Using Music for Transitions in the Classroom

Using Music For Transitions Classroom Management Strategy

Using music to cue transitions in the classroom is helpful for a lot of reasons;

  • Students can focus on the task at hand knowing that they'll have a consistent, reliable signal that tells them when to pack up.
  • Students know not to pack up before the music sounds, but they also know that when they hear the song, packing up is not optional, but expected. This promotes accountability without suppressing independent learning.
  • Because the length of the chosen song is finite, students will quickly recognize the time frame in which they must get everything packed up.

And, of course, music transitions are a lot more fun than yelling out warnings or setting a timer!

Suggestions for implementing musical cues...

  • Describe and demonstrate, then practice together. Make sure your students understand the goal of the music and your expectations. We suggest playing the song so that they have a chance to listen to it all the way through. If it's an upbeat song, allow them to enjoy and react to the beat. Then, once they've had a chance to hear it, demonstrate how they are to respond when they hear the cue. Finally, have them practice with you! For younger children, repetition is the key and there may be a few kinks to work out along the way - i.e. they recognize that a song is playing, but may need a reminder as to what it's cuing - lunch, circle time, dismissal, etc. Don't worry though, they'll get the hang of it soon enough!
  • Automate the musical transitions. Here are some great guidelines for doing that through your computer!