1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Motivating an uninterested child

Discussion in 'Music' started by jamestrumpet, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. jamestrumpet

    jamestrumpet New commenter

    <font size="2">Hello,</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">As some of you may know from all these posts that I am starting, I am going to be training for a PGCE next year in secondary music. So at the moment I want to know as much as possible through talking to teachers and gaining experience. </font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">The subject is a tricky one as I suppose it depends on the class and teacher, but how would you motivate a child at KS3, who doesn't want to learn music, and can see no point in learning music or music being part of their life? It&rsquo;s tricky and from the experience I have gained varies each time. One teacher I spent some time with sang the names of the children at registration to certain pitches and rhythms when taking the register. The children then had to sing back at the same pitch and rhythm, instead of 'yes miss'. It seemed to get the young musicians motivated. But when the lesson was underway, there were some children who were not interested or motivated by the lesson. This then seemed to lead to disruption in the classroom, which then leads to disciplinary procedures etc. Although this seemed to be the same in most of my other classroom experiences I have gained, there was another teacher that I spent some time with who was aware of the class and would then ask questions to those who seemed unmotivated, trying to gain there attention.</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">So how do you inspire or motivate children in lessons, especially when they don't want to learn at all?</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">Thank you.</font>
     
  2. jamestrumpet

    jamestrumpet New commenter

    <font size="2">Hello,</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">As some of you may know from all these posts that I am starting, I am going to be training for a PGCE next year in secondary music. So at the moment I want to know as much as possible through talking to teachers and gaining experience. </font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">The subject is a tricky one as I suppose it depends on the class and teacher, but how would you motivate a child at KS3, who doesn't want to learn music, and can see no point in learning music or music being part of their life? It&rsquo;s tricky and from the experience I have gained varies each time. One teacher I spent some time with sang the names of the children at registration to certain pitches and rhythms when taking the register. The children then had to sing back at the same pitch and rhythm, instead of 'yes miss'. It seemed to get the young musicians motivated. But when the lesson was underway, there were some children who were not interested or motivated by the lesson. This then seemed to lead to disruption in the classroom, which then leads to disciplinary procedures etc. Although this seemed to be the same in most of my other classroom experiences I have gained, there was another teacher that I spent some time with who was aware of the class and would then ask questions to those who seemed unmotivated, trying to gain there attention.</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">So how do you inspire or motivate children in lessons, especially when they don't want to learn at all?</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">Thank you.</font>
     
  3. Motivation and relevence are, in my opinion, absolutely key to getting young people (of any age) interested in music.
    It would be very unusual if a child doesn't like any music at all so finding out what they are listening to could be a starting point. Even if it's the football programme theme music, or a soap opera theme tune, a rock/pop song etc you can start from there and gradually increase their experience.
    Pachelbel's Canon in D, for instance, has been used in numerous pop songs (Pet Shop Boys, Kanye West etc) and that could be a good discussion/exploration point perhaps?
    I don't teach KS3 (I'm a post-16 teacher) but do do workshops and so on with KS3. They've really gone for Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries (!), John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and others. Beethoven has been described as "epic". Film music has also been a firm favourite - Lord of the Rings, Star Wars etc.
    I'm probably rambling now, sorry!
     
  4. jamestrumpet

    jamestrumpet New commenter

    Thanks Poem, thats really helped. Like you said, and from my experience, most learners will love music. Whatever music they love and listen to, I suppose it is the job of the teacher (in training) to find what they like and to work with that. But, what happens when you have a year 8 class of mixed ability and are studying British pop songs, maybe 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters'. There are some learners who really don't want to sing or learn this music. But how do you motivate them, and gain there interest in a song or genre of music that may be new and unusual?
    Thanks
     
  5. New and unusual things (not just music) are a bit scary for young people I think. They are desperately trying to juggle forging their own way in life as an individual whilst also conforming (i.e. doing what all of their friends are doing) too! I'm so glad that I was brought up in a house that reverberated with the sounds of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras (my father ignored the Renaissance period for some reason) and pop music of the day.

    Perhaps getting the children to participate in an active way would help them engage in the music. Keyboards and ICT could really help.
    As I said before, I don't teach in mainstream school but I do have a group of very disaffected BTEC First Diploma students every year and we've had great fun using Boomwackers to play basslines for various genres, including a fab blues!
    What about getting them to bring in a piece of music of their choice and drawing parallels to the music you'd like them to be engaged with?
    Good luck with it - it sounds an interesting challenge!
     
  6. It is essential to give them the skills they need to participate. All too often these children won't join in because they feel stupid or they think they can't do it - show them how to play a 4-beat drumbeat or a simple chord sequence, or even an easy samba part and give them lots of praise when they get it right. In the same vein, change the tasks regularly so they (1) don't have the excuse of getting bored and (2) have plenty of opportunities to succeed in one lesson.
    Share your learning outcomes with the kids throughout the lesson and keep referring to them - it really does motivate them, especially if they can see a visual representation of their achievements - eg a tick box, certificate, stamp on their book/worksheet/hand etc!
    Explore www.numu.org.uk if you haven't already found it, a fantastic tool for motivating even the most disinterested kids.
    I work in an inner city school which has been in special measures for just under a year so we get our fair share of unmotivated students! But at teh risk of angering some of the old-school teachers (no pun intended), most of it is about how the teacher plans and teaches the lessons, and the relationships he/she makes with the kids.
    Good luck witht eh course, music teaching is the greatest job ever!
     
  7. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    While I agree that that is a strategy which can motivate pupils (and one that I've often used myself), ultimately 99% of our pupils will engage with music in later life purely as listeners.
    How do you open their ears and minds to the wonderful world of music that is at their fingertips when the average teenager regards music as one of the few areas in which they, not teachers or other adults, are the sole arbiter of taste?
    Amongst other things, this is an area that depresses me when I see teachers writing that they will use such-and-such a board for GCSE, because it has the lowest percentage of marks for listening. Why? Listening is how most people engage with music! Why do music teachers abrogate their responsibilties and pretend that composing and performing are somehow essential? (The blame largely lies with QCA, but I'm so relieved that their bureaucrats and non-teaching "experts" have now been finally laid to rest - their departure leaves real music teachers a chance to assert what is important for us.)

     
  8. I used guitar hero snippets from Youtube to engage Year 9. I adapted the Musical Futures model and taught every child in YEar 9 to play the famous riffs to Smoke on the Water and Another One Bites the Dust - they learnt how to read tab and the Guitar Hero stuff of the actual songs they were about to learn really engaged them. We talked about how far people have got on Guitar Hero - linking it to relevant interests for them. With only 8 guitars, 8 amps and 26 kids in each class, each was rewarding to seeing them in small groups supporting each other with the task. Vey little behaviour issues. They then used these skills to move on to Stage 1 or Musical Futures which was far more successful than I could ever imagine!!
    I also go them creating a human drum kit then getting them to play the drums whilst the other kids played the riffs!!! I'm re-doing Stage 1 this term as YEar 9 were almost rioting coz they want to do it again!! Peri lessons have soared and respect for instruments has improved. Also my street-cred (a-hem!).
     
  9. You have received some excellent advice here.
    May I also suggest you go online and have a look at the Ron Clarke Academy. Next, go onto You Tube and learn to beatbox. Just type in beat box tutorial and off you go. It doesn't have to be complex.
    Sing Up have some great song suggestions like Halima Pakashoio with simple bass/drum vocal lines for boys. Register online and then download to your heart's content.
    Also, getting them to compose and so take ownership of the music is often helpfull. Kids sometimes subconciously resent always being talked to/sung at trather than being able to express themselves. Also, as a previous commenter noted, self esteem plays a huge part. Pupils will sometimes feign disinterest as a distraction from the fact they're actually shy. But who wants to lose their street cred admitting that?

    Finally, you can't win 'em all, much as you'd love to so don't let "perfect" become the enemy of the good eh?

    Best of luck with it all. I'd love to hear how you get on.


     
  10. If you have the resources, then the Musical Futures project is an excellent way to motivate pupils. We rotate our classes and they have a term on the project in Year 8 and a term in Year 9.

    Using music technology is also an excellent way to introduce staff notation and basic keyboard skills as well as sequencing and other ICT techniques. As people have said above, the Pachelbel Canon is an excellent starting point - in Year 8, we get pupils to sequence the original and then add their own drum patterns and bass lines on Cubase to update it.

    Our other really popular projects are what we call 'Inspirations'. We have a variety of different stimuli across different curriculum areas, including pictures, poems, historical figures, diary accounts, storyboards and film clips, and we get the pupils to compose short pieces for them within an hour. Being positive about their efforts gets them over the self-consciousness that kids have about composing, especially if you start from 20 second pieces and work up.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is to teach from the front as little as possible. Give out your explanations on worksheets or use powerpoints, VLE, intranet or whatever you have at your disposal. Most kids are able to pick stuff up from written instructions far quicker than you imagine, and it leaves you more time to spend trying to find a way in with the more difficult kids.

    Let us know how you get on - KS3 teaching is a great challenge!
     
  11. Hello, I'd like to add to this thread if I may and pose a similar question but at an older group of students (16-19). I teach the Access to Music/ Rockschool syllabus and have some issues motivating my students to practice some of the material given (they balk at the thought of applying any theory to their playing). I've tried analysing some of their favorite songs that they have bought to class, showing them what their favorite artists are doing, but had little joy in motivating them to practice arpeggios or scales- even when they are put in the context of a song. Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you
     
  12. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    Graduation by Vitamin C = yet another Pachelbel Canon rip-off. Anyone know of any others?
     

Share This Page