So, let's talk about the anticipatory set. (Big word; simple concept!)
Teaching is more effective when learners are excited about what they are learning. Generating interest and excitement for a lesson is the job of the anticipatory set.
It is like whetting the class' appetite for the "meal" of learning. The anticipatory set quickly gets student attention and leads into the rest of the lesson.
This isn't specific to music class - it's for all teachers!
As an anticipatory set, teachers of some other subjects may ask students to make verbal predictions about a new story with familiar characters (ELA) or comparisons between self and the citizens of another nation (Social Studies).
In elementary music, though, much of our focus is on procedural knowledge.
We're learning how to do something - as opposed to learning about something (declarative knowledge).
Talking about music comes once students have some musical experience, but a lot of music making comes before that point. One of my favorite ways to keep the anticipatory set actively musical is a simple, high-energy, action song!
Here's a 'Lesson Idea' from Me!
I use one of my songs, "Turn Yourself Around", often to quickly get students engaged and moving. Plus, it helps me prepare them for the coming lesson!
I've built interludes into this song for a few reasons. They provide a place to prepare a movement or body percussion pattern that may be coming later in the lesson. Also, it allows us to practice a rhythm pattern we might be working on. It also gives students a chance to engage in rhythm improvisation in duple meter.
I could also take a short melodic fragment from the song and bring that into the process of the lesson.
For example, let's focus on the part that goes: "Let me see that clap, oo oo".
That section contains the root, third and fifth of the tonic triad (F, Ab, C: la, do, mi in this case). I might careen into reading notation for that pattern of pitches and then use them to sing the melody of the next song.
This would work for the American Folk Song "Nine Hundred Miles," for example, because it begins with the pitches la, do, mi.
The anticipatory set quickly gets students thinking and working, while leading into instruction. There are many ways to do this in music class, and the action song is a good place to start!