Managing Space in Music
Music can occur absolutely anywhere
How much space?
Music learning can take place in a room of any size, or outdoors. However, music performances may require careful consideration and will depend on the intended effect, the number of students in Ensembles are groups of musicians playing together., the type of instruments being played and the positioning, if any, of the music director/conductor. You may decide that an intimate engagement between the artists and a few audience members, akin to a street arts type of performance, is desired. For this, you may be able to set up anywhere, or have your students perform as wandering minstrels, with no specific area defined. Most music performers will simply need a space to be seated and room for a music stand about an arm’s length away. Larger instruments such as pianos, drum kits and other large-tuned percussion instruments need more space and may need to be restricted to use in established performance areas of your school. Alternatively, such instruments can be stored near your classroom and brought out for rehearsals.
Where do I find space?
In selecting your music performance space, simply take a walk around the school as a first step. Consider lunchtime eating areas. Consider your own classroom. If there are rooms in the school that are standing idle, then claim them. Don’t restrict yourself to traditional performance spaces such as assembly halls, but if they are standing idle, then why not use them? Many teachers simply look at their own crowded classroom and make a mental note that music performance won’t fit, while completely forgetting the open areas nearby around the school or that their classroom can be quickly altered. There may even be some parks or community halls just around the corner from your school that might work beautifully for you. Music doesn’t always need a lot of space, especially for smaller group events. For larger audience events, you may be able to set up an open-air performance space by positioning seating (logs, forms, chairs) outdoors.
Using my own classroom
Your own classroom will generally work very well for music learning. Most music activities can be conducted at regular school desks. If you need the desks cleared away, this can be managed quite quickly. Electronic keyboards transform a classroom into a keyboard lab quickly and easily, especially if they use rechargeable battery packs. Keyboards can be stacked in storage and quickly brought out and placed on student desks for rehearsal. Students can also take the keyboards outdoors to practise. Headphones can be used to protect the rest of the class from hearing everyone else practise and can enable the teacher to isolate students for a group performance by getting those particular students to unplug their headphones. Ukulele bands are easy to establish. Instruments are available in most toy stores and can also be acquired cheaply from music stores. and/or guitars are fast becoming the instrument of choice for school ensembles, as these instruments are small and easy to store, as well as very cheap and hardy. They are also easy to learn, with a growing repertoire of popular pieces becoming available online. Recorders have been popular classroom instruments for decades, and are available in music stores, toy stores and some newsagencies. and fifes are also easy to use in any space. Percussion instruments suitable for the classroom range from bongos and wood blocks through to xylophones and glockenspiels. are easy to store and use and students enjoy the variety of sounds they can make.
Tailoring an area for use as a music space
Consider establishing a music zone in or near your classroom. Very little will need to be done to set it up. You will simply need to make sure your instruments are handy.