Tag Archives: music lesson plans

Thanksgiving Activities | Elementary Music Lesson Plans and Resources

With Halloween over, Thanksgiving is the next holiday on the horizon. You can get your music classroom in the holiday spirit without sacrificing learning.

Print Elementary Music Lesson Plans and Resources

Thanksgiving (Turkey) | Free Color-by-Note Rhythm Worksheet

This free printable worksheet reviews basic note and rest values. The key assigns a color to each note type, and students create a colorful holiday picture as they identify the correct note values.

Thanksgiving Music Listening Glyph Worksheets (Digital Print)

Listening glyphs help your students express what they hear as they listen to a piece of music, and these glyphs let them do it with holiday spirit. One of the printable worksheets is specifically designed to be used for Vivaldi’s “Autumn,” providing a ready-to-use November activity. The download also includes a general use turkey glyph, where the listening prompts are provided, but the song choice is yours. Finally, you can create your own glyph, including prompts telling your students what they should listen for with a blank turkey glyph.

Run From The Farmer | Syncopation Lesson Plan

This free music lesson plan uses the Thanksgiving-themed song “Run from the Farmer” to introduce the concept of syncopation. It includes an Orff orchestration and instructions for an active lesson.

Run from the Farmer | Free Orff Orchestration Sheet Music

If all you want is the free Orff orchestration sheet music for “Run from the Farmer,” that’s available on its own. Get students clapping and playing along with this upbeat song.

Thanksgiving Music Activities: SIX Composition Activities

There aren’t very many Thanksgiving songs, are there? Your students can change that with these six Thanksgiving Music Composition Activities from Music Teacher Resources. Recommended for grades 4-8, these activities guide students to create original Thanksgiving songs. Multiple choice measures and limited note choices provide excellent scaffolding to help even first-time composers find success.

Songs and Activities for Thanksgiving (Bundle)

Finally, if you want lots of Thanksgiving options, check out this bundle from Aileen Miracle. Suitable for students from K-5, it includes a variety of Thanksgiving songs, a movement activity, composition lessons, and rhythm work.

Whether you want you students to work on rhythm, compose, sing, or listen thoughtfully to music, there’s a Thanksgiving music activity for you. Enjoy the holiday with your students!


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The Nutcracker │Free Story Summary, FunLib Worksheet and Venn Diagram
Christmas Music for Beginners|Easy Piano Sheet Music
10 Christmas Songs from Around the World | Easy Piano Sheet Music
Music Class Monthly Lesson Bundles
Music Class Monthly Lesson Bundles


8 Free Music Lesson Plans for the Elementary Music Classroom

If you want to incorporate active, hands-on lessons into your music classroom, take a look at these 8 free lesson plans for elementary music. Each plan will have your students out of their seats and interacting meaningfully with music– no pencils or paper required.

Melody Map | An Introduction to Melodic Contour/Grade 2-4

This simple but effective high and low lesson plan can be completed with the song of your choice. Students first use hand movement to reflect the high and low notes they hear. Then, they progress to using yarn to map the highs and lows on the classroom floor. The movement and manipulation of the yarn will help solidify student’s understanding that the sounds of music can be represented visually.

Hungarian Dance No.5 | AABBCDAB Codetta/Grade 2-6

Musical form takes on a baseball theme in this active lesson plan. Each section of the piece becomes associated with its own baseball game-related action, leading to lots of movement and a memorable introduction (or review) to musical form.

Meter, Meter, 3-4-5 | Meter Activity/Grade 2-4

Round up some playground balls and rhythm sticks for this time signature/ meter lesson. This rhythmic lesson is perfect for either introducing or reinforcing the concept of meter and the “patterns” of common time signatures.

Entry Kentry | A Passing Game/Grade 2-6

Students can have fun while practicing steady beat with this hot-potato style game. Passing must happen on the beat, and eliminated students help keep the beat with rhythm instruments.

Mortimer | An Introduction to Solfege/Grade 2-3

Introduce solfege with this book-based lesson. The stairs in the story provide a perfect opportunity to learn and repeat the scale pattern, while glockenspiels and other non-pitched instruments make students participants in the musical story.

Music Symbol Swat | Music Symbol Swat Game/ Grade 3-5

With just a white board and fly swatters, you’ve got a great review game that can be applied to many musical concepts. Potential answers, such as musical symbols, are displayed visually, and when a definition or question is given, competitors race to swat the correct answer.

Viennese Musical Clock (Kodaly) | Rondo/Grade 2-3

This multi-faceted movement lesson takes a little prep and a bit of patience, but it results in an unforgettable illustrating rondo form. The lesson begins with a helpful hamburger illustration to introduce the form. Then, a complex movement activity lets students act out the form as a live Viennese clock.

Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin | Musical Instrument Identification Game/Grade 2-6

The book, Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin, is used with visual support to introduce 10 orchestral instruments. Then, a racing instrumental identification game is used to review them.


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Ultimate Music Education Worksheets and Games List
Peter and the Wolf | 8 Music Lesson Plans and Resources
Free Music Award Certificates
Teaching Solfège | Song and Activity Pack for the Music Classroom
John Williams Film Score Music Listening Glyphs | Music Lesson Plan

Ludwig van Beethoven | Music Lesson Plans and Resources

A good composer study combines information about the subject’s life and context with analysis and appreciation of his or her music. Sometimes composer studies can become so fact-oriented that the music takes a back seat, but kids need opportunities to listen to, enjoy, and discuss a featured composer’s works. Students do need an overview of when and where a composer worked and what contributions make that composer important, though. To strike a good balance, consider how much biographical and historical information is necessary to meet your learning objectives, making sure they spend time with both the composer and their works.

Below, you will find lesson plan resources for a study of Ludwig van Beethoven that addresses both his remarkable life and his immortal music. There’s probably little need to explain why Beethoven is worth learning about, so let’s jump in to the resources.

Beethoven’s Life and Times

beethoven.jpgYou may be interested in studying Beethoven as part of a “composer of the month” program, where a new composer is featured each month. If so, the Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack provides a visual feature of the composer. Even if you aren’t studying Beethoven as a composer of the month, the visuals could still set the stage and enhance your study.

A simple Beethoven Biography provides an accessible one-page introduction to the composer’s life and accomplishments. If you’d like to include more in-depth study of Beethoven’s context, early life or career, this biography could provide a good starting point from which students can generate questions for further research.  Those looking to dig in deeper might also use Beethoven Research Activity Sheets from Music Teacher Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

To review key facts from the composers life, the Beethoven Word Search tests students’ critical reading skills. The word search doesn’t come with a word list– instead, students must determine key words from the biography and search for them to see if they are correct. Kids can also apply their knowledge of a composer’s experiences by completing the Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet.

Beethoven’s Music
The options for introducing students to Beethoven’s work are many. A number of his works appeal to kids, including his instantly recognizable Fifth Symphony, the uplifting “Ode to Joy,” or the darker “Fur Elise” or “Moonlight Sonata.” To guide students in purposeful listening, use a variety of prompts and activities.

Listening glyphs are excellent tools for guiding students as they encounter a new piece. Beethoven Listening Glyphs  from Trinity Music at TpT include glyphs for five well-known Beethoven works along with blank glyphs in case for any other of his music  you’d like to include. For more music response options, consider this Listening Worksheet Bundle, with 30 different worksheets for grade levels K-12.Beethoven Music Listening Journals  from Mrs. Krafts Music Creation also prompts kids to make record factual observations, reactions, and opinions on great Beethoven works. For something a little different, the Moving with Beethoven Bundle  from The Yellow Brick Road on TpT uses Beethoven’s music to teach and review specific musical concepts through movement.

For more inspiration, visit MakingMusicFun.net’s Beethoven Lesson Resources. It includes possible writing prompts, sheet music for easy piano and several other instruments, and other ideas for your Beethoven study. It also links to Beethoven Multiplication-Connect-the-Dot and Beethoven Coloring Page. If you take the suggestion of watching Beethoven Lives Upstairs,  you may find this Movie Guide from Teachers Pay Teachers helpful.

There are lots of great directions your lessons can go when you teach Beethoven. Enjoy the opportunity to introduce kids to this outstanding composer and his music!

If piano playing students become interested in playing Beethoven’s music themselves, arrangements of his most well-known songs are available at a variety of levels.

Print Piano Sheet Music

Beethoven | Piano Book for Easy/Intermediate Piano
Beethoven’s Fifth for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Easy Piano – Play and Learn™ Series
Für Elise for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy Intermediate/Level 4 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Intermediate Piano – Play and Learn™ Series
Minuet in G for Intermediate/Level 4 Piano Solo
Moonlight Sonata for Beginner-Easy Piano Solo by Beethoven
Moonlight Sonata for Easy Piano Solo by Beethoven
Moonlight Sonata for Piano Solo by Beethoven – Play and Learn™
Ecossaise for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Pathetique Sonata for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Rage Over a Lost Penny for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor (1st Movement) Easy Piano Sheet Music


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John Williams Music Lesson Resources | Lesson Plan Guide
Tchaikovsky | Homeschool Music Lesson Curriculum
Johann Sebastian Bach | Homeschool Music Lesson Curriculum
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Elementary Music Lesson Plans | 24 Lessons



John Williams | Famous Composer Music Lesson Plan Guide

Featuring a contemporary composer can engage students in an exciting way. However, it can be more difficult to find teaching resources for contemporary composers than the tried and true Baroque and Classical stalwarts. Nonetheless, it is worth the effort to educate students about great 20th and 21st Century composers such as John Williams. To help get you started, we have a collection of resources for teaching John Williams in the classroom or homeschool setting.

For anyone familiar with great movie soundtracks, John Williams needs no introduction. Among his best-known works are pieces featured in Star Wars, ET, the Indiana Jones films, and the Harry Potter series, just to name a few. Students love the opportunity to study the music from movies they love, and there is much for them to learn from doing so. What musical choices does Williams make to create the magical sense of time, place, and emotion that he is so skilled at evoking? What in his life prepared him to become the greatest film score composer of all time? What role does music play in film? These and many more questions are waiting to be explored by your students.

First of all, if you have a bulletin board or other display area, consider using the John Williams | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack to add a visual element and a few memorable facts to get started.

A kid-friendly free biography of John Williams is an excellent place to begin a study. Students’ comprehension of the biography can be deepened with John Williams | Word Search Worksheet (also free), where students draw conclusions about keywords from the biography as they generate their own possible word list for the search. Review the qualifications and experiences of the composer one more time with the Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet, where students complete a job application on the composer’s behalf. For older students, a Prezi presentation with guided notes sheet offers further detail on Williams’ life and contributions.

One of the highlights of any composer study is a focused listening experience. Listening glyphs can be extremely helpful, especially for younger students, as they learn what to listen for in music and acquire the vocabulary to reflect what they are hearing. Check out the following listening glyphs for some of Williams’ most recognized works:

Star Wars (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Jurassic Park (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Indiana Jones (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph

The above works are available as a John Williams | Film Score Music Listening Glyph Pack with some additional general and blank glyphs to use for additional Williams pieces of your choice.  Another bundle of John Williams Listening Glyphs by The Bulletin Board Lady on Teachers Pay Teachers offers some additional pieces. For older students, a John Williams Film Score Graphing Worksheet facilitates comparison and analysis of the composer’s works. Any of these listening worksheets could be a starting point for a comparison/ contrast writing assignment of a length appropriate for the grade level.

