop things. Try to grab the flash cards mid stream a couple of times and I'm sure it will draw enough attention to them that the students can follow along. Or, pin them on the board and make quick gestures toward them mid song.

I don't do a lot of music because I can't play the guitar and I'm not that big on CDs either. I generally go accapella which can seem much like a Mark concert at times. You can still do the speeding up/slowing down thing that way.

A new podcast about how and what I do with music has recently been posted at If you got the time, check it out. It's more for young adults to adults.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:29 pm
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
another issue for me is that I get man handled and over powered by
the over enthusiastic kids all the time ...

I can handle that ...

but I am not so sure about my nice guitar ... wouldn't last one lesson !!

... I am sure one kid will go for it?

Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:00 pm

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:03 am
Posts: 71
Location: Athens, Greece
Mark< i can't play the guitar well myself. I can only play 3 accords on my guitar, and i have tuned it to match my voice. I am Alto so my guitar is tuned in such a way that I can sing along. I can play only lively, happy, maggiore songs. THe sad minore ones are out of reach for me. With this little knowledge however I have taught my students over the years numberless songs. The guitar is there to give them the rhythm,to accompany the singing, not to offer the melody. The melody comes from your singing.
I have even successfully performed with my students in end of year school shows, or Christmas shows, with parents and inspectors invited. Been much congratulated. :D So there isn't reallly much need of good guitar skills.
En extra bonus to all this is that I have found that by the end of each school year at least 5 of my students have had their parents buiy them a quitar and have started music lessons, which really makes me feel I have touched their lives in a good way.
Since almost everybody would like to help me carry the guitar to the teacher's room after class. I have had to make guitar carrying lists in some of my classes, so that there would not be any complaints for being left out, which of course led to improved reading skills, through deciphering the names to see when one's turn was due. Aren't kids lovely!!! :)

Wed Jun 07, 2006 9:24 pm
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