Lesson Plans

10 free Lion King video clips re. making of

May 9, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJkUKcNcfR0 This is the first of TEN free YouTube clips about the making of the stage production of the Lion King. Classes might talk about musicals, African music, percussion, music to create moods … ENJOY!


12 bar blues – beginner keyboard chords

February 11, 2013

Today I told Year 8 that teenagers today learn ‘heaps’ from YouTube … I handed out keyboards … and pressed ‘play’ on THIS YouTube clip. All I had to do was wander around the class admiring their progress, and making a few corrections. :-)


26 May 2011 – National Sorry Day

May 25, 2011

For Sorry Day (26 May 2011) or for Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June 2011) listen to Black Arm Band’s music on YouTube (www.youtube.com) and discuss the band’s motivation for performing (read on). Listen to Gurrumul Yunupingu’s soulful music (eg. Wiyathul) while doing written work (www.grooveshark.com lets you listen for free).

Black Arm Band has just been asked to perform at the London Olympics in 2012


The aim of Black Arm Band (www.blackarmband.com.au) is: “It is a creative meeting place for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists and producers to develop, perform, promote and celebrate contemporary Australian Indigenous music as a symbol of resilience and hope in the spirit and action of reconciliation.”


4 chord songs: lesson idea

June 18, 2012

HERE is a YouTube clip of the Axis of Awesome singing dozens of songs with the same chord progression (I  V vi IV). NB: One profanity. HERE is a similar clip with slightly different songs – some of them use the same chord progression but at twice the speed. After watching both, write up the chord progression in C (for keyboard = all white notes): C   G   a minor   F … and in G (for guitars): G   D   e minor   C. Ask students to learn one or other progression, so they can play the majority of pop songs!


41 classroom ideas for using GarageBand

July 23, 2011


Here are 41 FREE ideas from Scott Watson about ways to use GarageBand software in the music classroom. (You may need to login to Google in order to view this file.)



A Great Landscape DVD – worksheet

May 28, 2011

“A Great Landscape” was a 2008 DVD created by www.vea.com.au and is available via Click View. It discusses Indigenous self-expression through music, focussing on a Hip Hop band.

If you want to show this 36 min video to your class for Reconciliation Week (or any other week), here are some possible questions:

Name a famous Indigenous Australian band – “Yothu   __________________________ ”
Name a famous Indigenous Australian Hip Hop band?    ________________ and the Young ___________________________
Do Indigenous people own their land? If not, then what is the relationship between Indigenous people and the land?
How does music support Indigenous identity?
What do lyrics describe in Indigenous music?
What is empowerment?
Music and song allow indigenous people to share _________________ with a wider community and audience.
Clapping and click sticks are ___________ - phones
Didgeridoos are ____________ - phones
In the past, who was NOT allowed to play didgeridoo, according to sacred law?
Is Indigenous Australian history always written down?
What political issues do contemporary Indigenous artists address?
How can music be used as a means of protest?
What type of band was “No Fixed Address”? Reggae, Folk, Pop or Hip Hop?
When did Archie Roach come to fame, with the song “Took the Children Away”?
During the Sydney 2000 Olympics, what did “Midnight Oil” have written on their costumes? Why?
Who is Shane Howard? 
“Solid Rock” was the first Pop song to feature the didgeridoo. About what were the lyrics written?
What prevents some Indigenous artists from accessing mainstream venues (at times)?
What is CAAMA?

Aboriginal inspiration for a Soundscape lesson

June 20, 2011

Aboriginal stories about life and life-cycles revolve around 4 different natural elements.

Sun, Moon, Water, Land

Divide your class into 4 groups, each labelled Sun, Moon, Water or Land. In 15 minutes they will choose classroom instruments and/or sound sources to depict their label … Each group performs to the rest of the class … Discuss and decide upon a logical order for the soundscape sections … Perform all 4 sections in their order.


accelerando lesson plan

May 5, 2013

Play the following two songs, and ask the students to guess what they have in common: Zorba the Greek & In the Hall of the Mountain King (by Grieg). ANSWER = accelerando (gradual speeding up of tempo). In pairs, ask students to create their own 30 second composition which features an accelerando.


ACO Reef documentary (ABC)

February 22, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-EkRHRxSDY ACO is currently touring “The Reef” program around Australia – this 2 minute YouTube clip shows ACO’s multimedia approach – music + waves + technology. Ask students for other ideas re. uniting Art music with nature. View the concert program HERE.


ACO Tour 1 2012 free notes

March 14, 2012

Tour 1 WA Tour 1 NSW Tour 1 VIC Tour 1 SA Tour 1 QLD Tour 1 ACT

Above are the links to the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s FREE teaching notes and lesson ideas for their 2012 Tour 1. Lesson content is designed for Secondary students.


ACO Tour 2, 2012 – free lesson content

April 20, 2012


Above are the links to the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s FREE teaching notes and lesson ideas for their 2012 Tour 2 (TWO). Lesson content is designed for Secondary students.


Acoustical Science (ArtsEdge USA)

June 1, 2010

Go to resource: Brass Instruments and Pitch, Percussion Instruments and Pitch, String Instruments and Pitch, & Woodwind Instruments and Pitch are four lessons that cover how to make basic musical instruments. Read more…


Acting Up, A Melodrama (ArtsEdge USA)

June 1, 2010

Go to resource: Acting Up, A Melodrama, published by the Kennedy Center, US, and written by Mary Beth Bauernschub, is a unit based on the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read more…


Age of Enlightenment – song writing project

January 25, 2011

Enlightenment Assignment – a Secondary school Music assignment for small groups. Lesson structure, assignment work and marking matrix are all included (free).


AMPAL lyric writing activity (free)

August 6, 2012

FREE RESOURCE HERE: Use these questions to inspire lyric-writing in groups.

  1. Decisions made in the past
  2. Decisions I made when there was an alternative
  3. The best decision I ever made
  4. The worst decision I ever made
  5. Which Way to Go?
  6. Where to in future?
  7. Things in my mind I want to escape from
  8. The best place I’ve ever been
  9. What role music in making decisions?

aMuse Sample Units

January 11, 2011

Sample Units from Australian Music Educators Assoc (Vic) – under the heading “aMuse VELS Support Documents”


Animal Habitats (ArtsEdge, USA)

December 15, 2009

Go to resource: Animal Habitats (from ArtsEdge Unit, USA) was written by Diane Ambur. Read more…


Animation: How to read notation BRILLIANT

July 20, 2013

This Ted Ed free video lesson (by Tim Hansen) uses a 5 minute video to show how to understand music notation, followed by a quiz and some discussion points. A slight audio error towards the end gives gifted students a chance to find-an-error!


Anti-Bullying songs

March 14, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTNVXlirF4Y Don’t Laugh At Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIDarYJHCpA Caught in the Crowd (for middle school)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpx7VBeel0 It’s OK to be different

Play these three songs to kids, and ask what the common theme is. (anti-bullying & accepting difference)



June 12, 2013

This morning, the Australian Human Rights Commission launched a new online anti-racism resource, What you say matters, to educate and engage young people about racism and to empower them to respond safely when they experience or witness racism.

The resource has been developed after extensive consultation with young people. It includes a hip-hop video clip and online educational content, and is designed to encourage 14-17 year olds to reflect and to act safely in response to incidences of racism at school, in their peer group, sports club or communities. The music video clip features Indigenous hip hop artist Brothablack and was created with the participation of students from James Meehan High School in south western Sydney.

You can find the resource on the “Racism. It Stops with Me’ campaign website (http://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/whatyousaymatters).

What you say matters seeks to answer the key questions that young people we surveyed told us they wanted more information about:

·         What is racism?

·         Why are people racist?

·         Who experiences racism?

·         Where does racism happen?

·         Why is racism a problem?

·         What can you do?

·         What does the law say?

We would appreciate any assistance you can provide in promoting the resource through your networks.

What you say matters has been funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) under the National Anti-Racism Strategy.


ANZAC Day music

April 23, 2012

THIS website offers free samples of music to be used for ANZAC Day. Perhaps teach a lesson on what each piece represents and why they are played on ANZAC Day. Background info HERE. Sheet music HERE.


Approaches to Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 2

March 8, 2010

Go to resource: Approaches to Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 2 outlines music standards and activities that could be incorporated in lesson planning.

Read more…


Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 1 (Vic)

March 8, 2010

Go to resource: Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 1 (Vic) outlines music standards and activities that could be incorporated in lesson planning.

Read more…


Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 3 (Vic)

March 8, 2010

Go to resource: Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 3 (Vic) outlines music standards and activities that could be incorporated in lesson planning.

Read more…


Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 4 (Vic)

March 8, 2010

Go to resource: Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 4 (Vic) outlines music standards and activities that could be incorporated in lesson planning.

Read more…


Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 5 (Vic)

March 8, 2010

Go to resource: Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 5 (Vic) outlines music standards and activities that could be incorporated in lesson planning.

Read more…


Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 6 (Vic)

March 8, 2010

Go to resource: Approaches to Learning and Teaching – The Arts (Music) Level 6 (Vic) outlines music standards and activities that could be incorporated in lesson planning.

Read more…


Archie Roach – quote to inspire composition

February 17, 2013

This quote is found under the CD of Archie Roach’s latest album: “Into the Bloodstream“. Read the quote to your students and ask them to write a composition or song in response.

“My recent bouts of illness I’m sure are a result of the Pain of being removed from my family at a young age and more recently the loss of someone I loved so dearly. But Pain can also bring about change in one’s life for the better. We can choose to ignore the Pain until it becomes unbearable or we can do something. You see some events in my life I will never truly get over and the Pain will always be there but I can do something about it. I can write songs, songs about making it to the Top of the Hill no matter how far, songs about not being alone so don’t cry, songs about all of us having a song to sing and songs we can dance to.”


Arts Alive – multi arts online content for Oz teachers

July 19, 2013


Multi-arts online lessons, videos and other free resources, produced by the Songroom.



