6 MORE fun icebreakers to start the year in middle school music

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Back-to-school season is in full swing, so it's time to start thinking about fun and engaging activities to liven up your middle school music classroom! As middle school and college teachers, we know how important it is to break the summer ice in a fun and meani

Here are six MORE icebreakers to the rescue (check out last year's edition for even more ideas) to help high school music students get to know each other better, learn names, brush up on their musical brains, and start the new year building community! All have been time tested in my middle school classroom and I hope your students love them as much as mine do!


#1: The Clap Game


I'm sure many of you are familiar with the classic music classroom icebreaker game Pass the Beat, but if you're looking for something more challenging to do with your older or more advanced students, you'll love the Clapping Game.


It works like this:


Students will start in a circle and take turns to the rhythm of the room. However, the type of rhythm the student claps will determine where it goes.

The letter "Ta" sends a punch to the person forward.

"Ti-Ti" sends the beat backwards.

"Tika-Ti" causes the beat to skip a person in the same direction.

Students are off when students are not accurate, clap when they shouldn't, or don't clap when they should. The game continues until there is only one student left.


#2: Juggling name


It's an amazing game that will help you learn names, focus and laugh.


To play, you'll need three different colored, soft balls (see if you can borrow some foam dodge balls from your PE teacher) as well as some fun, random items from your classroom:


Students form a circle and all raise their hands to indicate that they have not yet caught the ball.

The teacher throws the ball to someone with a raised hand by saying their name.

That person throws it to another person by announcing their name and throwing the ball across the circle.

When someone Trending songs this week gets the ball, they will keep their hand down until the ball goes across the circle to whoever has their hand up.


#3: Body Percussion Warm-Up


This is a great icebreaker in the music classroom in that it's not a traditional "Let Me Learn Your Name" game, but a simple let's make something musical (rhythmic) game together.


To play, you'll learn a simple 4-bar percussion example over a few repetitions.


Once you learn the pattern, alternate between performing the pattern and walking in a steady rhythm.


Next, you'll switch walks and rhythms halfway through the class.


#4: Balls and lines


For balls and lines, you'll need to create a simple presentation with different questions that can be grouped by answer (eg find other people who play your instrument) or lines (create a line in order of your birthday, from January 1 to December 31 ).


I also take this game a step further and have students either create open blobs (more open-ended, e.g. find a blob that likes the same kind of music as you) or closed blobs (less open-ended, e.g. make a blob with people, who have the same eye color as you).