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Friday, October 16, 2020

Theme Weeks for Orchestra Classes


Need an idea to liven things up in your orchestra class?  I've been having a lot of fun with weekly themes to get my students focusing on improving certains areas of their playing.  A few of my favorite are:  Rhythm Week, Intonation Week, Listening Week, Performance Week, Slow-Mo Week, Go Pro Week, Practice Week, Ear Training Week.

Here's a post which includes ideas for doing RHYTHM WEEK as a theme:


Focus on mastering:  steady beat, the difference between beat and rhythm, clapping/plucking/air-bowing rhythms, figuring out rhythm by ear.

Ideas for daily activities:

  • Practicing a quick 'rhythm of the day' as part of warm-ups.

  • Rhythm clapping game:  teacher claps a rhythm, students echo.  To make it hard, the teacher begins clapping the next rhythm while students are still echoing the previous rhythm.
  • Around the World Rhythm Game - presentation where students take turns clapping rhythms on screen.  Use THIS LINK to access this free resource! 

  • Practice rhythms with party blowers or kazoos.  Or any rhythm instrument.
  • Practice making/sharing rhythms in class- students create rhythms and trade to play different rhythms.

  • Give students notes to a popular tune and let them figure out the rhythm.  I did this with Cheap Thrills and my students LOVED IT.  Many students practiced a TON to get this tune down.  It really helped my beginners progress quickly.  Get FREE Cheap Thrills resources HERE.
  • Have students practice playing notes to a steady beat to the tune of Andy Grammer's 'Keep Your Head Up.'  Resource HERE.

VIDEOS IDEAS TO USE in class for Rhythm Week:

Putting sounds together with cool rhythm - Among Us Rhythm:

Voice Activated video game - timing is crucial for rhythm:


  1. DO you have the other fun theme weeks available to download purchase! I am coming off of maternity leave and have decided that this is the BEST IDEA i have seen and I am trying my best to navigate this new virtual world BUT, if i didn't have to make the resources I could focus on my new learning management system I need to get used to as well! THANKS SO MUCH!! you are the most amazing inspiration to the orchestra classroom, I have been following since 2015!

    1. I'm so glad you're loving this idea! My students love it, too. I have several other weekly theme ideas and have been planning on posting about one every week...just depending on when I can get to it. Stay tuned!

    2. yesss!!!! amazing! Dying to know what slo mo week is and go pro lolol.

    3. Here's a post about slo-mo week from a few years ago: