Internet Resources for Students

            Student Resources

Internet Resources for Teacher Use

Teacher Resources:  Planning and Preparation

stress relief for you!


online lesson planning and note keeping

student/teacher online interaction

Teacher Resources:  Lesson Plans

unit plan on Handel

video demonstration lesson on teaching kids proper use of instruments

lesson plans for smart board ?

Intermediate level listening lessons sorted by composer.

(Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.)

lesson plans and worksheets, online activities

Teacher Resources:  Science of Sound

What is sound?

Teacher Resources:  Content Areas

radio shows for kids, information on composers, games, instruments and instrument families, musical careers,make your own radio show .  Also listed on the student resource page.

profiles of great classical composers, video of the week.

instrument listening quiz.

quizzes and games for all kinds of content

games activities and quizzes for all kinds of content

John Williams

Teacher Resources:  Download and/or Print Materials

voice cards, body percussion patterns, notes on the staff,  percussion play along,   Pachelbel Canon for Orff instruments, behavior forms, self assessment poster.

powerpoints, links, worksheets, webquest.

free powerpoint backgrounds

few sound loops, instruments and sound effects

music worksheets wiki

links to music teacher freebies.  (technology related.)

customizable, printable certificates.  Free.

powerpoints and music games for kids

note naming worksheet generator

early childhood song powerpoints

games and resources

drop box full of printable files and lesson plans

Teacher Resources:  Music Theory

How to count music.

ear training.

Online music games.  Looked to me like should be presented by teacher…not a kid exploration site, necessarily.

Teacher Resources:  Music————————————–

Free  classical music cross references by composer, performer, genre,  and instrumentation.

Links to sites that offer free music.

free music

clapping songs

National Children’s Folksong repository


rarely used 2nd verses


dooby dooby dooby doo

Denise Gagne

I like Singin’

Denise Gagne

Denise Gagne

orechestra animations



Brain Dance

Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive  (To go with Scarin’ Alive)

Canon in D


Danse Macabre

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Musical Event

For Good from Wicked

John Williams

For Fun

Performance Music for Chorus Students

Our spring concert consists of the Elementary Band and Chorus.  This year we’re performing music from Broadway.  Everything I needed I found in Music Express Magazine.  A subscription includes the music, cd with demonstration and performance tracks, as well as  other articles, listening maps and play alongs.    A subscription currently costs $195.00 for 5 issues.

Here’s our program:

“Put on a Happy Face” by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, arr by Tom Anderson for Music Express Magazine Vol. 9#4.  From the musical “Bye Bye Birdie.”    2 parts.  P.4

“Disney On Broadway,” arr. by Tom Anderson for Music Express Magazine  Vol.9#2.                                                                 The medley includes “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” by Elton John and Tim Rice, “Beauty and the Beast” from the musical of the same name, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman,  and “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid” by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman .   2 parts.  P.4

“Castle on a Cloud” from the musical “Les Miserables,” by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzer.  Music Express Magazine Vol.9#5.   Unison.   P.4  “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent,” by Jonathan Larson, arr. by Tom Anderson for Music Express Magazine Vol.9#3. P.4

“For Good” by From the musical “Wicked,” byStephen Schwartz , arr. by Tom Anderson for Music Express Magazine, Vol. 9#5. March/April 2009.   2 parts.   P.10 

I’ve included a link to good introductory video.    My chorus is made up of 4th and 5th graders.  At the end of the year the 5th graders will move on to middle school, so I’m teaching part 2 to all 5th graders and inviting even non-chorus members to join us for one last song.

Carnival of the Animals

This is a series of lessons that takes several weeks to complete.


Book; Carnival of the Animals by John Lithgow (comes with cd.) ISBN 0 -689-86721-2



Carnival of the Animals-Lithgow



Music text: Share the Music, 1995, Grade 1, pp 36-37; cd #2

Feathers, Fins and Fur, 1998, may be out of print. I got mine on ebay.

Video tape: Carnival of the Animals, Jim Gamble Puppets.
DVD: Move It; John Feierbend

Move It - Feierabend

The Lithgow book is really too long for young children to sit through at once, so I divide it between 2 lessons. The first week the students listen/read through “Aquarium” during the last 10 to 15 minutes of the class period.

Introduce the book by telling the students that “Carnival of the Animals” is a musical work by Camille Saint-Saens made up of short pieces meant to represent the way specific animals sound or move. The book by John Lithgow is a story that he created to go along with the music, and is narrated by him. It is about the adventures of Oliver Pendleton Percy the Third, who spends the night in a museum full of animals that come to life. (Many make a connection between the story and the movie “Night in the Museum.”) Great illustrations!

The animals are made up of “People from Oliver’s world”, so after each narration I ask the students to identify who has been turned into the animal.

1. Royal March of the Lion. Professor McBird has been turned into the Lion, who is being carried in on his throne to the Royal Processional by hyenas, who are classmates of Oliver’s. Occasionally the procession stops so that the Lion can roar, which I show the students by pretending to roar each time the piano plays the chromatic scale roar. Have the students identify the instrument making the roar. (piano.)

2. Chickens. (The parents of Oliver’s classmates.) One time only, I imitate the sound of a chicken to be sure they hear the similarity to the sound of the music. Have the students identify the instrument. (violin).

3. Rodents. (Little brothers and sisters of Oliver’s classmates.) Focus on how fast they run around. (Tempo.)

4.Tortoises. Have the students identify the characters, (neighbors) and listen for the slow version of “Can Can.” I move on after the main theme. This piece is too long for them to maintain their focus.

