What is MusicEd Blogs?
MusicEd Blogs is a collection of the best music education blogs from around the internet. We cover general music education, band, choir, strings, music education methodologies, and more. Our blogs are relevant to elementary, middle school, and high school music teachers.
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Check the blogroll below for the latest music education posts. You can also look through our contributing blogs by visiting the Members page.
- Love Bucket Drumming? Try Mini-Bucket Drumming!Do you have a young drummer in the house? You’ll love this simple but awesome drum craft! It’s based on the idea of bucket drumming – taking an unexpected item like a paint bucket and turning it into a drum. But instead of buckets, this craft reuses coffee cans and… Read more »
- Tuesday Book Club - The Nutcracker, A Pop-Up BookIt's exactly 6 months til Christmas Ya'll!This summer, I came across this AMAZING Nutcracker Pop-Up Book by Jenni Fleetwood and Illustrated by Phillida Gili. The Nutcracker is my favorite and this book will be my new go-to for telling the story to my classes.WOW. That is all I can say. … Read more »
- Summer Reading List for Music TeachersOne of the best perks of summer break for teachers is having the time and energy to read, enjoy, and process books in a way that you just can't during the school year, and especially books that make us reflect on our teaching practice in a fresh way. It's much… Read more »
- Resources for Creating a Grade-Level Song List (That You May Not Have Thought of Yet!)One of the most practical things you can do at the beginning of a school year is to have a running list of songs to use with a particular concept. Songs lists can be time consuming to put together, but in the end they give clarity on lesson planning materials… Read more »
- Is a Freelance Music Career Right for You?In music school, we learn about performance style and theory, analysis and history. We study and read and listen and write. We soak up rich musical experiences and learn to dedicate ourselves to practicing our instrument and refining our musical skill set.And if we're lucky, we learn about music careers… Read more »
- The Bear Went Over the Mountain for the Elementary Music ClassroomThe Bear Went Over the Mountain is sung to the tune of For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. To begin this lesson, sing the melody to your class and see if they recognize it. You may have a majority of students who’ve heard it before, or possibly none at all.… Read more »
- Music Teacher Tip #17: Missed LessonsOne of the most common questions I see or hear from independent music teachers is, “what do you do when a student needs to miss a lesson?” OR “Do you do make-up lessons?”I don’t do make-up lessons. Matter of fact, I am strongly against them. I don’t know where the… Read more »
- Make a Water Drum In Your Own BackyardDoes this look like fun? This musical water play is based on an actual instrument called a gourd water drum. Found both in Africa and in the ancient Mayan culture of Mexico, this drum has a completely unique and amazing sound that is deep and resonant and can be heard… Read more »
- The Qualities of an Empowered Music StudentFor a long time, our focus was on engaging the learners and making sure students were “actively engaged” in music-making in the music classroom. But more recently, we have discovered that engagement is not enough. To make an impact and to optimize life-long learning, students must be empowered. The best… Read more »
- ASMTA Conference Sessions: Tradition and Innovation Part 2Getting Over the Fear of Teaching Online and Video LessonsBy Jennifer FoxxI thought the conference theme this year was a perfect one to share my presentation, Getting Over the Fear of Teaching Online and Video Lessons. This is a session where I stress that teaching online or giving a video… Read more »
- Mendelssohn – “Elegy” from Songs Without Words, Op. 85 #4One of my students wants to learn the Brahms Intermezzo Op. 118 #2, which scares me to death because I’ve never played it. I’m reminded of the time when I tackled the Alban Berg Piano Sonata, and my teacher Sementovsky (who had never heard the work before) said to me,… Read more »
- ASMTA Conference Sessions: Tradition and Innovation Part 1I just returned from our state conference in Flagstaff, AZ. If you are not familiar with northern AZ, it’s where the rest of the state goes to visit when it’s too hot. Arizona is quite an amazing state because you can go from 115 degree weather in the middle of… Read more »
- UMT Interview: 5 Ways to Motivate Practice Over the SummerI am updating this post to let you know that I went live on Facebook with Glory St. Germain from the Ultimate Music Theory Friday, June 14th, 10:00 am CST. Glory interviewed me, where I shared, 5 Ways to Motivate Practice Over the Summer!If you couldn’t make it live, no worries! You… Read more »
- Planning the Choir Year: 4 Creative Theme Ideas for Your Children's ChoirHow do you plan your choir year?Maybe you spend some time over the summer mapping out what dates your choir will sing, what hymns you’d like to teach them, listening to new releases from the publishers to get ideas for anthems, and searching Pinterest for games and other creative ideas.Maybe… Read more »
- Rain Come Wet Me for the Elementary Music ClassroomI started my college years believing that I’d be a high school band director. Therefore, when I found myself in the elementary music classroom years later, it felt natural to include instruments in my lesson plans. Yet, for teachers without an instrumental background, it can be intimidating. Starting with the… Read more »
- Help! My Student Wants to Quit!Like all of us, over the years I have had students quit. Quitting is inevitable, we know this, but what makes it especially hard is when the quitting happens prematurely. It absolutely kills me when a student that has so much potential and is on what I would consider at… Read more »
- Meter Test (1st Revised Version)In this blogpost, you’ll find the audio files of the Meter Test – 1st revised version, along with this answer sheet (page 1 and page 2). I’m proud to announce I shaved a whopping 10 minutes off the test! From start to finish, it now takes 20 minutes to administer,… Read more »
