50 Ways to Make Music More Fun
I'm always looking for simple ways to make music more fun for my children, and me! If you're like me, sometimes all you need is a simple IDEA to get you started.
I've compiled the following list of 50 ways to make music more fun. Take a few of these ideas and try them out on your children today and watch, I bet you they'll be coming back for more!
Scroll to the bottom of the list to download a printable PDF with all 50 ideas!
50 Ways to Make Music Fun
1) 360 Degree Orchestra Tour - Watch and listen to a 360 degree online orchestra tour through YouTube. Take a peek at what it feels like to be sitting as a real member of an orchestra. There are multiple to choose from online!
2) Play Musical Chairs - This age old game is still fun at any age! Grab one less chair than there are people walking around them. Set the chairs up in two lines with their backs facing each other. Have one person be designated as the music player. Have the music player start any music. This is the cue for everyone to start walking around the chairs. The music player can stop the music at any time. Once the music stops, the people walking around the chairs rush to find a seat. The person left without a seat is “out.” Pull out one chair and continue the game until there is one winner.
3) Acoustic Exploration - Find 10-15 different spaces either in your house, workshop, outbuilding, in stores, church sanctuary, gazebos etc.. Explore the acoustics by having the group sing or speak loudly in the space to hear the different sounds our voice makes in those spaces. Write down your findings in a note book.
4) Symbol Music - Write on a piece of paper some symbols and write a meaning for them (ie. circle means clap, triangle means stomp, square means tap your legs.) Practice the order of your symbols with the appropriate hand motion and then work on speeding up the “tempo” at which you perform it at. This helps children recognize a symbol with a gesture, similar to that of music notes and dynamics.
5) Name that Composer - Put 5 -10 classic pieces on a playlist and spend some time listening to each piece with your child. Make sure the child is familiar with who the composer of each piece is. At the end of the week, quiz them on the music by playing a short excerpt and asking them to remember who the composer is and what the name of the piece is.
6) DIY Drum Kit - Make a drum kit out of household items like pots and pans - Google the basic setup of a drum kit and set up your toms, snare and bass drum accordingly. Use a pair of cooking utensils as drum sticks!
7) Learn the Recorder - This instrument is used in basic music classes for a reason! It doesn’t take much skill to learn the recorder and is a wonderful way to learn basic notes and rhythm. Plus, they are one of the least expensive instruments to purchase!
8) Make a Musical Instrument - From maracas to string boxes, to trumpets and kazoos, the world is full of wonderful instruments to make at home! Many of our PRELUDE lessons have ideas and instructions on how to make some of these mentioned. You can find PRELUDE available for purchase here or create your own!
9) Choreograph a Rag Dance - Make up your own choreography to a rag! Moving to the music of Scott Joplin will be sure to thrill your children. The upbeat tempo of rags are the perfect dance song that lets kids become creative with rhythm. Check out this lesson I created which includes an opportunity to design your very own choreography to Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag!
10) Find the Beat in Nursery Rhymes - Find popular nursery rhymes like Pat-a-cake and others with a steady beat. Listen to how words create syllabic rhythm while saying them. Add the hand motions if you remember them!
11) Explore the Violin, Guitar & Piano - Discover the sounds of the violin, guitar and piano with this free resource called “A Musical Landscape.” It explores all three instruments in a fun and engaging way and even includes a fantastic inside view of the workings of a piano.
12) Hear The Sound Game - Place a device with music playing or a toy that makes noise in a room in a hidden spot. Have your children walk into the room and try to find where the music is coming from. This is a test in using their ears! Winner gets to be the one who hides the device a second time.
13) Learn More About Jazz - Did you know within Jazz music there are many different styles within the genre? Impress other family members by having your children learn the difference between swing, rhythm and blues and more with this lesson. It incorporates listening activities and a jazzy craft too!
14) Draw What You Hear - This simple activity is one of the primary music appreciation activities I use with children. Hand them a piece of paper, turn on a classical music favourite and have them start drawing what they hear. If you want to up your game, I’ve created monthly listening calendars with pre-selected musical masterpieces that I believe every child should know! You can find it as a monthly calendar or buy a years worth as part of your morning school routine.
15) The Stair Game - This is a simple solfege game played on a set of stairs. Place 8 cards that are labelled Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti and Do on 8 of the steps. Tape the Do on the lowest stair and place the others in order. Have the child start on a pitch humming “do”. Practice going up a whole step singing for each step taken. Practice, walking up, backwards and skipping over stairs meanwhile humming the appropriate solfege tone.
