Are you interested in planning following the Kodály method?
Do you want an easy and FREE template to follow?
I have to confess: I’m a nerd for lesson planning structures.
When I went through my certification in Kodaly, one of the things that blew my mind is how lesson planning in an intentional way will enhance instruction many times over.
Pacing things out intentionally increases engagement, undesired behavior, and, more importantly, learning!
There are many variations in how to plan lessons, but with a good Kodály lesson plan template, you’ll be able to do it with ease.
Kodály lesson plan templates include different “chunks” and are well-paced to increase engagement and ensure all learning styles are reached. The most common setup includes:
- Warm-up/Opening Song
- Learning Chunk I
- Change Of Pace/ Movement
- Learning Chunk II
Keep scrolling to read about each chunk and see the free lesson plan template.
Kodály Lesson Plan Template Breakdown
In this section, I’ll go over the chunks of a lesson.
Each chunk is around 5-7 minutes long, with room to stretch it out or shorten it depending on your students’ age.
The template is based on 30 minutes.
Later on, I talk about adapting the template for other time frames.
You may also want to check out my Survival Pack: 9 Weeks of Online Music Lessons.
These chunks start the moment students enter your room.
I have students walk in and follow me around the room in a circle.
As we do, I say “Hello class!” and they respond, “Hello V!”
I’ll vary how I say it and even begin to sing it using whatever pitches we’re focusing on lately.
Once we’re in place, I quickly go over any I Can statements we’re using and jump right into a warm-up.
A warm-up includes non-specific sirens and sounds to get the vocal cords moving.
It’s best to start up high and use descending sirens at first to access the head voice.
Then, I graduate to specific pitches using the first song we’re going to play.
Echo songs work really well here (click the link to check out some of my favorites).
Short songs with simple games work here, too, as long as they’re active and don’t require too much thinking.
The point here is to get them engaged right away and making music.
Learning Chunk I
The first learning chunk we spend typically contains some of the following characteristics:
- Visual learning activity
- Later preparing of concepts (right before you teach it)
- Early practicing of concepts (when the concept is new)
- Longer independent or small group activities
Students learn better earlier in a lesson.
It’s when they’re the freshest.
It makes sense then to include more complicated or newer knowledge earlier, then.
Too often, it’s easy to forget to tie the learning into real songs.
Use a song that shows the concept you’re focusing on and tie it in to what you’re teaching.
It’s also a good idea to have the students sing and play with the song or piece of music.
Change Of Pace/ Movement
After slowing things down and focusing on “learning” a musical concept, it’s time to raise the energy again.
Some Kodály inspired teachers call this a change of pace.
I almost-always use a movement activity here.
Whether it’s a play party, chase game, folk dance, expressive movement, or whatever, I want my students to move with music.
Here is the perfect place to also include classical music or music students aren’t as familiar with.
John Feierabend’s Move It! DVDs are an excellent resource you should check out. Click the link to see it on Amazon.
Move It! Movements are all natural moves that connect with the feeling of the classical pieces they follow.
My students love them.
For more structured and traditional folk dances, it doesn’t get better than the New England Dancing Masters. My personal favorite in their series is Alabama Gal.
The dances in this book vary in difficulty and style, but all are doable and engaging for your students. Click the link to check the price on Amazon.
Learning Chunk II
After raising the energy, it’s time to bring it back down for some more focused learning on a musical concept.
In this chunk, the idea is that students should spend time on a concept that’s low stakes.
By this, I mean something they are pretty familiar with already.
It’s here Kodály-inspired teachers tend to use kinesthetic, aural, creative, or instrumental activities.
Small group or independent work goes well here too.
Just like before, I strongly encourage you to include and connect the musical concept with a song or piece of music of some kind.
Musical concepts on their own are useless.
Musical concepts only have value because it helps to better understand real songs and pieces.
Kodály teachers love teaching concepts and developing learning sequences, but you always need to bring it back to the music.
At the end of your lesson, include a closing of some kind.
There are few ways to do this.
Every way should be calm and passive on the part of the students.
They’ve just gone through an exhaustive lesson and need to calm down.
Many Kodály books recommend you sing a complicated song as a demonstration of higherl-level singing.
Another option is to introduce songs they’ll learn and use in future classes.
Feierabend adapts this through the this of Songtales. Check them out on Amazon by clicking the link:
Teachers also put song-related storybooks in here.
One thing I do is also include YouTube videos on other types of music, ensembles, and genre.
Some teachers may turn their noses at this, but I think a big part of my job is to introduce students to as many styles of music as possible.
YouTube is a great resource for this (as long as you approve it first!).
Consider searching and checking out some of these:
- Danza! Too many zooz
- Blue Man Group
- Cello Wars
- Ohio State Marching Band Movie Halftime
- Line Rider Mountain King
- House of Sound
- The Music Show
- I Will Go The Distance a capella
Adapting For Longer Lesson Times
For those who have longer lesson times, it may seem like a struggle to reach your time limit.
I spent most of my career teaching in 30 minute lessons.
Then, at my latest school, I switched to 45 minute lessons.
I actually really like it, but it took some thought to make it work.
With older students, it’s not hard to adapt the structure from above.
Just make your learning chunks longer by getting deeper into the concept.
Spent more time being picky and getting them better.
You may also want to include another movement or “game” chunk before the closing.
With younger grades, this doesn’t work as well.
They can’t pay attention as well past 7 minutes of time.
In this case, add another movement/game chunk and make a learning chunk III.
Yes, this means you’re now planning up to 7 parts of a lesson, but the engagement will be much higher.
Download The Template
Download the template by clicking the button here.
I hope this article, guide, and Kodály lesson plan template help you in making musical experiences with your students.
The planning may seem like a pain, but having your steps set up ahead of time allows you to better respond to how students are doing and change course to serve their needs better.
Give it a shot and let me know how it went!
You may also want to check out the best Kodály method books.