5.Elephants. Have the students identify the character. (The School Nurse.) I have the students sway slowly back and forth to the beat, as an elehphant would. Other movement could include swinging their “trunk”. I also call attention to large = low pitch. Have the students identify the instruments. (String Bass and Piano).

6. Kangaroo. The students can make hopping motions as they listen to the hopping music. Have the students identify the instrument, (Piano), and the character, (Librarian.)

7. Aquarium. Let the students listen to the narration, then do the movement patterns with them as shown in “Move It!” (dvd). Rather than show them the dvd I learn the motions myself and have the students imitate. Movement 1 I call Jellyfish, movement 2, Rainbow Fish, repeat. Movement 3, mermaid waving, movement 4 starfish, movement 5 bubbles.

Stop here to continue next lesson.

Lesson 2: I usually do this at the beginning of the lesson and follow up  with the Jim Gamble video, Carnival of the Animals.

Begin by reviewing Aquarium narration, music and movement.

8. Aviary. Have the students identify the characters, (the girls in Oliver’s class,) and the instrunent, (flute). Students may wish to do their own “interpretive movements.” Hmmm.

9. Jackasses. I personally choose to talk over part of this narration. I ask the students, (loudly), to identify the characters while Mr. Lithgow is saying the final phrase. (You’ll see why, and I bet you can guess.) Have the students identify the characters, (the boys on the wrestling team,) and the instrument. (Violin. It’s amazing how often they get this one wrong.)

10. Pianists. I like to make a big deal out of the fact that the music teacher is a baboon.

11. The Cuckoo. Identify the character and the instrument. Count the cuckoos. (21).

12.Fossils. Identify the instrument(s). Xylophone is the one I’m going for. Sometimes they can’t name the instrument, but they can turn around and point to it, saying, “We have those!”

13. The Swan. I teach them to conduct on this one. I have them start by closing their eyes and pretending that their extended hands are floating on water. From there I show and explain a 3 pattern, and have them conduct with me. (You have plenty of time to accomplish this…it’s a relatively long piece.

14. Carnival of the Animals…listen for: chickens, kangaroos, rodents and donkeys.

The students view “Carnival of the Animals” with the Jim Gamble puppets.

Third Lesson

This lesson does not necessarily need to follow immediately after the other two.  It can, but it could also be a nice review at a later time.

Using pp.36 and 37 of “Share the Music” for Grade 1, I have the students point to various  animals as I randomly name them.  This gives them the opportunity to locate them, and me the opportunity to be sure they know which animal is which.

Their next task is to point to the animal that is being represented in the music that they hear.  Share the Music cd#2 plays short excerpts in the following order: Chickens, Elephants, Persons with Long Ears, (donkey), Tortoise, Fossils,  Kangaroos, Aquarium, (entire piece), and the Finale.  This is a quick and easy way for me to assess their listening skills and familiarity with the pieces.  It takes about 15 minutes, after which they have their final viewing/listening experience with  Fins, Feathers,Fur, a combination of live animals and animation.

First Thoughts on Teaching Music

In one year and  3 months I will be a retired Elementary Vocal and General Music Specialist.  In that year+ I hope to make available here the lesson plans and activities that I use from cycle to cycle.  Since my district operates on a 4 day cycle, hopefully new plans will appear every 4 to 5 days.  It is my hope that these lessons and ideas will prove to be useful to music teachers new and not so new.  I’m not sure what form this blog will take.  Sometimes it may be written as a formal lesson plan, other times as a log of what I’ve done that day.  I welcome comments,contributions and  discussions of activities and methods that have worked for other teachers.

In my district I have been fortunate for many years to have some budget money available to me.  Still, “Music Teacher” is not just what I do; it’s a big part of who I am.  So I’ve spent  my own money over the years, filling in what gaps I could in order to help make myself the best music teacher I could possibly be.

Several years ago I was contacted by a new teacher who had recently been hired to a large city school district.  To carry out his job he was given a piano and a sixth grade teacher’s manual.  No curriculum, and no budget.  Wow.  I advised him to spend some of his own money on some basic items: MusicK-8 Magazine, available from Plank Road Publishing, an iPod and an iPod speaker. (MusicK-8 magazine comes with recorded cd’s of all of the songs it contains, and permission to copy songs for your own students.) He already had and could play a guitar. Those 3 core items plus some creativity and ingenuity can get a fledgling music program off the ground.

At the end of next year my replacement will inherit  a great deal more than that.    In recent years I’ve been fortunate to receive a laptop computer with an iTunes account, yearly subscriptions to Musick-8 Magazine and Music Express Magazine, A set of Xylophones, Metallophones and Glockenspiels , totaling 11 instruments, and the MusicPlay series complete with recorder materials and many other extras.  I will take with me a library of over 300 books that I purchased myself, an extensive collection of puppets,  my own personal VCR/DVD player, my own iPod and Bose speaker,  and many additional resources that have  made my job easier and more fun to do.

So, my first word of advice to a new teacher would be to establish a professional yearly budget from your own pocket to supplement whatever budget you may have.  When you find a resource that would be helpful to you and your program, buy it.  You get an automatic $250.00 credit on your federal income tax for money that you spend on your classroom, and, should you spend significantly more than that, you may be able to deduct even more.

In future posts I’ll address setting up a classroom, should you be fortunate enough to have one, or the alternative of working off of a cart.  For now, on to some lesson plans.


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