February 15, 2011

ArtsAlive.ca – US website with lots of free lesson plans, recordings and interactive Music websites


ArtsEdge Kennedy Centre Music Lesson Plans (USA)

February 15, 2010

Go to resource: ArtsEdge Kennedy Centre Music Lesson Plans (USA) offers dozens of music lesson plans, many of which are integrated with other subjects such as science and maths. Read more…


Assignment – reflect on how music preferences effect your identity

July 3, 2011


A free lesson plan from Nick Jaworski designed for Year 9-12 students reflecting on MUSIC & IDENTITY. It involves using Audacity (or other music editing software) to create a 3 minute audio project. This project may suit Challenge-Based-Learning principals.


Baraka lesson idea

May 24, 2012

HERE is a scene from Baraka called “Balinese monkey chant”. Baraka is a feature-length film without any script. Show this scene to a class, and discuss the role of music in eastern cultures, how a film can be created without any scripted text, the importance of music in films … Enjoy!


being crazy – essay

October 9, 2011

Watch this advertisement (spoken by Steve Jobs) and write up to a page about creativity, innovation, being ‘crazy’, and how music can help change the world.


Blog – Mrs Brown’s Music Class

January 17, 2011

Mrs Brown’s Music Class – a blog for a Primary Music class, along with teacher notes of successful lessons.


Bobby McFerrin vocal improv lesson on YouTube

April 8, 2011



brilliant lesson ideas

May 11, 2011

If you just taught a brilliant lesson, PLEASE send an email description of what/how you did it! Then we can share your inspiration freely on www.musiceducation.edu.au

THANKS!       schools.mpfl@mca.org.au


Build a school in the cloud

March 9, 2013

Watch this TED talk on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3jYVe1RGaU with Middle School students. Then ask them to self-organise into groups (with internet access) and pursue their own choice of ‘big question’ to do with music.


busking for Beethoven

March 28, 2013

Play this film clip of “Best Coin” to your class … discuss why people respond emotionally to music … then discuss ways they could create their own flash mob in your community.  www.wimp.com/bestcoin/


Carnegie Hall: interactive Music history

November 7, 2012


This website shows a timeline of African American music (1600-2000). Each era has a link to information, archives and sound samples (sometimes linked to Amazon.com). Spend a lesson exploring the timeline with your secondary class. Ask them to write two paragraphs summarising their discoveries.


Cello Wars

April 28, 2013

Try this fun YouTube clip as an ice-breaker at the start of Music class – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgAlQuqzl8o. Would the same battle work on clarinet? Ask the kids for their own ideas on musical parodies.


Children, stress and natural disasters

February 2, 2011

free lesson ideas – cross-curricular ideas for teachings working with students after a natural disaster, particularly focused on ways to express feelings


Chinese Instruments (ArtsEdge USA)

June 1, 2010

Go to resource: Chinese Instruments is a two-lesson unit published by ArtsEdge, Kennedy Center (USA) and written by Mary Beth Bauernschub. Read more…


chord stats and lesson idea

June 17, 2012

THIS website analysed 1300 pop songs and plotted chord and key frequency, as well as common patterns (eg. which chord usually follows E minor in C major). Ask students to read through the webpage, summarise the findings, and write a song which follows some of the website suggestions.


cinematic musical

March 19, 2012

Watch THIS TEDx YouTube clip about a collaboratively-made film by Daniel Johns (from Silverchair) and Josh Wakely. Discuss how music can be inspired by images, stories and pictures. Discuss how film can be inspired by music.


Classics for Kids

March 3, 2010

Go to resource: Classics for Kids is a podcast station that streams classical music suitable for children.

Read more…


Classics for Kids Lesson Plans (USA)

March 3, 2010

Go to resource: Classics for Kids Lesson Plans (USA) are classical music lesson plans designed for students aged 5 to 11 years of age.

Read more…


clever music videos pinterest Katie Wardrobe

December 10, 2012


This page is full of fun music-related videos to show students. Ice-breakers, end-of-year fun, unit-starters …


ColdPlay live @ Apple

April 21, 2013

Watch 20 mins worth of ColdPlay performing live on YouTube. Take notes on stage-craft (actions, moves and dress), how they engage the crowd, what percussion is played, and what makes this live performance so exciting. Suggest students incorporate some of these ideas into their own band performances.


computers: just for fun

May 20, 2012

Here are a couple of website  … just for fun … last 5 mins of a lesson?




connecting classical and pop music – free lesson plan

April 27, 2011



contemp music suggestions for class bands (Musical Futures)

January 21, 2012

THIS NING is an online meeting place for teachers to suggest repertoire for class bands (Year 3-10): http://musicteachersnetwork.ning.com/forum/topics/songs-for-kids-in-musical?id=6343590:Topic:2305&page=2#comments Pick a few songs, and ask groups of student to learn them by ear or using the internet. Give them 6 weeks and see what happens!


Copyright lesson plan and worksheet

June 13, 2012

This lesson plan and worksheet, provided by Bev Babbage (Toormina High School), is written for secondary students, but could be adapted to Year 5-6 as well. It starts with Gotye’s hit song (which uses public domain AND copyright materials) and leads towards contemplation of media piracy. THANKS BEV!


Covers – lesson plan

March 7, 2012

Write a brief paragraph about covers in books (introduce the words ‘cover’ and original’). Watch THIS original video of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by THIS cover version by The Muppets. Ask students what stayed the same and what differed in the cover version.


Create a class song-book

June 14, 2011

Lesson idea: Write songs, create a song book, and create illustrations.

Here’s an example from Pine Creek Primary School:



Create a drum melody – “We’ve Got the Music”

June 19, 2011

Use the 3 main notes from the chorus of this year’s MUSIC: COUNT US IN program song “We’ve Got the Music” to create a 3-tone drum melody.

(1) Group your classroom drums or classroom percussion or junk percussion into three different groups (high, middle and low)

(2) Allocate the lowest drums to B-flat, the middle drums to C and the highest drums to E-flat.

(3) Re-create the chorus melody on 3 different drums: “Get on your feet, feel your heartbeat, we’ve got the music. We’re not too proud to sing it out loud, we’re not afraid to use it.”

Try the activity aurally, playing along with the MP3 found at www.musiccountusin.org.au

(4) Write the drum tune on the board using letters: L = low drums, M = medium drums, H = high drums

LM  LM  L MM M      M  M  LH  M

ML  M  M ML   LM   M            MMMM   LH    M

(5) If your school has signed up for “Music: Count Us In”, then you can access the free backing-track (‘For Teachers’ section) and play the drum melody along with the chorus.

This lesson was inspired by “Izo Beat” from Islington Public School


create-your-own notation activity

July 19, 2011

Lesson Idea: Ask Middle School students to create their own way of writing music. Students might work in groups or individually.

Use the book “Notations 21: Visualizing Music Notation” for some interesting examples / inspiration. (Many pages are shown free online.)

Share ideas with the class, explaining how the new notation ‘works’.



June 23, 2012


Primary and Secondary students are encouraged to sing / dance / play a song, record it, and send it to Generation One. The aim is to start classroom conversations on indigenous issues and reconciliation. A free classroom kit is available on CD.


creative digital tasks for Aussie students (with prizes)

August 1, 2012

Here are a series of digital challenges for students - exciting
opportunities for music students across Australia.

The eTrack challenge gives students the great opportunity: To write
and record an original song that tells a story. The story may be based
on personal experience, a friend, a folklore or fairy-tale.

Winners will be awarded digital prizes from our sponsors Adobe, Wacom
and Scholastic at the exciting ceremony at the Sydney Opera House in

Other opportunities include:
* eProfile challenge: To create an informative and motivating eProfile
about an inspirational person such as a singer, composer, musician,
inventor, instrument maker, producer – anyone who is related to the
music world and inspires the students.

The website is at www.wecreate.nsw.edu.au
eTrack: wecreate.nsw.edu.au/wcc_apps/eTrack/challenge.shtm
eProfile: www.cli.nsw.edu.au/lo/challenge.shtm
> For further information please email wecreate@det.nsw.edu.au


Creative Resources for Primary Schools (NSW)

December 20, 2009

Go to resource: Creative Resources for Primary Schools. This Dept of Education and Training (NSW) page has links to DET-published resources including Arts Action, Sync or Swing, and Vocal-Ease. Read more…


Crescendo Newsletters (free)

August 11, 2012
Did you know all "Crescendo Music" Newsletters, going back over two years, are available HERE.
Another great resource at your finger tips, including free lesson plans.

Cuban students turn to music for a financial future

February 5, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq74FePwu6E Show this YouTube clip to students, and make a list of music-related jobs in our society.


Cup Songs

February 18, 2013

Watch this YouTube clip, then ask groups of students to create their own ‘plastic cup rhythms’ and music. www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcl_FkA0qJA


Curriculum Support – Creative Arts 7-12 (NSW)

February 22, 2010

Go to resource: Curriculum Support – Creative Arts 7-12 (NSW) is a NSW Department of Education and Training site that provides further resources for the teaching of the creative arts in NSW schools. Read more…


Dance video – Music Count Us In

August 6, 2011

The ‘Music Count Us In’ Dance movie is now uploaded to the MCUI wiki. You can find it, with all the other teacher resources HERE.

See if your classes can dance along with these characters …. DANCE VIDEO LINK

Then play along with the JellyBeans-style ONLINE percussion score

Ask the class to invent new moves or actions for the song “We’ve Got the Music”

Watch the Auslan video and learn hand-signs for this year’s MUSIC: COUNT US IN SONG … AUSLAN VIDEO LINK


Deaf Singing and Signing

October 17, 2012

www.musiccountusin.org.au Watch the INSPIRING video clip with your class – how deaf students experience music, and sign the Music: Count Us In 2012 song. Then teach the Auslan signs to your class using the free MCUI 2012 Special Needs kit.


Difficult Year 7 classes – practical ideas

July 6, 2011


Crescendo Music offers a file full of practical ideas for tricky Year 7 Music classes.


digital citizenship re. music downloads

October 1, 2011

A US appeals court reinstated a $US675,000 (AUS $659,115) verdict against a Boston University student who illegally downloaded 30 songs and shared them on the internet. Read full article here. Now is a good time to discuss responsible music downloading with teenagers. Why Music Matters website has a series of animated videos about Australian bands which emphasise that writing/recording music is their sole source of income. Watch and discuss with your students. Ask students when was the last time they paid for an MP3 download or music CD.


double bass YouTube instructional

April 10, 2011


An instructional video on playing orchestral excerpts on Double Bass, as performed by Hal Robinson.

