Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


Spaghetti Conducting

As an elementary music student, and truthfully all the way up to about 10th grade, I felt that conducting patterns were pretty mysterious.   No music teacher covered learning or practicing conducting patterns, and when I played flute in elementary and junior high school band, I always wondered what the director was waving around up there.

In my music classes, I introduce conducting patterns for 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time signatures beginning in fourth grade and continuing review until sixth grade.  Students this age like taking the part of the leader of a group, and we practice conducting as a class to recorded music for each time signature.

To add to the fun of conducting, I give the students their own conducting "batons" made of


Why spaghetti? Here are some benefits:
  • The breakable nature of spaghetti makes the students pay extra careful attention to their movements and reminds them not to be haphazard.    I challenge the students to be "spaghetti survivors" and to have their entire length of spaghetti intact by the end of the activity.
  • Cheap materials!! There are probably thousands of spaghetti strands in a package... I've been using the same package for years.
  • The spaghetti helps the students to focus on the beat of the music, more than just conducting with their hands.
Have special needs students with fine motor difficulties?  No problem, just try...

The pretzel rods are much tastier to eat when the activity is over...although there is always a handful of students who insist on eating their raw spaghetti!

If you are an instrumental teacher, clue your students in on exactly what you are doing when you conduct.  When they get comfortable, allow a deserving student to be your "guest conductor" for a rehearsal, or maybe just for a certain piece of music.

Check out startachoir or this pdf file,  for more information on conducting patterns.

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