Classroom and Time Management Tips

Are you looking for classroom and time management tips as you begin the new school year? We’ve compiled several resources for you below. Please share your ideas with us in the comment section!



As a string orchestra director, Gretta Sandberg knows that one of the most effective class strategies is shown in how you begin each class. In her words, “Your students need to know when the rehearsal is actually beginning.”

“Students come in the orchestra room bursting with energy and youthful angst!” says Sandberg. “There is the short span of time when they get their instruments out, get their music folders, talking all the time about their lives and loves. How does one get this energy channeled into the rather esoteric world of music and the concrete world of building musical skills?”

Here are four of Sandberg’s ideas a productive rehearsal:

  • Upscale it! “How you set those first few minutes of each class period can determine the tone of the rehearsal. You need a tuning routine that everyone understands and adheres to … perhaps turning on the tuner to the almighty A440 or a signal the concertmaster to stand up to give the A from her violin. Since I’m a great believer in mastering scales, both major and the relative melodic minors, I start each rehearsal with a set of scales. The class knows it’s time for business and everyone must be in place with instruments tuned and ready to play.”
  • No more than three announcements. “After about ten minutes of scales, it’s time for announcements, but make that short and sweet … here’s the time that you can lose your students–their attention span is very short–no more that three points, and put them up on the board as a visual reminder, especially upcoming dates/times.”
  • Upcoming pieces and études. Sandberg advises beginning the “meaty” part of the rehearsal with “the orchestral pieces that are on the table for the next concert or the études that will teach the students important technique. Decide from the general feeling of the group that day how long you can push rehearsal on a certain piece. Beating a dead horse never accomplishes anything.”
  • Keep your sense of humor. “Seeing the fun in a situation has saved many rehearsals and kept a few on track. Nobody wants to create music with a crabby director!”

Most important, says Sandberg, is to “enjoy your time with the students. Each rehearsal has a feel all its own. Be in tune with the students, and your class and time management will fall into place.”
NAfME member Gretta Sandburg is the retired orchestra director of the McLean, Virginia, High School Orchestras.  She and her husband, Lew Freeman, now spend most of their time in Monterey, Virginia.

– Nicole Springer and Ella Wilcox, © National Association for Music Education (


Starting Strong with Classroom Management by Dennis Granlie

Discipline problems? Chaotic classrooms? Struggling with classroom management? About to start teaching and worried about handling kids? Just want some more ideas? A retired music supervisor who has conducted more than 500 formal classroom observations shares practical “tricks of the trade” for creating, implementing and maintaining an effective classroom management plan and avoiding the pitfalls of management “sins.”


See Dennis’ helpful handout HERE


Make it Work! Making the Most Out of Your Teaching Space by Judy Voois

Whether you teach in a broom closet, a “cafe-gymna-torium,” an academic classroom or a real music room, you can turn your teaching space into a student-friendly, efficient teaching space. Geared primarily towards elementary and middle-level instrumental music teachers, this webinar will offer practical ideas for getting the most out of your students by utilizing your workspace for maximum effectiveness. A little Velcro and a fishing tackle box go a long way.


See Judy’s slideshow that’s jam packed full of tips HERE


Teaching Music in the Cloud by Jim Frankel

What is Cloud computing? What resources are in the Cloud for K–12 music educators, and how can you use them in your music classroom? Come experience the latest Cloud-based tools from MusicFirst to help you store, share, and assess student content as well as the latest software resources that have reinvented the way we access tools for teaching music.

See Jim’s great slideshow HERE


Classroom Management Made Easy by Sharon Burch

Experience how a puppet, stories, singing, movement and interactive games make music educational and fun! Classroom management problems disappear as the wiggliest kids are thoroughly engaged. This webinar will share strategies that make teaching music easy and effective. Activities and singing games that work from PreK-5th grade.

See Sharon’s handout HERE


Click HERE for more tips on Early Childhood Classroom Management



Classroom Management Books from NAfME


Rowman Education Website


No More Theories Please!: A Guide for Elementary Teachers  by L.K. Masao


Crowd Control: Classroom Management and Effective Teaching for Chorus, Band, and Orchestra by Susan L. Haugland




Be sure to check out our 2015 National In-Service Conference in Nashville, TN October 25-28 for these related Sessions:



Kristen Rencher Nuss, Social Media and Online Community Engagement Coordinator. © National Association for Music Education (