The visual quality is very raw, but the Double Bass sound is amazing.

A good video to show Middle School students who are studying instruments of the orchestra.


Early Stage 1 Music Resources (NSW)

March 7, 2010

Go to resource: Early Stage 1 Music Resources are published by the Department of Education and Training (NSW).

Read more…


Easy planning for the rest of the year

December 2, 2012

Show students the MusicCareer website with its list of ‘careers in music’. Students should choose a career which interests them, and spend the rest of the year undertaking career-related activities, eg. practising (= performer), writing a list of equipment they think school should buy, listening to songs and writing what emotion it evokes (= music therapy), changing songs to words … ENJOY!!!


Emirates Musical Journey (symbols)

May 11, 2011


Visit the above website, click on “View Emirates Musical Journey” and show students the animated video clip. It shows cartoons of global cities, which are created out of musical symbols.

Show students a page of musical symbols (or write many symbols on the whiteboard), and ask them to create pictures from musical symbols.


Encounter – MSO resource

September 16, 2011


This free website from Melbourne Symphony Orchestra offers and interactive tour of the orchestra, using Stuart Greenbaum’s score “90 minutes”.

Explore the orchestra, the conductor, the score and the composer – a lesson or two worth of content – let your students explore and arrange the score.

WARNING: Won’t work on Mac computers


epic frog & Christian the Lion!

September 5, 2011

Watch this YouTube clip about a frog being chased by a snake (with very dramatic orchestral music). Discuss the way the music changes our perspective on the visual images. Ask students if they notice anything about the editing, as well (ie. what’s happening on the screen during loud percussion sections, etc). Can you think of any other films/advertisements that are well-matched to dramatic music?

Watch this YouTube clip about a lion being re-united with its human parents. About 1.5 mins through, the music is perfectly timed to match the physical reunion. Discuss this with the students, then brainstorm any other songs that would suit this video clip.


Eurovision is coming – lesson plan

May 9, 2012

Eurovision telecasting starts late May 2012. Introduce the concept to students with THIS YouTube clip – clips from 2011 Eurovision contest. Then show the 2011 winner HERE. Discuss with students the way visual effects and dancing can enhance (or detract from) a performance. ENJOY!


Face the music: Which way to go (free lesson plans)

April 17, 2012

Face the Music: Which Way To Go‘ is an engaging education module aimed at both informing of, and developing empathy towards, student responsibilities as copyright users and owners. It is aimed at English and music students from years seven to ten.

After downloading the files, start with ‘face the music which way to go’.


FaceBook page sharing student Music work

March 19, 2011


An American Music teacher shares his students’ recordings and digital music creations on a FaceBook page.

Listen to & read some of the examples for lesson ideas!


film music lesson idea

June 13, 2012

Ask students to brainstorm then write 5-6 different types of film music in their books. Source/diagetic, background/mood underscore, mickey-mousing/dramatic underscore, pre-composed, theme, character. THIS document may help. Listen to various YouTube or movie clips and ask students to guess each category of film music.


Flame Awards – lesson idea

July 22, 2011

Flame Award applications are due Monday 29th August – be part of the $15 000 prize pool. ALL Australian schools are invited to apply (Primary & Secondary).

Lesson idea: play some laid-back music, hand out paper and pencils, and ask students to write down and/or draw what they love about MUSIC at your school. Display some of the responses on school noticeboards / websites and around your music classroom :-)  Copy some of their ideas into your Flame Award submission



flash freeze – lesson idea

October 26, 2011

Watch the Bellingen Youth Environment group stage their “freeze” protest against plastic bags in NSW. Listen to the accompanying song “Change” (written and recorded by a Year 10 student) and brainstorm what other types of protest this song might accompany. Make a list of other songs which ares well-suited to peaceful protests.


Free access to Klerrisa Music resources Oct 2012

October 7, 2012

This month (October 2012) Klerrisa Music’s ACCESS site (usually available to paying customers) is FREE to all teachers. Browse through brilliant resources (Middle School to High School) and sample tastes of many different units, lesson plans and worksheets.



free ACO kits 2013

March 4, 2013

Australian Chamber Orchestra school program – free teaching notes, worksheets and activities

Tognetti’s Mozart Tognetti’s Mozart ACT Tognetti’s Mozart NSW Tognetti’s Mozart SA Tognetti’s Mozart VIC Tognetti’s Mozart WA
Richard Tognetti presents ACO2 Richard Tognetti presents ACO2 ACT Richard Tognetti presents ACO2 NSW Richard Tognetti presents ACO2 QLD Richard Tognetti presents ACO2 SA Richard Tognetti presents ACO2 VIC
Barefoot Fiddler Barefoot Fiddler ACT Barefoot Fiddler NSW Barefoot Fiddler QLD Barefoot Fiddler SA Barefoot Fiddler VIC Barefoot Fiddler WA
Brahms Piano Quintet Brahms Piano Quintet NSW Brahms Piano Quintet SA Brahms Piano Quintet VIC Brahms Piano Quintet WA
Andreas Scholl sings Vivaldi Andreas Scholl sings Vivaldi NSW Andreas Scholl sings Vivaldi VIC
Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis ACT Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis NSW Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis QLD Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis SA Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis VIC Brahms 4 & Steven Isserlis WA
Mozart Clarinet Concerto Mozart Clarinet Concerto ACT Mozart Clarinet Concerto NSW Mozart Clarinet Concerto VIC
Brandenburg Concertos Brandenburg Concertos NSW Brandenburg Concertos QLD Brandenburg Concertos VIC

Free activity on composer bios

April 27, 2011


This fun, free worksheet, asks students to fill in a mock job application, requiring biographical details of a composer. The website www.makingmusicfun.net includes biographical information and other fun activities.


free documentaries online – music

September 21, 2011


This website offers dozens of free musical documentaries – from hip hop to jazz, from metal to latin. Plenty of lesson content here!


Free e-book of classroom music games

January 12, 2012

HERE is a FREE e-book of classroom games (Music) for anyone to use (from FunMusicCo). Mostly primary-oriented, but could stretch to Year 7. Create a lesson out of games … Enjoy!


free intro to rhythm game (early childhood)

November 4, 2011

Teach long and short notes with flash-cards of rainbows and raindrops. Teacher claps a rhythm – student claps it back – student arranges rainbows and raindrops to create the rhythm. Follow link to game and flash-cards here.


free lesson content re. new curriculum

March 19, 2013


Each of the Arts has a number of units designed to complement the National Curriculum. Scroll to the bottom and choose “Music”!


free lesson plans / powerpoints

June 22, 2011

A Secondary Music & Technology teacher is here sharing resources with the rest of us :-)



free major chord worksheet

March 3, 2011

free worksheet – Sarah Lantz has made a cute, free worksheet which uses clover leaves to help kids practise the notes in a major chord

Lesson idea – help students to fill in the clover leaves (with chord notes) then play them on keyboard, glocks, guitar …


free music lesson plans

September 30, 2013



free online Music curriculum Feb-April 2012

January 20, 2012


Jozzbeat is offering FREE access to its new online Music education software (for 5-13 year olds) from February to April 2012. Click on the above link to find out more information. The program suits classroom teachers without ANY musical background, as well as being fun for music specialists. It requires having a digital projector or interactive whiteboard in the classroom, and giving brief feedback after lessons.


free online music games

December 12, 2011

THIS WEBSITE is a rich source of free (and paid for) music games on a computer. Just download and play. My favourites are Staff Wars 1.2 (teaching notation reading), JamaMambo (rhythm reading) and Rhythm Dictation. Put the games on a digital projector and teach concepts to the class as needed. ENJOY!


free online music quizzes

September 13, 2011

Go to this link: Ray Foo … Click on “Music Games/Quizzes” half way down the left side to find dozens of free online quizzes and games to drill music theory. Send students to this page and let them explore – learning through games.


free online music theory

January 28, 2013


All lessons, activities and practise test (grades 1-5 ABRSM music theory) are free online … or you can print them for a small fee.


Free online song-teaching site

July 6, 2011


This is a fun way to learn / teach the Music: Count Us In song for 2011 (We’ve Got the Music). In fact, the song will teach itself, all ready for the massed-music-making MCUI event on 1st September, 2011.

If you don’t yet have a free login, and have registered for Music: Count Us In, please send an email to mcui.admin@mca.org.au requesting a Jozzbeat login.



free podcasts and activity sheets on Music fundamentals

March 8, 2011

Dr Watson’s podcasts – a MASSIVE and free resource from an American lecturer in music, which has dozens of podcasts, many of which have free lesson guides and activity sheets attached. Topics include “what music means to me”, “repetition in music”, “bad boys in classical music”, “modality” …


Free pop music teaching kits

October 19, 2011

Click here to download FREE teaching kits for teaching pop music to Middle School students – using the Musical Futures approach. Handouts include song lyrics, keyboard chord fingerings & guitar chord fingerings.

Thanks to Coombeshead Academy for sharing their resources freely :-)


Free Primary School Lesson Plans & Education Resources

February 4, 2010

Go to resource: Free Primary School Lesson Plans & Education Resources is a general site that offers primary school resources submitted by site users. Read more…


free resources from Deborah Smith

February 25, 2012


Print off a few of these FREE theory sheets (or give the link to your students) and let your students choose what to work on next lesson. Suits middle / upper secondary music students.


free Rhythm Clock lesson & resources

February 9, 2012


FunMusicCo has prepared a video tutorial on how to prepare and use a rhythm clock (suits primary and perhaps Year 7). All the files you might need are also free on the website.


free sample lesson plans (Australian)

September 22, 2011

Here is a free lesson from Klerrisa Music re. Mashing Up 2 Bruno Mars songs which have the same chord progression.