For further study, a bundle including plans for mini-lessons and links to applicable YouTube videos is available from Pitch Publications on Teachers Pay Teachers.Work with John Williams could also be incorporated into a larger unit on music in film. Here’s one example of a Music in Film Unit at the middle school level, and another extensive Let’s Go to the Movies music camp or workshop plan that could provide some great inspiration.

Classic movies, great music, and engaged students – what’s not to love about studying John Williams?


Related Famous Composer Music Lesson Plan Posts

Johann Sebastian Bach | Homeschool Music Lesson Curriculum
Handel | Composer of the Month Music Lesson and Bulletin Board Bundle
Elementary Music Lesson Plans | 24 Lessons
Kodaly for Older Beginners | Music Lesson Ideas
Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns) | Guided Listening Unit (Powerpoint)



Johann Sebastian Bach | Homeschool Music Lesson Curriculum

Studying composers in a homeschool setting provides the opportunity to explore the connections between music and history. It helps students place music into its larger context and learn what makes each composer’s contributions unique. A study of composer’s lives can also open up discussions on character. Each composer walked a different road to greatness with their own struggles and successes, allowing students to explore the different ways goals can be pursued.

Finally, and most obviously, the study of a composer can be used to increase students’ musical appreciation and literacy. Being familiar with great composers’ most well-known works establishes cultural literacy, and it also gives them an opportunity to experience the pure enjoyment of listening to great music. You can also give students the tools to listen to and discuss music intelligently.

One doesn’t need to be an expert in music to guide homeschool students through such a study. The resources below provide a great start to a study of the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

An approachable biography of a composer is a great place to begin. Consider MakingMusicFun.net’s Hey Kids, Meet Johann Sebastian Bach. This brief biography lays out the basic facts of the composer’s life and work. If you’d like students to dig in further to his life and times, this biography provides enough background knowledge to help them generate questions for further research.

Once students have read the biography, they can deepen their comprehension of what they’ve read with the “Meet the Composer” Job Application | Worksheet. This worksheet asks students to synthesize their knowledge of the composer’s experiences and works and apply them in the context of a job application. Higher level thinking skills are also exercised in the Johann Sebastian Bach | Word Search. This activity differs from the typical word search in that students have to generate their own word list by determining the keywords from the biography above. (The keywords are provided for the instructor’s use and guidance.)

Some additional ideas for writing and listening can be found at Johann Sebastian Bach Homeschool Lesson Plans, and this page also includes a list of Bach sheet music for students who wish to tie their piano playing to their studies. To work Bach into another subject, try the Johann Sebastian Bach Multiplication Connect-the-Dot. Just for fun, you can also use Johann Sebastian Bach Coloring Page.

Anchor any composer you study more firmly in their historical context with this comprehensive Music History Timeline, featuring world history events that impacted composers’ lives. Bring Bach’s time to life with the movie Bach’s Fight for Freedom using this movie guide.

To delve more deeply into Bach’s works, consider using Bach Listening Glyphs available on Teachers Pay Teachers. These worksheets guide students to graphically represent what they hear when they listen to Bach’s music, such as the Brandenburg Concertos or Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Once again, you don’t have to be a music teacher to listen with your student and follow the prompts to record what you hear.


Related Famous Composer and Music Lesson Plan Posts

Bach | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 4
Essential Bach | Piano Sheet Music
John Williams Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack
Handel | Composer of the Month Music Lesson and Bulletin Board Bundle
Great Composer Masterworks for Kids | Free Piano Sheet Music (Level 3)



Out of the Wild |Elementary Music Lesson Plans for Subs

Music teachers have it tough when it comes to preparing for a sub. Like all teachers, you want your students to keep learning while you’re away. Your absences aren’t always planned in advance, which sometimes leaves little time to prepare a lesson. In addition, you aren’t guaranteed that your sub will have any musical background, so you have to be careful what you plan. You also likely see many different grade levels each day, each of which likely requires a separate lesson. So what do you do? Show a music-related film? Run off some worksheets? Stay up all night preparing?