- Games in General MusicMy students love to play games in general music class. I’m guessing yours do to. Games are the epitome of making learning fun and motivating students to be engaged in the classroom activity. This is especially helpful at this time of year, when students (and teachers) are restless anticipating the… Read more »
- Life Lately: Spring EditionI’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately - how they shift and change, pulling us into something new, yet familiar, inviting us to change right along with it.There’s something so reassuring about picturing your life this way: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose… Read more »
- How to Use Vocal Exploration in Your Rehearsals: 19 Practical IdeasVocal exploration, or time spent exploring what the voice can do is a vital part of early childhood and elementary music-making. Invite your singers to experience what their voice can do and experiment with different types of sounds.As you plan your choir rehearsals, look for new and creative ways for… Read more »
- Music Teacher Tip #16: Putting Together the “Puzzle” of Lesson SchedulesIf you have ever put together a fall schedule, then you know what I’m talking about when I say it’s like putting together a puzzle. Student, A needs to switch over to Wednesdays at 4 pm while student B needs to move up an hour, then let’s not forget students… Read more »
- 3 Curriculum Outlines: Kodaly-Inspired, Orff-Inspired, and Beginning StudentThere are so many different places you can start from when creating a Curriculum Outline. A curriculum outline is a broad overview of your entire program, across all grade levels. It’s a zoomed out picture of what concepts you want to cover, and what grades will cover them.I’ve written about… Read more »
- Best Strategies for Teaching TempoOne of the fundamental aspects of music that students need to explore in general music is tempo, but it can be difficult to come up with different lesson ideas to keep students engaged while giving them the practice they need. Today I want to share some of my most effective… Read more »
- May Favorites 2019Today is the day I get to look back on the past month and celebrate some of my highlights with you! I admit, some months I have a harder time coming up with things to share because life seems pretty mundane. Not so in May!1. International Music FestivalI've been teaching… Read more »
- Steve’s Must-Read Music Teacher PD Book ListMust-Read Music Teacher Professional Development Book List These books have a common theme, they promote Informal learning, Non-formal teaching, popular music education, or creativity, and sometimes all four! Rock Coach: A Practical Guide for Teaching Rock Bands in Schools Rock Coach by Steve Giddings Bit of a shameless self plug… Read more »
- Bubble Wrap IncentivesSince spring break, I've discovered a cheap and effective behavior incentive--BUBBLE WRAP! It happened by accident. I had opened a box of supplies but didn't have time to put them all away before my first class came in. The 5th graders immediately spotted the bubble wrap and begged to pop… Read more »
- Successful Sight-singing Strategies (Killian & Henry, 2005)Killian, J. N., & Henry, M. L. (2005). A comparison of successful and unsuccessful strategies in individual sight-singing preparation and performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 53(1), 51-65. What observable strategies or characteristics are associated with high-, medium-, or low-accuracy among high school sight-singers? Participants were 198 singers in… Read more »
- 11 Prayers for Children's ChoirPrayer is an important part of any church choir rehearsal, but maybe especially for children’s choirs.Spiritual growth goes hand-in-hand with music education in this setting, and taking time to pray together is an important part of cultivating faith, learning how to trust, and developing a personal understanding of who God… Read more »
- The Snowball Fight – A Music Composition StrategyA few weeks ago I mentioned a composition technique I tried with my beginning instrumental music students called a “snowball fight.” It’s commonly used in more academic classes, but was the perfect fit for music writing as well! Yes, I realize it’s the end of May and almost summer vacation,… Read more »
- Piano Teacher Academy All AccessElizabeth Gutierrez is offering an unbelievable deal in the Piano Teacher Academy and I wanted to be sure you knew about it. Check out the lifetime membership for webinar workshops…You will receive access to Classical Rep Prep, Repertoire Roundup, Basic Teaching Moves, Technique Solutions and more!Make It A Summer of… Read more »
- Planner Tour 2019-2020It's that time of year again: I've got my planner set up for the new school year and I'm so excited! Today I have a video tour of the entire planner, with links to everything I used and information on how I set everything up.This post contains affiliate links which… Read more »
- Ada’s Violin – Making Music From Trash!Have you heard about the children’s orchestera where the instruments were made entirely from trash taken from a garbage dump? How could this happen? You’ll love to hear the true story of a man named Favio Chávez who came to a small town in Paraguay as an environmental engineer and… Read more »
- Adults’ Recognition of Young Children’s Musical Behaviors (Reese, 2013)Reese, J. A. (2013). Adult identification of music behaviors demonstrated by young children. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 198, 51-67. Do adults’ backgrounds affect their recognition of young children’s musical behaviors? Participants were 24 child development teachers (not music specialists), 24 early childhood music teachers, and… Read more »
- Music Makers Podcast Show Notes: Review and Reset (season 2 episode 8)For so many of us, the school year has come to a close, or the end is right around the corner!However, before checking out completely, I like to take a long moment to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. What went well? What would I do… Read more »
- What to Sing with Your Summer ChoirSo, you’ve decided to have a summer choir. 😊You’ve invited your current choir members and put the word out to others in the congregation who might be interested. Now, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to sing each week.Depending on how you structure your summer choir, you may… Read more »