If you sign up to the Klerrisa mailing list, you get free access to a dozen more free sample lessons (Middle school & Secondary).


free worksheet for teaching intervals

November 14, 2012

FunMusicCo provides a free video on teaching intervals HERE – ideally using an IWB. A free student worksheet can also be found HERE. Thanks for sharing, FunMusicCo!


free worksheets – naming notes and intervals

January 10, 2012

HERE are some free worksheets from makingmusicfun.net – naming notes and intervals in bass and treble clef. Make up a booklet for students to work through when they have a few spare minutes at a time.


fun music listening game – suit Middle School

June 1, 2011

Select 4 very different pieces of music. Divide students into teams of 2-4 students. Hand out blank paper (to be divided into 4 sections). Teams are to secretly discuss the music (while it plays) and write down answers to 5 questions. After each ’round’, teams share their answers with the class, and the teacher allocates 1 point for each correct answer. After 4 rounds (equating to 4 pieces of music), tally up the points (out of a possible total of 20).

Suggested questions: What is the mood of the piece and does it change at all? What instruments do you hear (instrumentation)? What nationality do you think it is? What is the message or story behind the music? Is it fast or slow (tempo)?


Funny Bear – fun lesson

July 3, 2011

There’s a wacky, catchy kids song on YouTube – in English, he is “Gummy Bear” … in French he is “Funny Bear”. The first half of the song is in C major, and the melody uses A, C, D & E, so it suits glockenspiels or beginner keyboards.

Lesson idea: Practise alternate hand slapping on thighs: 6 taps starting on left … short rest … 6 taps starting on left … 14 taps starting on right. Play the YouTube clip to Middle School students. Get the kids singing the chorus. Add in the ‘hand slapping on thighs’ pattern during the chorus (it fits with the chorus rhythm). Ask students to figure out the melody, which starts on A.

Extension: see if students can alternate their glockenspiel mallet hands (as per the hand slapping warm-up).

Melody: A A A C A A – - A A A C E E – - E E E D D D D D D D E D C A – -

Further extension: Write the chorus melody on the board as a row of quavers and quaver rests. Ask students to help put in the bar-lines and time signature.


Future career in music – class discussion

October 9, 2011

These guiding questions come from AYMC:

1. What is it about music that makes you want to be a musician or work in the Arts? 2. What is your dream musical job? 3. Would you expect to get paid for your Arts activities? and/or Do you expect to find alternative income to financially support your Arts activities?  Why? 4. (depending on answer 3)  Who will pay you for your
Art, either directly/indirectly, and will this be enough money?  and/or What alternative employment will you find, and how will this affect your Arts practice? 5. What skills do you need to acquire in order to achieve the answers to Question 4?

Galop – listening lesson plan

June 16, 2013


Kabalevsky’s Comedian’s Galop with fun and active lesson plan


game with canons!

March 18, 2013

Watch Sharon Roffman’s video http://vimeo.com/30858494 to inspire primary classroom games with rounds / canons.


Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – new CD

April 15, 2011

April 2011 saw the launch of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s second album. Gurrumul is a spectacular, Indigenous Australian musician who was born blind, and grew up singing and playing guitar.

Lesson idea: Listen to one of Gurrumul’s tracks (all songs feature his language-of-birth, while some include English as well). Describe the tune, harmonies, vocal quality (which Stinge has described as “the sound of a higher being”), chord progressions, etc … then try to guess what the lyrics mean.


Glockenspiel and aural sheet – FUN

August 1, 2011

Play some well-known songs on glockenspiel (reading the letters of the alphabet), then guess their name.
eg.    E  D  C  D  E  E  E      D  D  D     E  G  G
is      Mary Had a Little Lamb

Glock aural activity


Glockenspiel Chords & a musical battle on YouTube – lesson idea

March 24, 2011

Great fun for Middle School aged students with glockenspiels (or keyboards) … view it here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXPrUkjENrQ (recorder)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH8Fb1kKsGM (glockenspiel)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBF-_WMY8HU (crockenspiel)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=26ho9yEAOrI (gameboy)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYabXLTDSxw (ocarina)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjxQARym4DQ (zither)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmG34QB07Bc (mobile phone)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpg2k2C103k (squeakaphone)


Gruffalo – short film – lesson idea

November 11, 2011

Watch the Gruffalo film on YouTube (about 30 minutes long).

Discuss (or ask students to take notes on) the music which accompanies each new character. Discuss what instruments are used to make the audience feel scared or wary. Brainstorm the ways in which music has been used to turn a 5 minute picture-story book into a 30 minute film.


Guitar Chord Families & Progressions – lesson

March 28, 2011

free lesson plan on Guitar chord families http://www.lessontutor.com/ees_guitar1.html


guitar tutor PowerPoint ozrock.com

May 5, 2013


Educators around the world are looking toward popular music as a way of ‘engaging kids’ who otherwise would never be likely to pursue a musical instrument in school, let alone in adult life.

This website offers a new method of learning useful-level guitar. The backing tracks are based on special chords that allow simple one to three fingered ’shapes’ to fit in well – no muffled notes, no special re-tunings!.

This is a Creative Commons free resource that can be downloaded and used in whatever way you want. Although simple enough for an individual learner it probably works best if a trained teacher gets you started following the tutorial. Teachers can use the system for other instruments as well as guitar..

Just download the 5mb zip file listed at left and open it as a PowerPoint (.pptx). Open full-screen so that you can click on the embedded midi files and view the animations showing finger positions for chords.


Haunting Music (ArtsEdge USA)

July 2, 2010

Go to resource: Haunting Music (ArtsEdge USA) is a six-lesson unit that focuses on program music through exploration of ’spooky’ orchestral works by Berlioz and Saint-Saens. Read more…


History of Rock (app)

October 6, 2012

THIS “History or Rock” app should save me a lot of time when preparing this term’s unit on Rock Music. ($5.50) We will look at one decade each week. I will pick out a song from each decade and encourage the Musical Futures groups to learn that song each week.


HotChalk music lesson plans (USA)

February 15, 2010

Go to resource: HotChalk (USA) is a site that offers lesson plans, grouped according to different disciplines and age ranges, including music. Read more…


Hungarian Dance movement & listening lesson video

June 16, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHZD_scyYQc This is one of the best YouTube teaching clips I’ve ever seen. Play it to your primary class, copy the actions, then create your own movement ideas to Hungarian Dance.


Ideas for using musical flash cards

November 19, 2012

Read the blog HERE.


Indigenous fusion with AAO

January 9, 2012

THIS YouTube channel of Australian Art Orchestra shows interplay between Indigenous Australian singers and musicians from the Australian Art Orchestra. Play video/s to students and ask them to compare the treatment of melody/pitch and duration/rhythm. Which aspects are similar, different and interesting? When both groups play together, which aspects of music create unity? How is the fusion of the two groups achieved?


Indigenous song-writing kit

January 24, 2013

As a tribute to Ruby Hunter, Archie Roach has just released a kit about a song-writing trip to Cape York.   Butcher Paper, Texta, Black Board and Chalk The kit includes a CD of songs (written by Cape York school kids with Ruby Hunter) & a book of lyrics and art-work & a DVD documentary of the journey through Cape York (including song-writing sessions and jamming). The cross-curricular content of the DVD is brilliant – music, art, indigenous culture, creativity, etc. More info HERE.

LESSON IDEA: Play the DVD, then try song-writing with your class (about their own place, home and country) … later play the CD and encouraged students to draw pictures to go with the words (as did Ruby).


Indigenous version of Aus Anthem – Kutju Australia

July 13, 2011


This article in the Herald Sun describes the process for creating an indigenous translation for Advance Australia Fair (for NAIDOC week). Free teachers’ notes are found HERE.  A kit has also been released ($26) with advice on how to teach the song.

“This is about changing the way we teach and appreciate the language, culture and traditions of Aboriginal people,” Mr Garrett said.

A short example of the video teaching kit is found HERE along with ‘how to purchase the kit’ information.


Instruments for Peace

May 1, 2013

Read the inspiring article here: http://www.business2community.com/social-media/instruments-for-peace-how-social-media-can-amplify-the-music-of-peace-0465562 Discuss with your class how 1st world countries can help 3rd world countries to access music.


Integrating Music with curriculum (Phil Tulga)

January 7, 2011

Go to resource: Phil Tulga presents a list of interactive activities and lesson plans which combine Music with Science, Language and Maths.


interactive map of music styles

April 23, 2012

THIS is a new, free resource from ‘music machinery’. Zoom in & out to explore dozens of musical styles. Click on a style to hear an example!! Spend part of a lesson letting students discover different styles of music.

Next, explore this AUDIO DOT TO DOT. Why do students think each artist is connected??


JellyBeans are HERE

September 12, 2012

A Jozzbeat percussion chart has appeared using the Music: Count Us In 2012 song.

It’s an online, animated chart (JellyBeans-style) for classes to play percussion with. Great for learning rhythm reading and concepts of arrangement. ENJOY!!

How do you get FREE access? Sign in to Music: Count Us In … then email monica.mpfl@mca.org.au asking for the JellyBeans chart access. ENJOY!!!


Jimmy Little – free Indigenous resources

December 28, 2012

www.thumbsup.org.au This website has many free songs, videos, lyrics, lesson plans and other resources to help teach primary aged children about healthy lifestyles and growing up. Surf the many free resources using the ‘Resources’ tabs. Songs are used to communicate positive messages.


KET lesson plans and resources (US)

February 15, 2011

KET – this website provides free Music lesson plans for 5-18 year olds. NOTE: Some of the content requires additional KET resources (videos).



September 21, 2010

Go to resource: Kiravanu is an opera written by James Humberstone and Mary Elizabeth, specifically designed for children and integrated with the curriculum. Read more…


Lang Lang video clips (piano)

March 22, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lang+lang+piano Lang Lang is a flamboyant young pianist with plenty of showmanship. He pulls huge crowds, and plays Classical music. Watch some YouTube clips with your class and discuss what makes him so appealing to audiences around the world.


lesson plan on Contemp Melbourne Trio

March 20, 2011

Listen to the  ABC podcast (listen here) of ‘Golden Fur’ – a Melbourne Trio playing “Parallel Collisions” at a live concert.

As the music is playing, ask students for suggestions re. what instruments are being played … and in what manner! There are many really unusual techniques employed in this piece.

Students with access to the internet can then create a Word or OneNote page with information on the trio ‘Golden Fur’ (use Google and www.goldenfur.com.au) and the way in which they play traditional instruments in a contemporary way.

Finally, create a group composition or soundscape which uses unusual techniques of playing classroom instruments. HAVE FUN!!

