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Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Years FREEBIE for your first day back to school


Hopefully your beginners practiced during the holiday break, but if not, here's a fun activity for the first rehearsal back to school...FREE!  All you need is a set of dice for every 2 students.  Or, you can use one set of dice and have the entire class work on the same exercises/activities at the same time.  This kind of activity is student-driven, freeing up the teacher for helping individual students or tuning troublesome instruments.  Get yours free HERE!

Friday, December 30, 2022

New music for beginning orchestra!


I've been wishing for the perfect concert music for beginners, so I wrote some! 

I'm no Richard Meyer or Soon Hee Newbold, but I have a lot of experience teaching beginning strings and I know how hard it is to find the perfect piece for a concert. Beginners are learning so many new skills. It is important to choose concert music that reinforces those skills. Since there is much to learn, I like to have my beginners play concert music that is quick to put together.  Students feel great when they get a real piece of music they can actually play!  A piece that focuses on just a few notes and a few simple rhythms is great for beginners.  

My new music is very attainable and easy to learn because all parts take turns playing the various melody/harmony lines. That means students can practice the same melodies and harmonies before putting it all together. When rehearsing, have students practice all matching measures until they are comfortable with the notes and rhythms. Next, put it all together and it works up very quickly! 

Five Note Ramble for Beginning Orchestra - grade .5

This piece drills only 5 notes - D, E, F#, G, A.  All rhythms are simple.  All instruments gets the main melody/harmony lines at some point. 

Catalyst for Beginning Orchestra - grade 1

This piece is fast paced, set in e minor. All notes are on the on the D string and A string (D string and G string for basses). Rhythms included quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes, whole notes, and rests.  All parts share the same melody/harmony lines at some point, so it works up very easily.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Christmas lesson plan no instruments!


Last day before Christmas break and students want to play a game.  Many are absent because they had family plans/ it seems unproductive to have a regular rehearsal.  So we'll play my favorite game!  I love this game because once students know how to play, they can do it themselves. It frees me up to get some work done and get my classroom ready for the new year.  Students love the game and it promotes friendship and team bonding.  Access for free HERE!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Give students time to CREATE - favorite websites for music creation


Once a week, I do a 'Flex' day in my orchestra classes.  This is 20 minutes of time devoted to helping struggling students, allow students to complete missing work, and provide enrichment activities for students who need no help from me.  I have grown to love my flex days.  Many of my students have found a new passion for creating music because of the time they get to spend exploring various websites. Here are my favorites....   (as a side note, these sites are GREAT for sub plans!)

Turn everyday sound effects into music:

Lots of settings here to create music.  For a challenge, try to re-create a recognizable tune:

Links to an external site.

Make your own grooves to use as metronome:

Blob opera: to an external site.

Make a Line Rider music video: to an external site.


Turn text into music.  Send kind musical notes to friends or teachers.:

Links to an external site.

Write your own song: Links to an external site.  - $2 per student account - way worth it!

Type a drum beat - turn text into a groove.  Save the link and send to friends for a 'groovy' message:

Links to an external site.

Groove pizza - create your own slices of music: to an external site.

If you like Mario, you'll love this:  Mario Sequencer:

Links to an external site.

Turn keyboard into a piano. Record a song and email it to friends: