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3 Steps to Create Fun Back-to-School Music Mixer Activities

Music Mixers are perfect Back to School music activities. Get students singing, moving, and interacting positively on the first day of school.

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Starting a new school year with positive, engaging activities sets the tone for the entire year, both for students and teachers. Music Mixers make perfect Back to School activities for elementary music classes. Music Mixers get students singing, moving, and interacting positively with each other on the first day of school.

The smiles on your kids’ faces will show you that they are glad to be back in school enjoying music activities and making new friends. Let’s make our kids smile. 😊

Back to School Activities for Elementary Music Classroom | Music Mixer Songs & Games

What Are Music Mixer Activities?

Music mixer activities can take a variety of forms. Basically, any activity that gets kids moving and interacting with several different students can be a music mixer activity.

But, you will want to design activities that will appeal to students with many different learning styles. Activities that get your students singing, moving, and interacting with each other are sure to be a hit.

And, you can turn almost any song into a music mixer activity. A simple welcoming song can be embellished to create perfect Back to School activities for elementary music.

You can also repeat these activities throughout the school year. After fall, winter, or spring breaks, or when new students are added to a class would be a perfect time to revisit music mixer activities.

3 Steps to Create a Music Mixer

The only MUST-HAVE for a music mixer activity is that students have some form of partner activity and rotation. It is important that students “mix it up” and have several different partners during the activity.

Simple songs, chants, and hand clap patterns are often the easiest elements to use to create music mixers. You can use the 3-step formula below to design music mixers that are unique and original for your school and your classroom.

1. Choose a Song

Almost any song, chant, or even an instrumental piece of music that has a moderate steady tempo can work as a music mixer activity. Consider using one of the following types of songs.

  • Welcome song
  • School song
  • Welcome rap or chant
  • Any song or chant with a friendship theme

2. Choose a Partner Activity

A well-designed music mixer would have an activity embedded into it. Consider using one of the following types of activities.

  • Hand clap pattern.
  • Play classroom rhythm instruments. (Lay out rhythm instruments in pairs.)
  • Play classroom melodic instruments. (Set up barred instruments and/or Boomwhackers for 2 players on each part.)

Note: Set up melodic instruments with a limited number of pitches so that the result is not discordant.

3. Choose a Formation

To some degree, your classroom space will dictate the formation you use. Are you teaching music from a cart? Then make two concentric rectangles around the outside perimeter of the room. Or, modify the formation so it works in each specific classroom.

Circle Formation

When using circle formation it can be helpful to use some sort of markers such as sit spots, tape on the floor, a classroom carpet, chairs, etc. If young students have trouble maintaining spacing and lining up with partners, have the inside circle remain stationary and only allow the outside circle to move. Then trade spots.

Drawing of Concentric Circle Formation for Classroom Game
Scatter Formation

When using scatter formation it is often hard for students to partner up in groups of two. When doing hand clap patterns, I usually allow students to partner up in groups of two or three. If they are already in a group of three and another person comes into their group, students should simply turn and create two groups of two without saying a word. Practice this prior to beginning the game. The teacher can always hang back and slip in if a student can’t find a partner.

Drawing of Scatter Formation for Music Mixer Activities

More Tips for Designing a Successful Music Mixer

Below are a few more tips for creating successful music mixer activities that run smoothly.

  • Repeat the activity at least 5 – 7 times without stopping so that students have a chance to really mix it up!
  • Create a chant, drum break*, or simply count to 8 between verses so the activity keeps going without any breaks.
  • If using scatter formation, require students to partner up with a different partner each time. Sometimes, students want to follow each other and partner up with the same person every time.
  • Design your activities so that you can extend them over several days. For example, you could teach the basic song with movement and a hand clap or instrumental part on day 1. Then, consider adding a B section with a chant on day 2. And finally, you could guide students to create an original chant on day 3.

*I like using the app Drum Beats+ as a rhythmic accompaniment.

No-Prep Music MIxer Activities

If you don’t have time to create your own Back to School activities for elementary music classes, click to take a look at one of these ready-to-teach activities and Mix it Up!


Start the new school year off with positive activities. Help your students get comfortable in the music classroom and connect with each other. Choose Back to School activities that are fun and help students make new friends, activities that put a smile on your face and on the faces of your students. 😊

Best wishes, music friends!

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Meet the Author

Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.

She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.

More Ways to Connect – Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.

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