PS Feel free to record the class creation and email it to schools.mpfl@mca.org.au


lesson starter (animation)

February 20, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=If_T1Q9u6FM the history of music with texta drawings


Lesson to intro opera

July 10, 2013

Not sure how to introduce opera to a primary class? Choose a comic opera with crazy plot (Magic Flute). Ask a handful of volunteers to act out the plot with some costumes while the teacher reads the plot. Then play some excerpts of the opera on YouTube. (Thanks to MPA Forum @ SOH for the idea!)


Lesson Tutor – free lesson on Elements of music notation

March 28, 2011

free lesson content (facts PLUS free assignment worksheet) on interpreting clefs and notation http://www.lessontutor.com/eesMusic1.html


lessonlogs for instrumental music teachers (currently free)

September 5, 2012


An online system for planning instrument and small group lessons, and supporting student practice at home. Currently free, while in the beta phase.

Includes room for students to record (online) their daily practice and questions.


Let It Be – first keyboard lesson

May 10, 2011

Introductory Keyboard Lesson for Middle School

Turn off the keyboards, and explain how to make a chord – play one, miss one, play one, miss one, play one. If a scale is like flowing water, then a chord is a block of ice!

Write up the chord progressions for The Beatles’ song “Let It Be” (which uses only C major, F major, G major and A minor).

Ask students to create chords (sound off!) with one or two hands. The teacher moves around the room, asking students to make the chords of C, F, G and A minor (explaining that the right hand thumb goes on the chord’s name) after which each student (int turn) may turn on the power and practise making chords (out loud this time).

Work through the chords of “Let It Be” as a class of keyboards, with the teacher singing (calling out chords) & playing piano / guitar to accompany.

Ask students to look for patterns in the chord progressions (ie. repeated lines and the fact that every phrases moves to G major in the 2nd chord), then memorise the song chords. Ask for a small group of students to test out their memory and play the whole song as a small ensemble.

To end the lesson, students might have a few free minutes to create their own chord progressions.



List of free Music education resources online

June 3, 2011


Wright Stuff Music offers a list of links for fun online music activities (K-12)


listening guide – a lesson starter

January 10, 2011

Guided questions for listening to music – a great way to settle students at the start of a Middle School Music lesson. Free list of suggested ‘listening questions’ here.


Logs Have Life Inside

July 29, 2013

This free teaching kit uses an original song to deliver a sustainability and environment message to primary school children: www.environment.gov.au/land/publications/firewood-kit/


London Olympics Opening Ceremony Music

July 22, 2012

Teaching idea: Look at THIS article about the proposed music for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony music. Ask students why they think some of the charts were selected – e.g. why are there THREE Beatles tracks? What does “Land of Hope and Glory” represent to British people? How many of the composers are from 21st century, how many are Classical, how many are Romantic, and how many are 20th century?


LOTE or ESL lesson ideas in Music

March 19, 2011


“The Inspired Classroom” website offers concrete lesson ideas on teaching ESL and LOTE students in the Music classroom.


make our own musical dominoes – free

September 5, 2011

CLICK HERE to make your own bingo cards (using musical instruments and/or symbols)

or CLICK HERE to print off a set of bingo cards, ready-to-go, using instrument pictures.

Lesson idea: the caller will mix up the actual names of the instruments / symbols with descriptions (eg. 1 beat note, saxophone, largest stringed instrument, triangle …)


make-your-own song to remember the eras of music

December 28, 2011

HERE is a YouTube attempt to make a song about the characteristics of classical music periods — careful, as there as some swearing near the end. Brainstorm the characteristics of different musical eras (write them on the board). Challenge your students to create a better song about periods of music.


Making Music Being Well – 16 to 22 May, 2011

April 19, 2011

Have you signed up yet to be part of Making Music Being Well?

This national initiative, which takes place from 16 – 22 May, is a collaboration between Music: Play for Life and the Australian Music Therapy Association and it’s all about a grassroots celebration of the links between music making and wellbeing.

When you register to participate – it’s FREE – we’ll send you event posters, stickers and brochures and you’ll get access to lots of downloadable resources including event planning and promotional tips. How you participate is up to you.

The best way to be involved is to take something you may already have planned for that week and hitch it to the national wagon of Making Music Being Well 2011. You don’t have to do something on every day during the week – one event is enough. Your event will be outlined on the MMBW website and you and your group members or students will be helping to shine the national spotlight on an important fact: music is good for you!

Here are a few ideas based on previous years: Open the doors to the community for your rehearsal that falls within the MMBW week and turn it into a free performance. Take your choir or group to a nursing home, hospital or school. Organise a big sing at your workplace. Turn a school assembly into a musical celebration and tell students and parents about the value and benefits of making music. Convene a drum circle in your school playground. Run an open mic session at your local pub or club. Organise a gathering of community music leaders and organisers in your area and discuss how you could pool resources and share skills.

Register to be part of it at www.makingmusicbeingwell.org.au

AND … don’t forget – registration for our biggest school music initiative, Music: Count Us In, opens soon too!


Mamma Mia and Glockenspiels – lesson idea

April 2, 2011

Teach the chorus melody of Mamma Mia using letter names, or the numbers:

21 21     112321    2   1     4   444 3   1

Put the melody onto keyboards (using finger numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4) or glockenspiels (C, D, E and F)

Talk about the relationship between numbers and pitch names

Play with a recording of Mamma Mia, transposed down into C major (using digital music editing software such as Audacity, Reaper or GarageBand)

Try to sing and play at the same time!


Mash-Up lesson idea & ReCount

June 15, 2011

Talk about mash-ups with your middle school music class – where musicians take lots of songs and mix them into a new musical work. Try mashing up the MUSIC. COUNT US IN song for 2011 – the stem files (MP3) for which are freely available here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QspTBmTar5U Elephant Song medley from Moulin Rouge (a mash-up)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e5kJl9-oV0&feature=related The same Elephant Song medley from Moulin Rouge, but this clip inserts the ORIGINAL versions of songs

Sensitive New Age Cow Persons wrote a new Australian Anthem, which mashes 13 iconic Australian songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BiQxIP0-FQ

Adam Hills has put the words of the real Australian Anthem to ‘Working Class Man’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHs4308nJc&feature=related

A lesson plan on mash-ups can be found in ‘Instant Lessons in Music – Book 4‘ available from Blake Education.


massed singing with Year 9 (boys!)

February 23, 2011

Ann Lierse has shared a list of repertoire used by boys during Year 9 and 10 massed choral lessons at Melbourne High School (2010). Many thanks for sharing, Ann!

Sample of repertoire for Massed Singing

Night and Day – Cole Porter                          Thriller – Michael Jackson

Don’t dream its over – Neill Finn                   Dancing in the storm – Boom Crash

The Rain – Kassey Chambers                         Africa – Toto

At the end of the day – Schonberg                 All Night, All day – Traditional

All that Jazz – John Kanter                            The Vagabond – Vaughan Williams

Oh Pretty Women – Roy Orbison                 All that Jazz – John Kanter

Bridge over troubled water – Paul Simon       Violet Hill – Coldplay

Foxy Lady – Hendrix                                      The Ballad of Swiney Todd – Sondheim

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Derek Sharon           Orpheus Lament – Gluck

Selections from Pirates of Penzance – Gilbert and Sullivan

Nessum Dorma – Puccini                               Finlandia – Sibelius

Pilgrim’s Chorus – Wagner                             Requiem – Mozart

Carmina Burina – Orff                                    Les Miserables – Schoenberg

Chorus of the Hewbrew Slaves – Verdi          A Tribute to Foster – Grainger

Officer Krurpke – Bernstein                           The Masochism Tango – Lehrer


MCUI 2012 for student orchestra

October 30, 2012

Watch THIS video of Bellingen Youth Orchestra rehearsing “Different People”. With the class, make a list of the positive effect music has on children’s lives. Ask students for their ideas to add to that list.


MCUI free “app” for iPhone & iPad & iPod

August 19, 2011

Greg Thwaites has supported the cause of Music: Count Us In by creating a free app for iPhone, iPod &iPad. By downloading this free program, students / staff / parents can learn the song from just about anywhere. :-) Ask kids to download the app and leave them to learn the song in their own way!



Met Opera HD in schools

June 12, 2013


Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series features opera performances transmitted live from the Met stage to movie theatres around the world – and to students, teachers, and administrators across USA.

Free worksheets on opera and ballet can also be found on the Met’s website:




many more free teaching resources here: http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/about/education/educatorguides/content.aspx?customid=24652


more free lessons MCUI – We’ve Got the Music

August 31, 2011

More free lessons are available on musiccountusin2011.wikispaces.com

Try out the Boomwhackers playalong movie (played on glockenspeiel or boomwhackers) & Ukulele playalong movie

Some Queensland schools have recently unblocked the JellyBeans style online-percussion and singing videos, which are great fun! LINK IS HERE Most states have been enjoying this site for a few months now :-)

Bring on September 1st @11.30am


mozART group & re-arranging lessons

August 24, 2011

Watch this YOUTUBE CLIP of the MozART Group from Poland. It is an entertaining collage of Classical String Quartets re-interpreted :-)

Now choose a Classical piece of music (Google search for the Classical Top 100) or nursery rhyme and change it drastically … into pop, funk, country, metal, etc. You may wish to write lyrics to go with the Classical melody.       OR

Choose a piece of pop music and arrange it for a classical ensemble. Start by putting the vocal line into an instrument, then find chords to go underneath.

HINT: Google search for the song name + free + midi. You may well be able to save a midi file from the internet, which will open in Finale / Audacity / Sibelius, etc.



January 1, 2011

Go to resource: Music Teacher Resource Site (UK) MTRS is a free website designed for UK Music teachers – lots of free lesson plans and online resources


multicultural music mixing

March 8, 2011

free online mixing game – BBC has created on online interactive mixing webpage … choose a nationality (African, Cuban, Celtic, New Orleans, Oriental, Spanish, UK) … use sliders to bring different tracks and sound effects into your mix. A perfect activity for mixed ability classes where some students have no instrumental skills.

