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Flashlight Routines that Teach Form

Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.

The first time I experienced using flashlights to demonstrate musical form was in a workshop by the talented and genius, Artie Almeida.  I love using them to keep students engaged and my students love them for their novelty.
Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.
For most flashlight routines that I have used in class I use two or three colors.  I use a large permanent marker and color in the lens. Depending on the marker, you may want to let it dry and then color it again.
Instead of using permanent markers, you could use colored plastic wrap and rubber bands.  I didn't like how often my rubber bands disappeared and turned into weapons, so after a time or two I decided this was not a good choice for me.

Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.
Flashlights
I chose inexpensive flashlights from the dollar store about bought about 10 more than my largest class because I expected some of them to break easily.  The batteries were pretty expensive, but with the help of a regional grant I was able to get enough to fill every flashlight.  

When using the flashlights sitting down, you get a large light on the ceiling.  It's pretty, but not very distinct or clear if your room isn't completely dark.  In the picture above you can see what it looks like when students are sitting.  In the picture below students were standing.  That produced a smaller, cleaner look to their light and it looked much better when we were all working together.

You could always buy smaller flashlights with a stronger beam to get the same effect.

Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.

Teaching Form
Before putting flashlights in their hands we listen to the piece of music.  We either follow a listening maps or we listen and create our own listening map.  This gives students the experience they need to be successful when they get the flashlights.

We label each section with a letter name and decide on an action for the flashlight.

Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.

Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.

This video is of one of my 5th grade classes and their first attempt at a flashlight routine to "Cantina Band".  This is an unedited, imperfect, completely authentic look at how this works in my classroom.  I love how at section D they are in awe of their own awesomeness!



Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.

I hope this inspires you to try using flashlights in your classroom.  Do you have any favorite pieces that would work well with flashlights?  I would love to learn about them.  Let me know in the comments.

Flashlight routines in music class can be used to reinforce form and keep students engaged and excited about learning.  This post shares routines for "Cantina Band" by John Williams and "March" from the Nutcracker as well as tips and tricks for using them successfully in your music classroom.


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5 comments:

  1. Love this idea!! There is always that moment at the end where they say "Can we do that AGAIN?!" I think my students would definitely say that with this idea! You are awesome, I want to be in your class!! haha Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Oh my goodness I love these ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. This is great for embedding the teaching of the word "distinguish", a CCS critical vocabulary word! Pinning!

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  4. Great to see this kind of blog. thanks for sharing with us.

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  5. This looks like so much fun! What a great idea!
    -Kacey with www.planningmorethanlessons.com

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