Promoting Leadership in Music Class

Wow, I have really gotten out of the blogging swing of things haven’t I? I feel a little ashamed of neglecting my poor little blog. Between work and grad school things are a little  busy these days!


21st Century Skills, a frame work for educators that keeps in mind skills that are necessary for students to practice and eventually master before they enter life after school. How to cook, how to balance a checkbook, operating a computer, listening, being flexible, creative, knowing how to collaborate with others, simple skills that you might be teaching already or might not be. I know when I went to and started to look at what these skills were, I reflected hard and realized I could have been doing so much more.

Leadership stood out in this list of skills necessary for students to master. Why? because we certainly have started to do less and less of it and we need to do so much more. I know so many teachers who have a hard time giving up the front of the room to someone else. In order to teach students how to lead, the best teachers give a little bit of their time to their students. I remember having one student who was the most quiet one in the class, I coaxed her to lead one activity, and by the end of it she had gone from the quietest to the most outspoken but in a great way. She went on to do great things and always thanked music class for helping her break out of her shell.

Leadership encompasses other skills like responsibility, accountability, and flexibility into one super skill. They learn so much by just by learning how to lead.

What things can you do to promote leadership in your music classroom?

Leading Activities: from showing off their mad recorder skills and teaching the class their next song to using interactive activities like the ones in Quaver. It doesn’t have to take a full class. 5 minutes of time to lead an important part of the day while you step back to guide and support can be such a difference. Have a new “conductor” each class, or have a “teacher assistant” who takes attendance and starts off class or ends it. Teaching and learning is a collaborative effort.

Discovery Learning: Can start out as a project, or maybe just a center or even the motivation to go learn more! Give students the responsibility and choice over some of their learning and let them go where their interests lie. It relates to their life, they feel like the leaders of their own educational ship, and it allows you as the teacher to step back and give them a bigger role as they sail their own learning ship.

Choice: Biggest out of all three and so easy to do. Give them a choice at the end of class on how to line up, choose a song to move to, maybe even fix up your agenda to a way they want it. If you set down lines early they will know how far they can go without going too far.

Little things like this make them better, ready to make the world an even better place because they are not afraid to stand up and make it right. How do you practice being a leader in music class? What activities do you do that they can lead?




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