Read the Episode #73: Bin It


Here is the Crescendo Music Education Podcast – Episode 73. Hello everyone, I’m Debbie O’Shea and welcome to this episode of the Crescendo Music Education Podcast, a little bit different today. This is one that I’m calling a Crescendo Quickie. (laughs) Sorry, I just have to, I just have to, it’s just a really quick idea that you can use in your classroom, just a solo episode, just a bit of a chat from me. So this one is all about Bin It.

About ‘Read the Episode’: Sometimes, we would rather skim visually than listen to a podcast! That’s a great way to learn too!
The transcript of episode 073 of The Crescendo Music Education Podcast is below.

Introducing the ‘Bin It’ Activity

Now I learned Bin It from the lovely Katherine Ruhle who works with me at my school taking the choirs. She’s an amazing composer and conductor and you can actually hear her interviewed in a couple of previous podcast episodes:

She’s an amazing person. So I learned this from Kath. Thank you, Kath.

So she uses this activity sometimes in her choir rehearsal. And of course, for that context it is perfect. So what is it? On little bits of paper (they can be recycled or scrap, something that you do not want anymore) you have written what you need to do.

A Few Example Ideas for ‘Bin It’

  • Work on pronunciation in bars 21 and 22.
  • Dynamics in the second phrase
  • Learn the opening words of the second verse
  • Alto part at bar seven work to get it beautifully in tune
  • Sopranos in bar 70 work on the octave leap, land on top of the note, don’t come up under the note

You can work on notes, lyrics, intonation, or absolutely anything else from a particular song. Or you can do it across songs for the whole rehearsal, and just maybe bits from each of the songs.

So you really have to plan out your rehearsal, know what you’re doing. And so you bring these little bits of paper, you’ve got a bit of paper, and you’ve just got, written in Nikko or something, what you’re going to work on. So the conductor gets it out says, This is what we’re going to do first, then when everybody is happy that that’s been completed, then they get to Bin It.

Awarding the ‘Bin It’

Next, the conductor chooses someone that was particularly on task during that little time, and they get to come out and Bin It. So you’ve got a little wastepaper bin or a little basket, little bucket, and they get to put that piece of paper in the bin, they can do it however they like. They can scrunch it up very dramatically and then everybody calls out, “Bin It” and they throw it in the bin, they can rip it into tiny little pieces, dropping them into the bin, everyone calling out Bin It, or they can scrunch it, rip it, stomp on it, and then everyone calls out “Bin It!”

The whole idea is that the group can destroy this little task because they’ve completed it. It’s like a little celebration any way they want. The kids find it hysterically funny. And it’s like this little pressure release between the focus so they’re really focusing, they’re really trying to get this task done to the satisfaction of the conductor so that someone can Bin It.

Like what a great idea.

So I’ve seen Kath Ruhle do this for the whole rehearsal. She’s got the main things plotted out, you have got to be so well prepared and know what you’re doing. But why could we not use this in some of our lessons? It might be for a whole lesson or it might be just for a lesson segment.

An Example of ‘Bin It’ with a Current Song

So if we took just the lesson segments, so say we’re focusing on Rain Come Wet Me. Rain Come Wet Me, let’s sing it with lyrics. The first bit of paper might go, “sing with lyrics,” so we sing through with lyrics.

Then, you as the teacher say, ‘that was pretty good, but we’re not ready to Bin It. I don’t think we were all singing well enough as a group or I don’t think you were listening as well as you were singing, let’s listen more, let’s perform this more as one voice rather than 25-30 separate ones,’ whatever you’d like to do.

You get them to polish it so you’re happy with singing with lyrics. Then you choose someone who was trying really hard, call them out and we can go rip, rip, rip, “Bin It!”

Then next little bit of paper. What have I got next “Sing in rhythm names”, so you say, ‘let’s sing it in rhythm names.’ Think about it. Ta, ta, ta, ta. You can get them to perform whatever, you’re happy with it then you say, “You did that really well, Mary, come on out here you can Bin It”. So they bin the bit of paper.

You can go on, you could do it in Solfa, do it in letter names, inner hear the ‘mi’s when you can do that, and nobody sings a ‘mi’ out loud, then somebody can Bin It. Let’s sing it with expressive faces, I’ll choose the best face to come out and Bin It. I think it really would be fun to pop that into some of our lessons and I know for a fact it works like magic in choir rehearsals. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in instrumental rehearsals, instrumental ensembles, and I think we should all give it a go in our lessons.

So why don’t you try in your context Bin It.

Share Your ‘Bin It’ Experiences

Now before I go, I’d really like you to let me know if you have a go at Bin It. How you used it? Did you use it in your classroom, your choir or your instrumental ensemble? Let me know how it went. I think the best place to do that is in the Crescendo Community, which is a private Facebook group. So find the Crescendo Community, you have to answer a couple of questions. If you don’t answer the questions I don’t let you in. I’m sorry. I need to know that you’re an actual real person interested in music education. We have some really good chats and good sharing in there. So come over to the Crescendo Community and tell us how you used Bin It we’d all be really interested.


I appreciate you and all of my colleagues, and hope this episode has been enjoyable and useful. Don’t forget you’ll find the show notes on I’d love to share rate or review to help other music educators find this podcast. All I can be is the best version of me. All you can do is be the best you. Until next time, bye.

Just for Laughs

As we know laughter relieve stress, don’t lose sight of the funny side of life.

Now to conclude this podcast, I do hope that you do not have a feeling of Deja Vu.

Deja Vu is that feeling that you’ve heard all this bull before. Deja Vu (laughs).

Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Crescendo Podcast Episodes featuring Katherine Ruhle:

Where to find me:

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