Happy New School Year!! I hope that you are having a restful, safe, and healthy summer! We are all getting ready for the upcoming school year ~ with all of its madness, so I have put together some administrative items, fun and engaging activities, and resources to help you through the first couple of weeks back to school and beyond. Regardless if you are online, on a cart or in your very own classroom, these lessons and games will meet standards and get your students excited about music!

Ice Breakers

Although we know most of our students from the previous year, the students themselves may not know each other all that well. Here are 5 fun activities to help everyone get to know one another ~ again!

1. Play “The Minister’s Cat” while tapping a steady beat (since we cannot sit in a circle, tell students the order they need to go in or write it up on the board)

  • The first time play it as is (Click HERE for how to play)
  • Instead of saying “The Minister’s Cat is a ______ cat” say “Ms. Smith’s class is a ______ class”, but kids still need to say it in rhythm and think of an adjective that begins with the next letter of the alphabet. (Insert their regular classroom teacher’s name for “Ms. Smith”)
  • If you are using Zoom: the steady beat will not be as accurate and you will need to post a paper next to you on your camera showing the order to make it easier!

2. An At Home Scavenger Hunt

  • If you are teaching remotely, click HERE for how to play

If you are in your classroom or another room, play it as a class

  • Have kids look around and raise their hand when they find an item
  • More than likely you will need to “plant” items to ensure all items are found!


Games keep children engaged while they learn and you get to assess a bit ~ win-win! Here are a few of my favorites!!

1.  5 Virtual Musical Games For Teachers

2.  Virtual Musical Games: Part 2

3. “Name That Song” 

    • Clap out a rhythm of a song
    • Ask kids to name it without the melody
    • Play melody to check to see if they are correct

The Main Event

For the days when you want to dive a little deeper into content, I have compiled a list of 5 lessons that will help you assess where your students are while teaching them new ones!
First, though, we must tackle the issue of singing ~ “How Can I Keep From Singing?” Click the link to find out how to cover singing and melody work in this new reality!
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to it!

  1. What is art? What is music? ~ This is a great way to connect music to other fine arts. Choose 3-5 pieces in art (Jackson Pollack or Andy Warhol) and/ or music (Philip Glass or Terry Riley) and ask the question “Is this art?” or “Is this music?” Follow up questions can be: “What makes it art/ music?” or “Do you like it? Why or why not?”
  2. How do you and your family use music in your everyday lives and has it changed since we are spending more time at home? ~ there is a meme on Facebook that asks what quarantine would be like without fine arts, emphasizing the impact they have on our lives. This is the perfect time for our student to answer this question!
  3. A “Start – Sustain – Stop” Silly Sound Lesson ~ This super fun lesson can be taught in class, on a cart or virtually!! The main goal is for kids to start a sound, sustain it, then end it at the correct time…..and they love it because they get to be silly!!
  4. Syllables and Notes ~ This lesson is an introduction to how syllables affect notation: 1 syllable, 1 note/ 2 syllables, 2 notes etc.… If you do not have magnetic items, you can cut out photos of items instead!
  5. Create a Rhythm Chain ~ While you sustain a steady beat, have kids pass along a rhythm: One student creates a rhythm using body percussion and plays it. Without missing a beat, the next student plays it, then the next until it goes around the room several times. The end result should be an ostinato where each measure it played by a different student.
    1. VARIATION: have first student play a rhythm, the next student plays it AND then plays his/ her own. The 3rd student plays the first and second rhythm and adds to it with his/ her own. At this point you might want to start over, as remembering any more than that could be difficult. The fun, though, is in finding out how many rhythms can one student remember!
    2. For virtual classrooms, the beat will not be perfect as we are not all in real time. You do the best you can under the circumstances!


This year there are going to things we will need to rely on more than ever! Here are my top 5:

  1. The internet ~ YouTube, Safeshare, Edpuzzle, etc…
  2. Individual Dry Erase Boards ~ place paper (with or without staves) in a sheet protector and have kids use dry erase markers.
  3. Body Percussion ~ We have never needed clapping, patching, etc… as much as we do now!! 
  4. Homemade Instruments ~ shaker eggs and drums are going to become our favorite as they are simple and cheap to make!
  5. Morning Messages ~ Time will be a factor, as usual, but this year transitions will most likely take longer due to area capacity restrictions. Click the above link on how to save a little time!

Find out more about the Note Knacks and our method by clicking HERE!