Tag Archives: Teaching music

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
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Teaching Solfège | Song and Activity Pack for the Music Classroom
John Williams Film Score Music Listening Glyphs | Music Lesson Plan


Tchaikovsky | Homeschool Music Lesson Curriculum

You don’t have to be an expert in Russian Romantic composers to give your students an appreciation of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. With a few helpful resources, you can introduce Tchaikovky’s life and greatest musical contributions. Studying Tchaikovsky is certainly a worthwhile investment, as many of his works are cultural staples, and he is credited with bringing Russian music onto the international scene.

The fact that many of Tchaikovsky’s most famous pieces were written for ballets also makes them great choices for younger children to study. These programmatic works convey distinctive senses of mood, time, and place, and can be connected with the stories of the ballets. Playing clips or even full recording of some of Tchaikovsky’s most appealing pieces may be a great way to pique students’ interest as you begin your study. Selections from the Nutcracker, such as Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, Trepak, or Arabian Dance would all work nicely, and recordings can be found on YouTube. Students could be asked to draw images that the music makes them picture, write or describe a story inspired by the song, move to the music, or simply share observations and feelings about the music.

Once students have been drawn in by the music, the study can begin with an overview of the composer’s life. This accessible yet thorough one-page free Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Printable Biography introduces the composer. To review the facts from the biography, use the Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Word Search and the Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet. The word search asks students to return to the biography text and determine possible keywords to look for in the word search, which requires higher level critical thinking. The job application is a practical way to synthesize the composer’s life experiences and accomplishments. A visual element can also be incorporated with the Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Coloring Page, allowing students to put a face with the name.

Depending on how in-depth you want students to study Tchaikovsky’s life and context, further research can be assigned, with findings presented in writing, electronic presentation, or speech. However, if a more general study is your goal, your students should have enough of a foundation to move on.

An introduction to Tchaikovsky must include an introduction to the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker FunLib™ Story and Worksheet is a fun way to teach and review the basics of the Nutcracker’s plot. One page provides a succinct summary of the story, and the second page provides a synopsis with blanks where keywords should be. The second page could be used to create a silly story by having students choose words to fill in the blanks without seeing the context. After you read the nonsense story, students could guess what some of the real answers might be as a pre-reading exercise for the real story. The FunLib could even be used again for review after the real story has been read.

Then, to study the music of the Nutcracker, use the Nutcracker Venn Diagram (Tchaikovsky) Worksheet. You can select any two pieces from the Nutcracker Suite: Arabian Dance (“Coffee”), Chinese Dance (“Tea”), Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, March, Russian Dance (“Trepak”), Dance of the Reed Flutes, or Waltz Of The Flowers. Depending on students’ ages and musical background knowledge, you could leave the comparison and contrast open-ended, allowing them to observe any similarities and differences they think of. If they need guidance, you could instruct them to listen for dynamics (volume), speed (tempo), instrumentation (which instruments are playing), the mood and feelings the music creates, or articulation (slurred, tongued, staccato, legato) to get them started.

To listen to an individual piece more critically, try Tchaikovsky Listening Glyphs available on Teachers Pay Teachers. These allow students to represent with colors what they are hearing the music. Glyphs give students specific musical elements to listen for and provide two choices for them to decide between. These simple listening activities help increase students’ musical vocabulary and observation skills.

For additional types of listening activities, consider the Composer of the Month: Peter Tchaikovsky Bundle, also available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Also included in the bundle is a biography slide show, worksheets, interesting facts, and visual aids.

For review or culminating assignment, options abound. Students could write or present on almost any aspect of Tchaikovsky that interest them. This might include comparing and contrasting his life and/or work with another composer they have studied, reviewing or comparing different performances of his works, analyzing one or more of his works in greater depth, or researching his life and contributions further. For a more creative project, students could create artistic products or performances inspired by Tchaikovsky’s works. These could be collages or other art products, original music compositions, dances, dramas, or creative writing. Attending an orchestral or ballet performance live and writing a critical review makes for a memorable experience, but the same can also be done with a video performance.

Students whose imaginations are captured by Tchaikovsky’s music may wish to play some of his works in their own piano studies. There are Tchaikovsky arrangements at all skill levels below.

Swan Lake (Solo) for Easy/Level 1 Piano Solo by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake (Duet) Easy/Level 1 Piano Duet by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Beriozka (The Birch Tree) for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo | 4th Symphony Theme
March Slav for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Trepak (Nutcracker) for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Arabian Dance (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano
Romeo and Juliet (Love Theme) for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Chinese Dance (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Dance of the Reeds (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Swan Lake (Theme) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo by Tchaikovsky
Theme from 1812 Overture for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
March (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Waltz of the Flowers (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo


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Elementary Music Lesson Plans | 24 Lessons
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Tchaikovsky | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 3


24 Elementary Music Lesson Plans – 1st Grade

Elementary music teachers can find themselves a bit isolated. They are often part of a small department, and many times are the only person teaching each of their grade levels. They may not get the opportunity to co-plan as some other departments do. Besides leaving music teachers with a lot of planning to do, it also leaves them without the diverse ideas, peer feedback, and encouragement that can be found when planning is done with others.