A reliable set of ready-to-use sub plans is just what music teachers need. They can take the stress out of sub preparations while ensuring that the classes you miss are still productive. Out of the Wild Sub Plans from Mrs. Miracle’s Music Room give the K-5 music teacher everything he or she needs to prepare for a sub quickly and easily. No musical expertise is required of the sub, but that doesn’t mean your students won’t be engaged and learning. Find out why over 100 teacher reviews agree that this product deserves 4 out of 4 stars.

Print Music Lesson Plans

Out of the Wild | Sub Plans for the Elementary Music Classrooms

Out of the Wild {Sub Plans for the Music Classroom}
102 Page Digital Download

8 Editable Lesson Plans for grades K-5 (Many lessons are suitable for multiple grade levels  and all include listening, singing, instruments, writing, and/or literature.)
Editable Sub Notes
Sub Lesson Plan Templates
Sub Plan Checklist
Sub Tub Information Packet

Each lesson  includes easy-to-follow instructions, MP3s, worksheets, and other printables to make lesson prep simple. The activities also have clear objectives and many meet Common Core and/or NCCAS Standards, making sure each class period is purposeful. Depending on how often you see each class, these lesson plans could cover as many as two weeks away from school. The sub notes, templates, checklists, and information packet also streamline communication between you and your sub. You can customize the notes so they are up to speed on how your classroom and school day runs, and they can easily let you know what lessons they covered with which students.

When life calls you away from the classroom, you can have peace of mind with the knowledge that you sub plans are all squared away. Substitute teachers will appreciate the meaningful content and clear instructions, and your students will keep on learning. Everyone wins when you think ahead and take the simple step of purchasing great sub plans


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The Piano Chords Fun Book | Arranging Made Easy

Looking for a book that will help you teach piano students the basics of reading chords and arranging?

The Piano Chords Fun Book (24 Pages) makes arranging at the piano easy. The book includes the most popular left-hand accompaniment patterns like the boom chick and Alberti bass, and show students how to arrange lead sheet accompaniments if they are playing for singers and instrumentalists. The book also includes tips for chord voicing, eight traditional song lead sheets, and a piano chord chart.

Print Piano Lesson Book

The Piano Chords Fun Book | Arranging Made Easy


48 Chord Piano Chord Chart (2 Pages)
Popular Accompaniment Patterns for the Left Hand
Accompanying Singers and/or Instrumentalists
The Basics of Voicing Chords
Eight Lead Sheets (Music, Chords, Lyrics of Traditional Songs)
Music Manuscript Paper (2 Pages)

The Piano Chords Fun Book makes accompanying fun. The book begins with learning to accompany simple songs, and a basic pattern – the boom-chick.  Examples are provided,  along with lead sheets so students can start their arrangement with the example and then complete an arrangement for the whole song. The second section provides student with examples of how to create arrangements for singers and instrumentalists. The third section introduces chord voicing. Voicing chords is the process of choosing which chord members to double, how thin or thick a chord should be, or how much space there should be between chord members.  The last section of the book includes lead sheets – eight in all.

Includes Jesus Loves Me, Hot Cross Buns, Baby Bumblebee, Mary Ann, Brahms’ Lullaby, Jingle Bells, Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella and Simple Gifts

The lead sheets selected for the edition are perfect for getting students started with accompanying from lead sheets.  After they complete this book, they should be ready to branch out to fake books, like:

The Easy Children’s Fake Book – Melody Lyrics & Simplified Chords In The Key Of C
The Easy Christmas Fake Book: 100 Songs in the Key of C (Fake Books)
The Easy Disney Fake Book – 100 Songs In The Key Of C


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Free Piano Sheet Music for Beginners (PDF)
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Beethoven | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 1
Mozart | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 2
Tchaikovsky | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 3
Bach | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 4