Being a music teacher is pretty awesome. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pride when you see your students rocking it in a performance or introducing them to a new song or instrument that will stay with them for life. That being said, it can be tough being the only or one of a few “specials” teachers in your building. Having fewer people teaching your subject can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding new music lesson plans, resources, and ideas to bring into your classroom.
Our friends at Wenger love curating excellent music resources for just this reason. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best lesson plans, posters, and activities they share with music educators on their teacher resource blog. Take a look and then subscribe to their feed so you won’t miss out on what they’re sharing next!
1. Inspiring Music Quotes Posters
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” I get happy shivers reading that powerful quote from Bono, the lead singer of U2. Just think how powerful it could be displayed on your classroom wall. Decorating a classroom can be expensive, so these 12 free posters are a great find. They’re available to download in color and in black & white. They also come with helpful suggestions on how you can use them in a variety of ways. For example:
- Use them to add color to your classroom walls.
- Print them in note-card size and use them for positive notes home.
- Use them as a screen saver on your classroom iPads.
- Add them to your concert programs when you need to fill a little space.
2. Music-Focused Virtual Field Trips
Perfect for those “down days” right after a performance or as emergency sub plans, these virtual field trips are great for introducing your students to different music styles, showing them performances they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise, or just for fun. While you do have to pay for some of the experiences, plenty of them are available for free. With options ranging from the Country Music Hall of Fame to the Kennedy Center, you’re sure to find something for any grade level.
3. Musical “Brain Breaks”
Perfect as an introduction to a lesson or when you have a few extra minutes at the end of class, this collection of videos is definitely one to bookmark for later. They range from just plain fun, like the Muppet version of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to super interesting, like the Cymatics Hose Pipe Water Experiment. Your students are going to be asking you to watch these again and again.
4. Intro to Improvisation Lesson Plan
Introduce your students to the basics of improvisation with this free lesson plan. It’s ready to print and go, containing everything you need to get started immediately. During the activity, students are asked to use the names of easily recognized snacks to create different rhythms. Milky Way Kit Kat, Reese’s Pieces Twix, Skittles Skittles M&Ms, Milky Way Crunch! The download includes teacher directions and word-rhythm cards students will use to make their improvised patterns. The lesson can be adapted for grades 3-12. The Wenger blog also provides extension activities so you can take the learning even further.
5. Composer Quotes Posters
This collection of nine colorful posters, each sharing a famous quote from a well-known composer, will be a perfect addition to any music classroom, band or orchestra room, practice room, or just about anywhere else music is taught and appreciated. Claude Debussy, Duke Ellington, Jean Sibelius, and Jennifer Higdon are just a few of the composers quoted. We love the diversity of composers and their ideas. They’re perfect for making students stop and think deeply about music, if only for a minute. My favorite? Jean Sibelius’ “Music begins where the possibilities of language end.”
6. Easy Classroom Music Games
Every teacher likes to have a few fun and easy games in their toolbox for just the right moments. And Wenger is giving music teachers 20 of them! That’s right, 20 easy music games with accompanying videos that all are perfect for almost any grade level. This great collection has something for every occasion. There are games that require simple instruments. There are games that only require students to listen. You can find games that get students up and out of their seats and games that can be played when you need everyone to calm down a bit. It’s a great list to keep somewhere that’s easily accessible.
7. Listening Journal Pages
Regardless of their grade, listening skills and responding to music is a national or state standard in most programs. These journal pages provide an excellent way for students to keep track of their thoughts as they listen to new music. Different sections of the journal allow students to rate a song and discuss what they liked and disliked. They’re a great way to encourage students to slow down and really consider what they’re hearing. They also can be used as a reflection tool by asking students to go back and consider their initial impressions after listening to a piece multiple times.
8. Seven Low-Prep Music Lesson Plans
You read that right: Wenger has created seven ready-to-go music lesson plans for music teachers. They’re perfect for those days when you need a quick and easy activity that doesn’t take a ton of coordination for you or your students. Linked to high-interest YouTube videos like Vox’s “Why the US national anthem is terrible—and perfect,” your students will love them. And you’ll love downloading them all for free and keeping them for when you need them. They’d be great as emergency sub plans or simply as a fun change of pace.
When you’re one of the only music teachers in the building, knowing where to look for excellent resources, music lesson plans, and activities is super important. Wenger knows how important music education is for our students and supports music educators in their important role.