When Classes Miss Music

Field trips, delayed openings, snow days, and assemblies can cause students to miss music class. How can you keep all your students on the same page in your lesson plans? Here are some ideas from the General Music Forum.

Extend lessons for classes that are ahead.

  • Do a game/review day (maybe with Rhythm Bingo).
  • Extend an activity, adding instruments or doing a harder part.
  • Ask the class to pick favorite songs from their textbook. “Kids love the opportunity to be in charge.”
  • Keep a few stand-alone lessons for each grade (a listening activity or learning about a composer) that aren’t sequential and can be done anytime. Use these when a class is ahead, or save them for a substitute.

Be flexible in your plans.

  • Put “make-up days” into your year-long lesson plans for when things get busy.
  • Avoid scheduling critical lessons at busy times of the year or when snow days could interfere.
  • Try switching class times with another teacher if you’re in a crunch before a performance.
  • Keep notes on each class’s progress, and pick up from where they left off.
  • Tweak your plan to catch up or double up on the learning sections. For example, if you normally begin with a warm-up, introduce a main learning segment, and end with a fun activity, skip the warm up, focus on two learning segments, and end with a fun activity if time allows.

—Linda C. Brown, February 3, 2010, © National Association for Music Education (nafme.org)