Music Ed Mentor Podcast #011: Classroom Management

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #011: Classroom Management Secrets

Since launching  the Music Ed Mentor Podcast in June, I’ve tried to keep topics focused on improving the lives of music educators “off the podium.” There are many great podcasts that can help you refine curriculum and have great rehearsals, but not so many that focus on how we can improve life outside of class time. 

Of course, music educators can’t improve their lives without discussing classroom management, and that’s the focus of today’s episode. I chat with Michael Linsin, who specializes in this topic. He’s the man behind Smart Classroom Managementsending weekly emails with management tips to more than 100,000 teachers. Michael’s ideas can change the way you teach, starting in your very next class.

This Episode Is Also Available On:

  • Soundcloud
  • iTunes
  • Google Play
  • In This Episode, You’ll Learn How To:

    • Create a routine so that students know what to expect.
    • Set yourself up for success in the first few minutes of class.
    • Motivate your students.
    • Build rapport with students via a Classroom Management Plan.

    Free Classroom Management Tips

    I’ve compiled Michael’s top classroom management tips from the episode into a handy one-sheet you can download. 

    Download the free checklist


    Three Key Takeaways

    “The point of a Classroom Management Plan is to protect each student’s right to learn without interference.”

    Designing a list of rules not only protects students, it can give you the freedom to teach. When building the list, consider which behaviors are really interfering with learning. Clearly lay out what behavior is unacceptable and what are the associated consequences. The rules need to be enforceable and easily defined. “Work hard” and “Have fun” are great sentiments, but difficult to enforce. Instead, choose rules like “Listen and follow directions.”

    “When teachers talk about challenging students, they’re focused on (and are told to focus on) unique behavior contracts things specific to that student.”

    The best thing you can do in these situations is to focus on being a great teacher for the entire class. As these students see everyone else around them behaving and having a good time, they’ll want to be a part of the group. When their misbehavior takes them away from that experience, they’ll self-correct so that they can be part of the class. In short, treat these students like everyone else.

    “Make your classroom a machine that creates intrinsic motivation.”

    When we give students a reward for good behavior, we’re telling them that good behavior is work that they deserve to be paid for. That snuffs out intrinsic motivation. Instead, offer praise. Praise is different than a reward because it isn’t payment. Praise can be a note to a student on their desk, a fist bump, or a kind remark; “I knew you could do it!” Rewards get students to do something in a particular moment, but weaken intrinsic motivation going forward. Praise strengthens intrinsic motivation.


    Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, grow, and manage thriving school music programs. With an MBA alongside her degree in music, she is also a coach and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits around the country, and serves as the conductor of her local community band. She has been teaching music for nearly 20 years and currently holds the prestigious position of elementary music teacher at a private K-8 Catholic School in Grand Junction, Colorado. Elisa was a top presenter at the NAfME National Conference in 2017 and will be presenting at state conferences in 2018. She is the founder of the International Music Education Summit and the author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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