It’s always frustrating to get to the end of preparing an excellent concert and everything has come together—except the memorization.  Here are several tips to help when you are preparing a concert all the way from the beginning to “crunch time.” 

Create Lyric Videos

When you are first preparing a concert, make PowerPoint slides with the lyrics to the song.  You can even insert the music and record the timings of the slides to match the music so you aren’t stuck at the computer while students are practicing.  Keep the backgrounds simple, the text big, and use pictures that correlate with the song and form (for example, each chorus of a song gets the same picture).  Speaking of form. . .

Talk About Form

This is another tip for when you are first learning the songs.  Make sure students understand verses, chorus, etc. and show them the order of the song written out.  They don’t always naturally notice form, but many students make great progress when you teach it to them and explain the order of the songs. 

Add Motions

Motions are huge to help kids remember words.  If you can create motions that have a connection to the words without looking too cheesy, it really helps students know the words.  If they can’t remember the words, you doing the motions will help remind them.  If you struggle creating motions, check YouTube of other performances or try looking up ASL signs. 

Add a Solo

It’s crunch time and they STILL aren’t getting it.  Time to give the overachiever a solo on the verse everyone can’t remember (you are already probably picturing that kid in your mind right now!).  Suzie Piano will have it memorized by the next day, and you will finally sleep at night. 

Divide and Conquer

Make a note of which sections in each song that classes are struggling to get.  Pick one or two sections for each class and make them the “specialists.”  They will spend extra time working on those sections to help pull the other classes along during the concert.  The key to this is assigning different sections to each class so there is at least one strong class in each section.

Good luck on your next concert and may your students remember their words with ease.  Catch you next time I have something noteworthy!


Jennifer Filipiak

Jen has been teaching elementary music in since 2005 and loves it! She has training in Orff, Kodály, Music Learning Theory, and Education Through Music. Her main goal is to create lessons that are purposeful, practical, and playful to engage students so they love and learn about music. She lives in Michigan with her husband, three daughters, crazy dog, and 2 mischievous kitties.