Lesson Idea: let students discover the BBC Music Mixing webpage … then discuss the similarities and differences between the different cultures of music represented on the webpage … ask each student to create a Venn diagram which compares two of the musical cultures from the website


Music – social change

October 23, 2012

Billy Bragg on Q & A about the link between music and social change:
“Young people ARE engaged in the debate. But let me tell you this (about social media): nobody
ever wrote a tweet that could make you cry, nobody ever toured Australia reading out their
facebook comments. If you want to see the world and get paid for it, learn an instrument, get on
it, step up, let us hear your voices!”
Lesson idea: Discuss this quote, then write two paragraphs about how music can create social change.


Music can change your perception

May 24, 2012

Read this article as a class (HERE) . Discuss the implications of the article (ie. beware what you listen to, as it can change your view on the world). Brainstorm a list of bands / pieces that make students feel happy, and another list that brings your mood down. Then read THIS ARTICLE about how Top 40 Pop music has been getting slower & sadder. Brainstorm the reasons why this might be.


Music Composition (ArtsEdge USA)

June 1, 2010

Go to resource: First Rhythmic Composition is a lesson plan written for 11 to 13 year olds, published by the Kennedy Center, US. Read more…


Music Education at About.com (USA)

February 9, 2010

Go to resource: Music Education at About.com (USA) is a listing of lesson plans submitted by teachers and endorsed by academics. Read more…


Music Matters campaign

October 26, 2011

Watch these videos with your students. They aim to inform kids of the work that goes into creating & recording Australian pop songs. The underlying message is that we should purchase music rather than copy music.


Music Painting

July 21, 2011

A cute 4 minute video to share with any year level.


After watching the movie, ask your class to create some more musical artwork.


music video made of jelly beans

November 6, 2011

Watch the film clip of ‘In Your Arms’ which was made using Jelly Beans – YouTube LINK HERE … then watch the ‘making of’ video LINK HERE. Discuss other whacky ideas for making music film clips.


Music. Count Us In 2011 – song written

April 15, 2011

On April 12th 2011, a dozen talented teenage singer-songwriters were mentored by John Foreman, Claire Bowditch, Holly Throsby,  Rai Thistlethwayte (Thirsty Merc) and Kavyen Temperley (Eskimo Joe).

The result was the 2011 song for Music. Count Us In (1st September 2011).

Watch this space for free lesson plans, free MP3 material, free Professional Development (for teachers) and free instrumental arrangements. Let’s get more music in more Australian schools!! www.musiccountusin.org.au


Music: Count Us In

July 21, 2012

This year’s Music: Count Us In resources are about to be released – ready for 1st November, 2012 performance date. HERE is Fairvale High School’s 2011 MCUI concert. Play it to your class, and ask how THEY would like to perform the 2012 song: “Different People (Stand Together)”. Note that the local primary school came to the concert too!!


Music: Count Us In 2012 has been launched

July 27, 2012


CHECK  IT OUT! Listen to the new song on the website … sign up for all the great free resources (for both primary generalist teachers AND secondary music specialists) … let us know what you think :-)

FREE teaching kit and lesson plans are coming VERY soon.


Musica Surfica worksheet

September 6, 2013

The following worksheet is for use with ACO’s DVD”Musica Surfica” which explores the expressive tendencies of surfing and Classical music! Suits ages 10-18.


A preview of the DVD can be seen HERE


Musical Futures

May 3, 2011

www.musicalfutures.org.uk Musical Futures is a fairly new approach to teaching instrumental music to Middle School students.  This website gives you pedagogy ideas, background info, repertoire suggestions (including lyrics and tab), marking criteria, powerpoint presentations to show students about the process of rehearsing, etc. The basic idea is to create class “rock bands” and encourage students to teach / assist each other with a common goal – making contemporary music.

Here are some examples of the free resources shared by teachers who engage in Musical Futures programs:

Let It Be – includes marking / achievement checklist


Scouting for Girls – This ain’t a love song …


Scouting for Girls – She’s so Lovely


Beat It


Beat It with tab



Musical Futures meets MCUI 2011

July 16, 2011

Lesson Idea: In the spirit of “Musical Futures”, give your students access to the MP3 of “We’ve Got the Music” … divide them into groups of 4-6 with drums / guitars / keyboards / ukuleles / percussion, etc  … ask them to come up with their OWN version of “We’ve Got the Music” (about 30 mins) simply by using their ears, playing along with the MP3, experimenting and supporting each other … share their performance attempt with the class.

The key factor is that the student performance SHOULD sound different from the original MP3, reflecting the group’s creative interpretation.

“We’ve Got the Music” is the 2011 program song for MUSIC: COUNT US IN



MusicAtSchool.co.uk – free UK website for Music teachers

May 3, 2011

www.musicatschool.co.uk is a free website of Secondary Music teaching ideas, lesson plans and worksheets from UK Music teachers.

For example, here is a worksheet for Year 7’s learning about how orchestral players are seated:



MusicCareer website & lesson idea

November 15, 2012

Send students HERE to read about career paths for musicians. In pairs, they should make note of 10 surprising facts. Share these with the class.


National Folk Festival – free education resources

April 19, 2011

The National Folk Festival (Australia) is developing educational resources. These include a free CD of 2009 festival highlights & IWB resources about the fiddle.



new books – Instant Lessons in Music – Australian

April 2, 2011

Fresh off the printing press – Instant Lessons in Music (Vols 3, 4 & 5) – photocopiable /digital lessons designed to enhance school Music programs OR leave for Emergency teachers (without the need for musical competency) – suits 11-16 year old Music classes – written by an Australian teacher for Australian students.

Vol 3: Music in Australia

Vol 4: Everyday musicality

Vol 5: Theory, composition & song-writing



May 9, 2012

Music: Count Us In will happen in 2012. This year’s culminating day is Thursday, 1st November.

Join 500 000 Australian students in a massive music-making opportunity. Watch this space for FREE music, resources and lesson plans.

Read more: www.musiccountusin.org.au


New Millenium Records: Classroom

January 13, 2011

New Millenium Records – a rich resource for free lesson content. Most lessons are paragraphs of typed information embedded with free audio files or video clips to support the text.


New music teaching ideologies

July 3, 2011


A blog about NEW ways to teach Year 6 – 12 classroom music. Includes philosophical discussion AND free lesson plans.


non-verbal communication unit (lower primary)

August 7, 2012

Music: Count Us In resources include (free) braille music charts and videos of kids signing Auslan while singing the annual song. www.musiccountusin.org.au You may need to sign up (for free).

There’s a deaf percussionist who feels the music through her feet (YouTube)
- she even appeared on Sesame St playing mallet percussion.

Show YouTube clips of kids playing music who are of a similar age or younger (4 year djembe player, 3 year old conducting Beethoven, suzuki violinists, etc). Ask a student to stand up and mime as if doing karaoke.

Brainstorm on ways to communicate, and what we communicate (including mime, car horns and sirens). Make some car horn and sirens with voices. Get into pairs and do a miming
game (person A mimes while person B is the mirror). Give them instruments and try the same game. Grab instruments / chop sticks / pencils and try to communicate different emotions or messages.

“Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox (nothing to do with music, but an awesome bok
about multiculturalism!!!)


NZ Exemplar Music lessons

January 25, 2011

New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars – several exemplar lessons for Primary and Secondary School Music (New Zealand)


Ode to Odd Instruments

January 20, 2013

Have a smile ready when you show this to your class – www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHXMX4eKNfA A good introduction to making straw oboes, or rice bottle shakers, or junk percussion, or instrument classification.


Olympics and trumpets

August 7, 2012

Play some trumpet fanfares to your kids, asking them to notice what they all have in common. Hopefully you’ll get a response re. ‘jumpy’ melodies. Explain that the original trumpets were ‘natural horns’ without any valves or buttons, so they can only play a handful of different notes (along the harmonic series). Have a look at different pictures of trumpets as they evolved. Play John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and see what modern trumpets look like.


One-handed violinist helps disabled make music

April 3, 2013


Share this article / video with your class, then ask if they know any other musicians with a disability. (eg. Beethoven was deaf, percussionist Evelyn Glennie is deaf, Tony Melendez plays guitar with his feet, Ray Charles was blind)


Online jazz improv

November 7, 2012

www.desktopblues.lichtlabor.ch This website lets students play along with a blues radio. They have 24 different bars / licks to experiment with (guitar and vocals) just by clicking a button. Inform the class of an easy 12 bar blues progression to try on their choice of instrument: C C C C F F C C G F C G


OperaPlot on Twitter

March 1, 2011

#OperaPlot – 11-15 April 2011, Twitter members from around the world will be creating a new opera – one phrase at a time

This could make an interesting lesson idea – students write a sentence each … maybe even borrow the melody from another choral work …


Pack Away song – free sample – Early Childhood

September 16, 2011

click here for free sample: Pack Away Song and activity

Musical Child sells songs and activities for Early Childhood Music. They also run teacher training workshops.

“We value the traditional repertoire of children’s nursery songs and nursery rhymes.
We have great presenters.
We understand the value of live music.”


Paul Kelly and Gravy at TEDx

March 17, 2012

HERE is a link to Paul Kelly’s 2011 TEDx talk. He describes how he came up with the song “How to Make Gravy”, then performs it live and acoustic. Watch this with your class, make a list of other songs which tell stories, then brainstorm ideas for your own story-song.


PBL Music – Project Based Learning

April 7, 2013

Try giving groups of students ‘big questions’ or composition tasks or performance challenges (eg. Battle of the Bands) and lots of space to self-direct with access to the internet … and see what they come up with. Some ideas HERE and HERE.


photography inspired composition

January 22, 2013

Ask students to choose a photo from THIS amazing page, and plan a soundscape or composition using any instruments. Once shared with the class, do “speed improvisation” – the teacher chooses a photo, and the entire class responds to the photo with whatever instrument/s they can reach.


pictograms of song names

October 19, 2011

This website has free pictograms (pictures) of song names.

Ask students to guess song names … then to draw their own pictograms.


Picture Song lyrics

November 23, 2011

Here’s a lesson idea inspired by YouTube’s “Picture Songs”. Ask a group of students to find 16 interesting / weird photos online and put them in a chosen order. Using another group’s pictures, groups create 4 beats worth of lyrics for each picture. Try to rhyme some of the lyrics. Ask a guitar-playing to vamp a 4-chord progression (eg. C, Am, F, G) while each group raps or songs their 16 lines of lyrics.


