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What is a starter task?

Starter tasks are an important aspect of any lesson. In essence, they give students something to undertake as soon as they enter the room. They can range from listening tasks to questions on the board. Students might be given something to look at, or something to ponder before the lesson begins.

Why have a starter task?

The main aim of a starter task is to get students thinking straight away. Having a piece of music playing as they enter will get their minds ready for the lesson. A question on the board might help them recall what was covered last lesson. It’s all about ensuring learning is taking place from the first moments of the lesson, even if students arrive gradually.

Focus on Starters?

Focus on Sound is a great tool for starter tasks as you can quickly and easily display something on the board that students can read and think on as they enter. This could be a key term, an instrument or something from a set work. Having something for them to look at immediately will help to settle the class and prepare them for learning.

Starter tasks don’t need to be complex, but they do need to be linked to the lesson or previous lessons. Make sure they are musical, and maybe consider having music playing as they enter. Next time you are looking for something to kick off your lesson, log on to Focus on Sound and see what’s on offer. The video below has some great examples and ideas to get you started.

Watch the video on Starter Tasks

About James Manwaring

James is the Director of Music for the Windsor Learning Partnership Multi-academy Trust. He has held the post of Head of Music at The Windsor Boy's School for over 15 years. James is currently the President-Elect of the Music Teachers Association.