Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ping-Pong Rhythms

Ping-Pong Rhythms is another game that a small group of students can play.  While others work with the teacher on instruments or on a specific music project, Ping-Pong Rhythm students are content with playing while learning about rhythms.  The idea for this game was discovered when we purchased a dog feeder, and shortly there after found out that our dog didn't know when to stop eating.  So, here we had a dog feeder with no real use.  My attention then quickly turned to music class!  How can it be used?  The beauty of the dog feeder is that because it has an incline, it offers an automatic return for a ping-pong ball.  This was great!  We went to the dollar store to hunt down some balls.

Here are the items that are needed to make Ping-Pong Rhythms:
~A Dog Feeder
~10 Ping-Pong Balls
~One large dice
~Instructions for the game

This next picture shows the instructions for the game.  It has been a great hit!
Music game for elementary age students.  DIY project from

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rock and Roll Forever Soda Shop

When considering the look of a stage for a good old rock and roll show, a great thought is an old fashion soda shop.  For this musical production, we used the show called "Rock and Roll Forever- How it All Began" by John Jacobson and John Higgins.  This program features the music of many old favorite artists, groups and music from the past.  One of the songs from the show was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".  During this song, the kids rolled out this picture of The Beatles.  When the bridge of the song began, the kids lifted the face of a Beatle, put their face through the poster and started to sing.  Additionally, this poster made an outstanding "photo op" for the kids and family after the show.  Although an overhead projector could be used to trace the bodies, it could also be drawn free hand as this artist had done. (Nice work Mr. M)

The counter for the soda shop was made of black bookshelves from the music room.  They were perfect, as the back of the shelves faced the audience and the opening of the shelves held props that kids took out during the show.  The students pretended to make ice cream sundae's and shakes behind the counter.  It really gave it that 1950's feel!

Make sure to take a close look at the jukebox in the back corner of the stage.  This jukebox was all made of cardboard by Lori Schuermann.  Lori is a mom of one of the students and has a deep love for working with paper and cardboard.  This was a hidden talent that wasn't discovered until she began working on bulletin boards around the campus and sets for the shows.  She is truly amazing and has agreed to share her creations and ideas with us!  Yeah!  Keep looking for our new page called, Lori's Creations coming soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Composer of the Month

With time constraints always being an issue in music class, a friend made the suggestion to have a "Composer of the Month".  The idea is to post in a frame a picture of a famous composer.  Then pick a time during the month such as the first week or second week to play one composition by this composer.  It can be played as the students enter the classroom, can be used as transition music or even to exit.  It's always amazing to hear how many songs the kiddos recognize from various life situations.  Life can be so fast moving, but teaching children to stop, listen and make an educated decision about music is truly a life long lesson. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ducky Music Symbols Game

Let's admit it.  Getting 30 elementary kiddos to work in harmony (both literally and figuratively), is quite a major task.  This is why the discovery of musical centers was very pleasing to me!  As most wonderful ideas, this came from a co-worker, who learned it from and co-worker and shared it with many.  (Thank you Shawna and Claire).  Although this specific idea came straight from my little head, it all came to be because of learning experience as a substitute music teacher.

Ducky Music Symbols Game can be played with 1 to 5 players.  Thus making it a great game for students to play while the teacher is working with small groups.
Here's a list of items used to make the game.
  • An old cologne box  (Any small box would do.)
  • 16 small rubber duckies
  • 16 playing cards
  • Sharpie Permenent Marker
  • Printer

The playing cards for the game were made from this wonderful link on

The rubber duckies were purchased at a party store. With a Sharpie marker, each music symbol was written on the bottom of each duck.  This could also be done with rhythms or notes on a specific clef.

Once all the ducks were labeled and flash cards were made, the instructions on how to play the game and a key was typed up and glued inside the box.  The key was added to the game for the students who might not remember what the music symbol looks like just by seeing the name.

The original plan was to have a small container with water to have the ducks float on top, much like a carnival game.  Unfortunately, these duckies continued to float face down, thus showing the music symbol.  So, if you would like to use water, make sure that the ducky is heavier on the bottom than the head.
*Please note an error in the key of the instructions. (mp should read mezzo piano, not mezzo forte).

The kiddos really enjoyed playing the game and it gave me time to work with a small group that needed  some extra help.  Extra time to help students and kids learning music symbols through a game is a win-win!  Have fun!

UPDATE!!  Here is a twist on the ducks.  It shows that anything in the dollar store can work with a little imagination!  Thank you Judy C. for sharing!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Character Counts - Show Set

Here's an idea for a stage set to be used in a "Character Counts" show.  The scene was to show a place where kids come to play and sometimes, not play so well together.  This was a perfect format to sing about trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship!

The trees were made from school butcher paper and the trunks of the trees were stapled to the back wall.  The green leaves of the tree were hung from the ceiling to give the illusion of a very large old tree.

The slide was put together using a ladder and a real sliding board.  Although the kids did not slide down the board, they were able to sit at the bottom of the slide and stand at the top.  This really looked great on the stage and allowed for the parents to have a "photo op" of their little star for the scrapbook!

When this picture was taken, our second borrowed bench had not yet been delivered, but we promise, those two classroom chairs were removed for the performance.

This set was designed by many awesomely creative people, but the loudest shout outs must go to:
Lori S. (The Magic Paper Lady), and (Draw It On the Spot) Victoria! Love you two!

Welcome to Music Class Ideas!

Music Class Ideas is a place where you can find fun and exciting things to do in your elementary music class.  All the concepts have been tried in the classroom and have been successful for a music teacher.  Search through the categories to discover ideas from awesome website links to play sets and costumes!  Many of these lesson plans have been shared by other teachers and if the idea did come from somewhere else, you'll be sure to know.  This way you can visit their sites for more fantastic lesson plans and learn ways to inspire the children you teach to love music!

It is so important to share ideas and things that continue to work in your classroom, so if you have an idea or would love to share your link, please email us at  We would be so pleased to hear from you.  Hey, we know that teaching music is a crucial element in the development of the whole child, so we need to help and support each other to be the best we can for the students.  Sharing is caring and let's not forget what Dr. Seuss says, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not."  So search and share your ideas, because YOU the music teacher are the expert!
Music matters!