How to Make Your Middle School Music Classroom Come Alive


Bright colors, interesting visuals and stimulating sounds invite students into your middle school music classroom to learn about the ever-changing world of music. You can add visuals on the walls, bulletin boards, furnishings and even the floor and ceiling. Listening to music during transitions or during class activities can help your classroom come alive. From music theory, the music of other cultures and the many epochs in musical history, you have more options than you can use in a year.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper musical notes
  • CD labels
  • CDs
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Paint and paintbrushes (optional)
  • MP3 player
  • Music album covers
  • Broadway musical posters
  • Transparency film
  • Musical instruments
  • Display your class rules using a musical theme. Consider placing each rule on a musical note and placing the notes on a musical staff corresponding to the first measures of your school song. Or change the notes sometimes and ask students to name the tune. You could also print CD labels with one rule on each label. Attach each label to a CD and create a musical path with the discs.

  • Print or paint colorful musical scores on the walls, floors or large pieces of furniture. If your scores are printed, you can change them regularly. Ask the students for suggested scores or select music your students enjoy. Alternatively, display one or more scores from your composer of the month if you include music history in your curriculum.

  • Use colorful record album covers, CD covers or posters from musicals to decorate part of your classroom. If you are studying music during a specific time period or genre, your covers could display the most popular piece in that category. Play one selection during class transitions, such as when students are entering or leaving the classroom. Award class points for the student who first identifies each selection.

  • Print footprints on clear plastic transparencies and place them in dance step patterns on the floor, challenging middle school students to master each dance. Diagram various kinds of dances during the year, including folk, ballroom, line and square dances.

  • Display instruments on the walls. Include ethnic instruments, such as Native American drums and pipes, Scottish bagpipes and pan flutes and African rattles and wind instruments. Play transition music that uses these instruments, and challenge your middle school students to name the instruments in the recording. Encourage your students to experiment with instruments. Consider using pictures of musicians in ethnic costumes as your class studies these instruments.

  • Create a whimsical display of animals playing various instruments. You can use commercially produced pictures or challenge your students to create their own pictures. Use Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” to decide which animal plays a specific musical instrument.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get student input on what works and what doesn't.
  • Challenge students to interact with some displays, such as moving notes around on the staff to create a new musical composition.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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