16) Watch a Live Music Performance - Take in a live performance of an orchestra, musical or ballet.
17) Watch The Piano Guys - Peek inside a real piano with an awesome YouTube video of the Piano Guys playing “What Makes You Beautiful.” Watch it here.
18) Learn About Brass Instruments - Do you have children who just like to make brash noises around the house all day?! Perhaps this activity will help them put those noises into a productive activity with Trumpets, Trombones and French Horns. Find an informative and fun lesson here.
19) Visit a Music Store - When is the last time we walked into a music store just so we could explore and learn about different instruments? Likely never! Arrange a trip to the music store with your family or school group and have them show you around. Most music stores are very gracious in allowing students to hold and try out an instrument of their choosing.
20) Learn How to Scat Sing - This idea could go hand in hand with number 13 and as an add on to the jazz lesson in PRELUDE. I’ve sourced a simple way to learn how to scat sing in your own home! “The Scat Kitchen” has multiple tutorials on how to scat sing by repeating after her on scat syllables. I wish I would have had this tutorial when I was in high school jazz choir!
21) Silk Scarf Dancing - Dance to the sounds of classical music with some scarves or shawls you have hanging in the closet. Kids love it!
22) Carnival Of The Animals Charades - Listen to Saint-Saens’ Carnival Of The Animals and have children decide (without knowing ahead of time) which animal is being represented by the instruments. To add more fun, print off this free Carnival Of The Animals lesson to round out your musical learning time.
23) Look at Some Musical Scores - This activity is more geared towards older kids but wouldn’t it be fascinating to see what an actual conductor’s score looks like no matter the age? To most, it looks like a looooong page of jumbled parts being played at the same time but when you hear it being played, it’s magical! Check out this free site www.imslp.org and type in Beethoven’s 5th conductor’s score. Print it off or take a look at all the various parts. Those that are keen can take out their hi lighters and mark the different parts in different colours. Violin in purple, Tubas in yellow etc…Have fun!
24) Singing Echos - Have a parent sing a line of a song and have the children “echo” back. This was actually the way most generations passed down songs from generation to generation before music was written out. This can be done for fun while driving in the car or even doing the dishes.
25) Make a Nature Orchestra - See what natural instruments you can find in the great outdoors. From two long pieces of grass held together to make a reed, to rocks rubbing together, to sticks tapping a drum beat, the world is full of natural instruments which can be turned into your very own nature orchestra!
26) Print & Colour Violin Poster - Print this violin poster and color in the different parts of the violin. See if your child can memorize the parts and re-tell them to you the next day. Look up some inspiring violinists and watch them play a piece of music. Add the piece of art to your music wall!
27) Listen to Audio Books about Music - Listen to some classical music audio books that retell fabulous fairy tales. ‘Your Classical Kids Storytime’ has fabulous options as well as Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf.’
28) Freeze Dance - This popular game is sure to be a winner in any home. Most streaming platforms have multiple variations of ‘Freeze Dances’. Pick one and prepare your floor to turn to lava!
29) Put on a Pretend Concert - Concert etiquette is something we rarely talk about with children. We tend to shy away from going to concerts with kids because we think they’ll be a distraction. With this lesson, you can become confident in bringing your children to concerts with a few easy tips and practicing a lot! Find this valuable lesson here.
30) Start an Instrument - If you aren’t ready to invest in real lessons with an instrument, no problem! Did you know many libraries loan musical instruments like guitars and ukulele’s? Alternatively, if your 5 year old is begging to play the violin check out this 6 week beginner violin course done right in the comforts of your own home!
31) Make a Toy Orchestra - It doesn’t take much to bring musical education into your home, especially when it includes LEGO! Google the orchestra layout, take a few LEGO pieces and create the sections of an orchestra on your own kitchen table. Hand your child a baton and have him act as the conductor. Want some more guidance? My orchestra lesson can be found here. This activity can also be done with Little People, stuffed animals or calico critters!
32) Compose & Record a Song - It’s as easy as it sounds! Make some notes on a sheet of paper on how you want to execute this composition. It could mean coming up with a set of words and/or notes and then perform it into a listening device either through audio or video.
33) The Musical Genres Game - Learn about different genres of music by creating signs labeled “JAZZ, CLASSICAL, RAP, ROCK and COUNTRY.” Place these signs around the room. Tell your kids a little more about each genre then play a sample of each on your phone and tell them to run to the genre sign they think the song is intended to be. Need some guidance? Check out my Western World music lesson here.