Many of these benefits can be gained by purchasing fellow teachers’ lesson plans online. When you read and use others’ lesson plans, you infuse your teaching with new ideas. You’ll see how another teacher structures her class periods, arranges her units, and sequences her semester. You can use what you like, compare ideas, and decide what will work best for your students. When you access high-quality classroom resources,  it’s like collaborating with an innovative colleague.

Lindsay Jervis is one such innovative colleague, and she offers full semester first grade lesson plan bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you are a new music teacher, new to first grade, or just need some new ideas for content or structure, this bundle can help. With 24 lessons that progress from kindergarten review to first grade concepts, you will be well on your way to a wonderful first semester of first grade. Reviewers love these plans’ organization, creativity, and effectiveness.

Print Music Lesson Plans

Get Elementary Music Lesson Plans – First Grade {24 Lessons}

Elementary Music Lesson Plans - First Grade {24 Lessons}
220 Pages (Digital Zip File)

24 Scripted Lessons Aligned with Core Arts Standards
Several songs, slide sets and resources
Links to additional songs, slide sets, worksheets, assessments, resources, etc.

Some teachers might be concerned that purchasing lesson plans online is “cheating”or taking the easy road. Depending on how you use them, though, lesson plan bundles can be an investment in your classroom and your students. As the product’s description explains, these lessons aren’t meant to be a “print and teach” substitute for planning your own lessons. Instead, they are an excellent example that you can learn from, build on, customize, and make your own. Doing things the same way you’ve always done them is the easy road– incorporating new ideas and challenging yourself to improve is anything but!

Another teacher’s well-planned semester can inspire you as you write new lessons, provide a useful template, and generate ideas. You may end up using some of the lessons just as they are, but the benefits of a great lesson plan bundle reach beyond the individual lessons. It can be an opportunity to “collaborate” with another teacher to hone your craft and, ultimately, benefit your students.


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4 Music Theory Games for Kids (Digital Print)

Whether you teach music in a classroom, in private lessons, or in a homeschool setting, your students need a solid understanding of music theory terminology, symbols, and note names. Make practicing and reviewing fun with printable music theory games. These games can be used as part of a reward/ fun day, unit review, take-home practice, or any other time you want to engage students in practicing basic music theory terms. And, with unlimited prints for your own use, you can print enough sets for a whole classroom if needed. Some of the games can even be customized by adding your own terms or questions to be reviewed.

Print Music Theory Games

1. Carnegie Hall Park. Players collect points by identifying musical terms such as dynamic markings, time signatures, note names, rests and tempo terms while avoiding parking tickets. You provide the toy cars, and this printable game set provides everything else you need for a fun review of music theory basics.

Get Carnegie Hall Park™ | Basic Skills Music Theory Board Game

Printable Game Board (Two Pages)
Instruction Sheet
24 Playing Cards
3 Parking Tickets
9 Score Cards
9 Blank Cards (For You to Add Terms and Symbols)

2. Pirate Quest. Players work their way along an adventurous path by correctly answering basic music theory questions. Review music symbols, tempo markings, note values, time signatures, and whatever other questions you’d like to add. Walk the plank cards for incorrect answers raise the stakes.

Get Pirate Quest™ | Basic Music Terms Game

30 Basic Music Term Cards
9 “Walk the Plank” Cards
Game Board
Musical Term Answer Sheet

3. The Rhythm Store. Solidify your students’ understanding of note values with this interactive game. Beats become currency in The Rhythm Store, and students must combine note values and make change to come up with correct change to make a purchase. Student shoppers will have fun while thinking about note values from a fresh perspective.

Get The Rhythm Store™ Game | Rhythm

17 Rhythm Cards
9 Price Tag Cards
Game Instructions

4. Memory. This classic memory matching game is easy to make, easy to set up, and easy to explain, but still provides valuable note name practice and friendly competition for your students. Choose from treble clef, bass clef, treble and bass clef combined, or viola clef.

Get Memory Game | Treble Clef Note Names
Get Memory Game | Bass Clef Note Names
Get Memory Game | Treble and Bass Clef Note Names
Get Memory Game | Viola Clef Note Names

Answer Key

Students don’t usually request extra music theory practice, but if it means playing any of these games, that just may change.

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UNO-Style Treble Clef Note Name Card Game
Old Maid: Music Composer Card Game

Recorder Sheet Music | Free Beginner Sheet Music

Recorders don’t get the respect that other instruments do. You don’t see them in symphony orchestras, you don’t find albums of recorder music, and you rarely see anyone over the age of ten playing one (unless they are a music teacher). But recorders play an important role in many kids’ music education. For most students, it’s the first time they’ve played any type of musical instrument. That’s a pretty exciting event! (If you don’t think so, then you’ve never tried to tell a classroom full of elementary students holding recorders not to play them.)