PLEASE play this to every class at school

June 28, 2012


The Goulburn Conservatorium has commissioned an electronic book and piano music to encourage students to learn piano, enjoy music, and compose. This link is free. ENJOY it with your students! Afterwards, ask them for their personal responses.


pop songs with additional instruments

May 19, 2013

Talk with your class about which instruments might be added to pop songs. Here are some ideas: Moves like Jagger (whistling); Baker St (synth, sax, congas); You’re the Voice (bagpipes); I Will Wait (banjo); Feel So Good (trumpet). Are there any instruments that could NOT be used in pop songs?


power of Music Therapy – video

May 9, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z78Mzkl9rTk Please watch this with your classes – the video shows a young disabled girl making amazing progress with regular music sessions.


Primary Lesson Plans NSW (CAP)

February 4, 2010

Go to resource: Primary Lesson Plans NSW is a site published by NSW Country Areas Program, and contains lesson plans grouped under subject areas and stages, including music. Read more…


Primary music ideas for classroom (FREE!)

July 31, 2012

LINK HERE – thanks to Midnight Music!

Amy Burns is an experienced elementary music teacher at Farhills Country Day School in New Jersey and the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom (highly recommended).

Amy’s writes about her classroom activities and also about the professional development workshops she runs at Elementary Music/Music Technology. She also has a website where she uploads notes from her conference presentations and maintains lists of useful links for Smartboard (interactive whiteboard) resources and more.

Amy has started curating collections of links on the visual sharing site Pinterest [this is something I'm finding very useful too. In the future I'll be writing a post about Pinterest and how you can use it to keep track of resources. You can find me on Pinterest here] and has boards that feature music she has used in her 2011-2012 concerts, iPad apps she uses in her PreK-Grade 3 classes and websites she uses in class.

Allison Friedman

Allison Friedman is a general music, chorus and band teacher at South Salem Elementary School and she maintains two websites: one contains student work, links and class information and the other is a wiki set up to share her interactive whiteboard resources, links and other files with music teachers.

Units of work for her general music classes can be found on the General Music page (follow the links to each year level). She also has links to the digital media work she has done with students, including podcasts, videos and pictures.

Teacher resources include worksheets and lesson ideas and a long list of Smartboard resources

Karen Garrett

Karen Garret – from Central Park School in Birmingham Alabama – is well-known for her Music Tech Teacher website containing excellent music games and quizzes. Most of the games were tailor-made my Karen herself, but they are available to use for free from her site. Popular games include Fling The Teacher – a hangman-style quiz game in which correct answers contribute pieces to trebuchet which “flings the teacher” once completed – and Hoop Shoot – a quiz in which a correct answer allows you to try your luck shooting a basketball into a hoop.

In addition, Karen shares an extensive collection of lesson plans, complete with objectives, correlation to national standards and step-by-step instructions. The lesson plan collection can be found here.

Cherie Herring

I first came across Cherie online while I was researching ideas for using interactive whiteboards in the music classroom. Cherie has contributed a number of resources to the SMART Exchange (the Smartboard file-sharing website). Cherie has her own blog – Just A Little More: Musings about music and technology – where she publishes Smartboard Notebook lesson files (use them as inspiration if you have a different type of IWB), interactive music site links, and iPad resources.

Like Amy Burns, Cherie is using Pinterest to curate her useful links and she has 60 boards that inlaced links for music iPad appsmusic education and many more!

Tanya LeJeune

Tanya is a Kodaly specialist from Colorado and blogs about her music classroom at Teaching Elementary Music: Tanya’s Blog. Tanya also has a collection of ideas for Kodaly teachers using interactive whiteboards – including videos of students in action – at her other blog: The Kodaly Aspiring Music Classroom.


Professional Learning and Teaching Resources (Arts Victoria)

January 21, 2010

Go to resource: Professional Learning and Teaching Resources, provided by Arts Victoria, include education kits, training and online resources. Read more…


Protest Music meets comedy

October 1, 2011

Show your students the YouTube clip of Tim Minchin’s “Canvas Bags” song (NB it contains a few profanities). Discuss the damage done by plastic bags to our environment. Ask students to form song-writing groups & create their own protest song or rap. Also highlight the contrast of styles featured in Minchin’s song.


Pure Drop ABC video and lessons

February 15, 2011

Pure Drop – high quality audio and video footage (free) from the ABC & AFC & Federal Government, complete with free lesson plans and worksheets. Topics include Indigenous Music and World Music


rainstorm lesson plan

February 2, 2011

create a rainstorm in the Music classroom – a free lesson idea for lower Primary students


random lessons using YouTube

January 27, 2013


THIS link takes you two random uses of YouTube in music-related lessons. If you have suggestions, PLEASE email them to schools.mpfl AT mca.org.au


Reconciliation in the Arts

July 19, 2013


This is book is published by Macmillan for approx $24. It captures ‘reconciliation in action’ in the arts – events, people, organisations & activities associated with the Arts illustrate how reconciliation can be achieved.


Reconciliation Song-writing lesson idea for Sorry Day

March 10, 2011

A lesson idea for “National Sorry Day” … or any day.

Watch the Colli Crew’s song about reconciliation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsWo9CxqsN8&feature=related

In small groups, brainstorm phrases that rhyme with “reconciliation” and “it’s up to us”

Watch the Colli Crew’s 2010 ARIA Award winning song “Change the Game” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0rJajbIs-o

Create a class rap, make an audio recording, and place it on the school’s website.

Email a link (or a copy of the song) to schools.mpfl@mca.org.au

Listen to Indigenous Australian music from “Black Arm Band”, “Saltwater Band”, “Gurrumul Yunupingu” and “Archie Roach” on YouTube, iTunes, CD or GrooveShark.


remix vs. stealing music

March 31, 2013

http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/nothing-new-under-sun.html This blog post features a short video showing how Hip Hop and Heavy Metal artists are among many that borrow / remix music. At the bottom of the blog are a list of questions to shape a lesson plan.


ReWiggled album!

September 30, 2011

In early November, 2011, ABC will release a tribute album to 20 years of The Wiggles! 20 of Australia’s great contemporary artists have covered 20 Wiggles songs (eg. Clare Bowditch & The Audreys). The final track is a Wiggles mash-up.

LESSON IDEA: Ask students to re-interpret or mash-up Wiggles songs before the album is released in November :-)


rhythm bingo

February 26, 2012

Play rhythm bingo with a middle school class using crotchets and quavers. HERE is a free website for printing out a class set of bingo cards (thanks to DSMusic). The teacher starts by clapping the rhythms, then hands the job over to a student or two.


Rhythmic elements – free lesson and worksheet

March 28, 2011


Free lesson content = facts on time signatures & grouping of beats in a bar


Roll over Beethoven

December 13, 2009

Go to resource: Roll over Beethoven was written by Donald Robertson and Gail Cork, 1987. Read more…


Royal Wedding Music 2011 – lesson idea

May 8, 2011

Listen to the first minute or so of each track from the recent Royal Wedding (soundtrack available from iTunes).

For each piece of music, discuss the time signature (how many beats per bar) and the instrumentation (which instruments and voices are heard).

Discuss the sound of hymns – organ introduction & massed voices singing throughout (rarely changing colour or texture). Decide which tracks from the Royal Wedding are hymns.

Discuss the process of commissioning a new piece of music. John Rutter was commissioned to compose “This is the Day” to be sung as an anthem for this wedding (performed 29/4/2011).


Ruby Hunter lyrics (Indigenous Australian music)

January 9, 2012

Watch a tribute to Ruby Hunter HERE. Download a file of Ruby Hunter’s lyrics from HERE. Ask students to choose one song, and analyse the rhyming pattern, structure & message of one of Ruby’s songs. FYI The dominant messages in Ruby’s music are “Stolen Generation” and “Indigenous Women’s Issues”. Her CD can be bought HERE.


Senior Music Composition Folio

January 14, 2013

My brave idea for Year 11 this year is to give them one piece of theory each week – to research, then apply to their own composition. The booklet is attached – feel free to use and amend for your own teaching purposes. ENJOY!


Sibelius Groovy Music

February 4, 2010

Go to resource: Sibelius Groovy Music is a software program that assists with teaching music to five to eleven year old students. Read more…


SMART Notebook – guitar lesson

July 16, 2013

This SMART Notebook for a basic guitar lesson – a musical introduction in a Primary or Secondary School environment.  Each Image has the chord sound and are some simple song examples. All the sounds and songs are included in the Notebook Attachments Tab. Students and teachers can move the images around to create new chord progressions and patterns.



Song to Sing – Archie Roach

January 20, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2c7zk8Grp8 A great new song by Archie Roach about the healing power of singing and song-writing. Play the clip to your class, and have them devise 3 different movements: slow section (beginning), upbeat chorus, and gospel groove at the end. Older students might talk about the message / story behind the video clip.


song writing using “Affirmation”

February 23, 2011

Use Savage Garden’s song “Affirmation” to inspire song writing. Students listen to the song, while filling in THIS CLOZE activity. Discuss the meaning of an ‘affirmation’. Then students work in small groups to write their own verse. Each line must begin with “I believe …” and be about the same phrase length.


song-write for $1000 due 25 May 2012

May 13, 2012

Here is a powerpoint presentation to show students … before asking them to write a song for 500 000 students to perform on November 1st, 2012 in Australia. Write individually or as a group. Keep the lyrics positive and optimistic.

Music: Count Us In has full details – due 25 May, 2012. $1000 up for grabs!


SQUILT – free worksheet for listening activity

June 10, 2011


FunMusicCo has provided a free worksheet for use with ANY music listening activity.


Stage 1 Music Resources (NSW)

March 7, 2010

Go to resource: Stage 1 Music Resources are published by the Department of Education and Training (NSW).

Read more…


Stage 2 Music Resources (NSW)

March 7, 2010

Go to resource: Stage 2 Music Resources are published by the Department of Education and Training (NSW).

Read more…


student song-writer – ACMF winners – lesson plan

October 24, 2011


The above website links to the 2011 prize-winners of the Australian Children’s Music Foundation song-writing competition. Categories catered for students aged 5 through to 18. LESSON IDEA: Listen to the winning songs (from the website) for each class’s age-category and discuss the strengths and musical elements of each winning song.