34) Glass Goblet Music - Fill varied levels of water into wine goblets. Add a different colour of dye into each cup to make it really fun. Use a utensil to hear the different pitches that the different levels of water make. Add or take away water to get your desired pitch.
35) The Marching Band Game - Use John Philip Sousa’s Marches to form your own marching band. Have children line up in two lines side by side. Have the front child be the conductor. Turn on one of Sousa’s marches and have the conductor be the leader, guiding the rest of the marching band where he wants them to go. Have the conductor try varied speeds of walking, standing still, creative choreography or formations according to what they hear in the music.
36) What Is That Sound? - Find 10 - 20 different instruments from inside your home or visual pictures online. Have children listen carefully to the sound it makes and have them tell you what instrument they are hearing without seeing what it is. Keep track of all the new instruments you’ve learned!
37) Me and My Baton - This game is best played with a small group of kids. Everyone gets a chance to hold their own “baton” with a pencil or stick. Have the conductor beat in a “triangle shape” to one of Johann Strauss’ waltzes in 3/4 time. Make sure the conductor knows beat one is the first heavy beat heading for the floor, the second beat is lighter going to the side and the third beat is lighter yet going up to the sky.
38) Movie Soundtrack Game - Play a variety of different songs that create an atmosphere; either tension, adventure, love, sadness or happiness and have the children act out their emotion in their movements and faces according to what they hear.
39) Bach Bingo - One of the most fun ways to put your instrument knowledge to test! Grab a bingo game card here and have the children listen to the instrument from one of Bach’s musical passages. Children must place the game chip on the instrument they hear. Bingo means you’ve gotten a whole row of game chips. Download the whole video lesson for FREE here.
40) Fruit Basket Beats - Put on a song that has an uptempo 4/4 tempo. Put 4 plates out on the table in a row. Grab a few apples and oranges. One apple on the plate means the child taps the table while one orange means a clap. Two apples mean two taps on the table, two oranges mean two claps. No fruit on the plate means just a blank beat. Practice a few times before you do it with music and mix up the variations of fruit on each plate.
41) Borrow 10 Library Books about Music - Some suggestions are: “Becoming Bach” - Tom Leonard, “Music Is For Everyone” - Jill Barber, “The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven” - Jonah Winter, “Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo” - John Lithgow, “Passing The Music Down” - Sarah Sullivan, “The Carnival Of The Animals” - Jack Prelutsky, “Young Mozart” - Rachel Isadora, “The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom” - Colleen Venable, “Family Dynamics” - Courtney Woodward, “The Music In George’s Head” - Suzanne Slade.
42) Watercolour Music - Turn on some jazz music and have children paint what they hear on some card-stock paper. Encourage them to use different colors that they hear in the music.
43) Music Around The World - Learn about interesting music from around the world with this hands on lesson from PRELUDE - an Introduction to Music for Children. It includes an opportunity to dive into three different styles of World Music plus you get to feast on both food and music at the same time! Get your copy here.
44) Go to an Outdoor Concert - There is something special about experiencing music in the park under the stars!
45) Tap that Rhythm - Have one child take a turn tapping rhythms on one side of the door while the other taps the rhythm back on the other side of the door. Rhythms can get more complicated as the child is able. Start with recognizable tunes like ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and ‘Jingle Bells.’
46) Make a Chocolate Bar Keyboard - Between white and dark chocolate you have the ability to make a full octave of chocolatey goodness! Print off a black and white keyboard and see if you can recreate it by using rectangle shapes of a Kit Kat bar for the black keys and rectangle shapes for the white keys using any white chocolate bar. For guidance, use this lesson.
47) Learn about the Life of a Composer - Find one composer your child is interested in and dive into their extraordinary life and music. Need a starting point? Check out these 12 composer lessons from Conversations With Composers.
48) Kitchen Band - Find pots, pans and metal objects in your house to create your own family band.
49) Vivaldi’s Four Seasons - Did you know you can explore all four seasons of Vivaldi’s music with the accompanying art and sonnets? Check it out here and save one season to study together over the 4 varying real-life seasons!
50) Learn to Waltz - Learn more about the waltz and Johann Strauss’ music with this entertaining lesson. Push back the couches and coffee tables and bring on a dancing tutorial. It’s fun for the whole family to do!