As you guide your students through this momentous musical experience, it’s important that you have well-designed beginner recorder sheet music to use. Students love to be able to play songs they know, so familiar tunes are a good place to start. You also need to make sure that notes are introduced gradually so that novice recorder players aren’t overwhelmed. Starting with three-note recorder music allows students to play a few recognizable songs while mastering their first few notes. Expanding to four and five note songs keeps them progressing at a comfortable pace while broadening the selection of songs they can play.

The recorder sheet music below is designed to create just such a progression. Well-known songs are arranged for beginners in three-note, four-note, and five-note recorder sheet music. All are instantly accessible digital downloads that you can add to your beginner recorder music collection immediately. And, best of all, you won’t pay a cent, because all of this beginning recorder sheet music is free.

Free Beginner Recorder Sheet Music

Introduction to the Recorder (3 Exercises)
Au Clair de la Lune for Recorder Solo (Three Note Song)
Hot Cross Buns for Recorder Solo (Three Note Song)
How I Love My Horsey for Recorder Solo (Four Note Song)
Jingle Bells for Recorder Solo (Five Note Song)
Ode to Joy for Recorder Solo (Five Note Song)
Old MacDonald for Recorder Solo (Five Note Song)
When the Saints Go Marching In for Recorder Solo (Five Note Song)

Many of the above pieces are accompanied by easy-to-follow recorder video tutorials. If you are teaching outside the classroom and aren’t a recorder expert, let MakingMusicFun’s recorder instructional videos help.

Recorders may not be glamorous, but they can teach important skills, get kids excited about music, and allow them to experience the magic of making their own music. Make sure you give them the best experience possible by providing a variety of recorder sheet music that empowers them to be successful in their first attempt at instrumental music.


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Elementary Music Lesson Assessments | K-5 Bundle

Accountability, consistency, data, evidence– these are some of the words that are shaping expectations for assessment in our music classrooms. More than ever before, schools and parents are seeking concrete evidence to demonstrate what students are, or aren’t, learning. This shift doesn’t need to make life more difficult for elementary music teachers, though. A strong, well-organized assessment system can bring numerous benefits.

If your music class assessments are not exactly systematic or unified, you aren’t alone. Assessments are often developed in isolation, for one class and for one unit at a time, especially if you are teaching music at multiple grade levels. Comparing students’ performance on various assessments throughout the school year can be like comparing apples to oranges, and some music assessments can be hard to grade objectively.

If you want to introduce more consistency and unity to your  assessment process, check out Emily Conroy’s Music Assessments Bundled for K-5th Grades. An especially great value for multi-grade teachers, this bundle provides 74 different assessments for the six grade levels included. Assessments address a number of commonly taught skills at each grade level. (Follow the link below to the product page to see a list of the different skills assessed at each grade level.)

Print Music Lesson Plan Assessments

Music Assessments Bundled for K-5th Grades

Elementary Music Assessments (K-5th Grades)
Digital Download

74 printer-friendly music assessments for kindergarten-5th grade music students (PDF )
One cumulative assessment for each grade level which may be used as a pre/post assessment.
Cover and Instruction Pages for each grade level

So what’s to gain from implementing a new assessment plan?

First, you may gain a clearer sense of your students’ and classes’ strong and weak areas. Having a better picture of what your students actually understand can only help you meet their needs. In addition, you’ll be able to communicate much more meaningfully about students’ progress and needs. Instead of trying to defend your opinion or impression of a student’s achievement, you’ll have something firm to point to.

Installing a consistent, unified assessment system can also help you track students’ performance throughout school years and even across grade levels. Finally, good assessments can help you plan well. It’s easier to decide how to spend each class period when you know where you want to end up.

Reviewers agree that Ms. Conroy’s organized, well-designed, and progressive assessments provide just the type of evidence they need to demonstrate student learning. If you are looking for a way to improve and structure assessments in your elementary music classroom, look no further.


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Musical Instrument Review Game Show | Music Lesson Plan

A great quiz game is the perfect way to wrap up a unit, prepare for an assessment, review a concept, or just have some educational fun. Creating a well-designed review game show with high-quality design and content, however, is a time-consuming prospect, and takes a fair amount of technical know-how. Luckily, many talented and tech-savvy teachers have chosen to make their creations available to the rest of us.

For example, almost any music teacher could use the Jeopardy-style musical instruments review game created by Tiny Toes and available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Users rave about the excellent design and useful content of this and her many other review game show products.

Print Music Lesson Plan

Musical Instrument Review Game Show

* Musical Instruments GAME SHOW - interactive ppt
Digital Download PowerPoint/ Interactive White Board

The clear instructions ensure that you don’t have to be a technical genius to play the game through PowerPoint or your interactive white board. Creative composer contestants add fun to the game, and score keeping is managed through the interactive game interface. Straightforward questions ask teams to identify images of musical instruments, and correct answers are immediately confirmed and points awarded.

This game is perfect for any instrumental instrument or musical instrument family unit, and it also makes a great activity for a substitute teacher. Hundreds of teachers agree that this a four-start product, and reviews report that students love it, too.


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10 Music Theory Worksheets and Games for Kids
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Rhythm Squeeze: Piano Game
Entry Kentry | Music Lesson Plan (Passing Game)
Music Practice Games and Tools | Digital (PDF)