Sydney Symph PL video

April 7, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr4jR87dDQc&feature=youtu.be Lots of short clips from Sydney Symphony’s teacher training sessions and school concerts – lots of teaching ideas in the video.


Tashi music-writing lesson

May 28, 2012

The creators of Tashi books (Barbara & Anna Fienberg) often write songs for their book characters to sing, but rarely have a melody / tune in mind. Pick any 5 notes from A through to G, and create a melody for a Tashi song. If you only use 5 different notes, it uses a pentatonic scale, and will sound Oriental — just like Tashi!


Teacher’s Toolkit – Creative Arts

February 9, 2010

Go to resource: Teacher’s Toolkit is a website that lists resources for classroom teachers of students 5 to 13 years old. Read more…


Teachers on the Web (TOTW) – Creative Arts Lessons

February 9, 2010

Go to resource:  Creative Arts lesson plans posted by teachers – some links no longer work. Read more…



January 13, 2011

TeachersNetwork.org – an excellent website (by US teachers for teachers) with free lesson plans. Most lessons require computers as a resource or tool for quality Music lessons – from Bach to Rap! Some lessons include rubrics for assessment.


Teaching ideas – Music & Technology

July 6, 2011


Practical plans and ideas for teaching music with the aid of technology – from Intelliware website.


teaching Italian terms via mobile phones

December 7, 2011

HERE is a free worksheet from FunMusicCo which uses mobile phones (alpha-numeric buttons) to help students to learn the definitions of Italian terms. After completing the sheet, students could create their own worksheet using mobile phone buttons.

HERE is a free video explaining how to use the worksheet.


Teaching the Blues – 41 free tips!!!

October 17, 2012

Thanks to Midnight Music, HERE are 41 tips and free resources for teaching 12 bar blues to students of all ages.



TES connect – free teaching resources

January 10, 2011

Go to resource: TES Connect collates free teacher-created resources from UK. This link is for Secondary Music resources and links. You will need to sign up to view resources – signing up is free and simple.


The Cup Game

August 15, 2012

Watch THIS YOUTUBE CLIP with students, and try to copy the cup-choreography. Fairvale High students have created a digital backing track to accompany the Cup Game.


Took the Children Away – Indigenous music and history

March 5, 2011

Archie Roach’s song “Took the Children Away” has been adopted by Canadian indigenous people, as the lyric content (Australia’s Stolen Generation) has parallels in Canadian Indian history.

Lesson plan idea: Read and discuss Archie Roach’s lyrics … watch the YouTube clip which puts Australian historical and indigenous images to “Took the Children Away” … watch the YouTube clip which puts Canadian historical images to the same song … discuss any other countries which could borrow Roach’s song to apply to their own national history.

YouTube (Australian images & the emotional trailer from the movie “Rabbit Proof Fence”)


YouTube (Canadian images)



Top Gear – mood music

May 22, 2011

Top Gear’s “Middle East episode” sees the 3 Top Gear presenters driving up some Iraqi hills (towards the start of the episode) with sinister music in the background. Soon after, they have an epiphany that the region is much safer than they had imagined. As they drive back down the Iraqi hills, the scenery is the same but the background music is fun and light.

LESSON IDEA: Watch the Top Gear episode up until the Iraqi hills re-appear. Pause each time music is played and discuss the mood and instrumentation of the background music. Finally, discuss the effect that music has on our perception of TV images.


Top Secret Drum Corps

January 9, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkXXdIowJx0 Precision drumming and good fun to watch! The Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps (Edinburgh Military Tattoo) in August 2012. Play it to your class, and talk about the importance of “practice makes perfect” in music.


Torres Strait Islander song with actions

February 26, 2012

Deb Smith has written up a Torres Strait song HERE along with a series of challenging actions. Suits middle school students.


Tour de France inspired lesson idea :-)

July 24, 2011

1) “I’m going to play you a song about my weekend” …

2) Play (live or on YouTube or CD) ‘Hercules’ from the movie ‘Hunchback from Notre Dame’ … asking students to think about what it has to do with the weekend.

3) Afterwards, ask students if they’ve made any connection/s … hopefully they will offer up answers about watching Cadel Evans win the Tour de France (French bike race).

4) Help students to recall the lyrics, song moods, compositional tools, etc which relate to winning a big race.

5) In small groups, ask students to brainstorm other songs that could be used as background music for a ‘highlights segment’ on the 2011 Tour de France.

Resources: free video footage of Cadel Evans after his huge win http://player.sbs.com.au/cycling#/cycling_08/tourdefrance/tdf_interviews/playlist/Cadel-Evans-post-Stage-20/


tracking Australian-ness through pop music

September 19, 2011

Here are some suggestions of songs which have a particularly Australian flavour. Teach the chord progressions of each chorus (guitar / ukulele / keyboard) to your class. Discuss from which decade each song came, and why it feels Australian.

Skyhooks – Living in the 70’s (1975), Joe Dolce – Shaddup You Face (1980), Men at Work – Down Under (1981), Paul Kelly – From St Kilda to Kings Cross (1985), Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning (1987), Yothu Yindi – Treaty (1991 remix), Hunters and Collectors – Holy Grail (1992), any song from Gurrumul Yunupingu’s 2008 album – Gurrumul.

More info on Australian pop music: “Playlisted” by Craig Mathieson


Trivia-night-style lesson plan

August 27, 2011

Organise students into table groups. Inform them you will play 5 pieces of music from 5 different centuries (1600’s 1700’s 1800’s 1900’s 2000’s). Use iTunes library or GrooveShark to play 5 very different pieces of music. Each team must discuss (quietly) which century belongs to each piece of music. Score 2 points for each correct century or 2 points for being 100 years either side. Score 1 bonus point for every correct reason given for answer!


TropFest winner – fun lesson idea

May 17, 2011

On Sunday 20 February 2011, Damon Gameau took out first prize for the 19th annual Movie Extra Tropfest in front of crowds of 150,000 nationwide. The film was titled “ANIMAL BEATBOX”. It creates a type of beat-box using only animal words – verbal percussion of sorts!

Watch the YouTube clip of Animal Beatbox (giggle and smile) then ask students to come up with a list of animals with 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 syllables. Next, they can form groups to create a poem, rap, beat-box or verse. Finally, practise saying the animal beat-box creation over a djembe beat, drum-kit beat or electronic loop. ENJOY!!


TV themes lesson idea

November 30, 2011

Play some of the free (MP3) TV themes from THIS website, and ask teams of students to guess the TV show. Encourage students to sing along and make musical comments. Write up the notes for “I Dream of Jeannie” (D A A G B A G C A A G B A G D A A G B A G C) to play on glockenspiel or keyboard. Next, ask students to suggest (other) TV shows with good music or theme songs. Then, show THIS YouTube clip of a medley of TV themes and THIS YouTube clip. Finally, ask students to string together their own medley of TV themes.


uJam – creating pop music online

July 24, 2011


Online song-creation … start by humming a melody into the computer … choose instruments, styles, form … publish a song :-)

A lesson plan of its own – since the webpage guides you through each selection.

NB: You will need to create a login.


Ukulele resource

February 24, 2012

THIS free lesson plan link is a teaser for a new Ukulele method book.


Unblocked student viewing of YouTube clips

March 23, 2011

There’s a new way to let students view YouTube clips online … www.viewpure.com. The teacher copies the URL address from a YouTube clip, pastes it onto the viewpure.com website, clicks “create”, and it creates a new webpage (which students can view) with the YouTube clip on its own (without ads or comments). Copy and paste the newly create URL address and give it to your students.

Here’s an example I entered into ViewPure of ACO playing to surfing footage …


HINT: Don’t click on the “Download” button (bottom of ViewPure screen) – it is only advertising!


unusual instrument recognition on YouTube

May 28, 2013

Play the audio of this YouTube clip of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones playing “Hall of Mirrors”. How many instruments can students recognise? Watch the video afterwards. www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FMM59GPw4w What other songs have unusual instrument combinations?


unusual instrument: Hang

January 14, 2013

THIS YouTube clip shows a street musician playing the HANG. Show it to students, then make a list of other unusual instruments. Finally, ask groups of students to design an unusual instrument which uses reclaimed / recycled materials.


Venn instruments lesson

February 15, 2012

Bring 2 instruments into the classroom (I used cello and guitar). Ask the students to find similarities and differences. Students should put the characteristics into a Venn digram (= 2 over-lapping circles, with the over-lapping portion being for the common characteristics) in pairs or individually. Play a CD in the background, which features the two instruments you have chosen. Suits middle school students.


VOSA – Victorian Orff Schulwerk Association

January 2, 2011

Go to resource: VOSA (Vic Orff Schulwerk Assoc) Resources, articles, ideas and lesson plans for incorporating the Orff approach to Music education (hands-on percussion and ensembles). Resources are split into two sections: Early Childhood resources (aged 0 – 8) & ages 9+. Also includes ideas for Music and movement.


Wallace & Gromit – create the music

November 25, 2012

THIS website takes you to free downloads of film clip (MP4), script, storyboard and teaching ideas (PDF). Australian students cannot enter the competition, but can certainly enjoy the process. Suits Middle School.


Waltzing Matilda – lesson idea

March 5, 2011

Waltzing Matilda free historical resources – LESSON IDEA: explore the content on the Music Australia webpage (old sheet music and old jazz recordings of “Waltzing Matilda”) … listen to and discuss the differences between the old recordings (found at the bottom of the webpage) and the way “Waltzing Matilda” is performed/sung today


We’ve Got the Music – learning online

June 28, 2011

We’ve got the Music & Music: Count Us In online resources are up and going, Jozzbeat-style. They are accessed via this page:


Jozzbeat will give each school a free log-in (after the school has registered for Music: Count Us In at www.musiccountusin.org.au)


Existing customers of Jozzbeat that come through as MCUI registrees can just use their existing JozzBeat website password/username to access the resources.

Grab a group of kids, log on, learn the song, add some percussion, and have a fun lesson :-)


What music can do for your students? – lesson idea

July 5, 2012

Ask students what positive effects music education might have on them … watch THIS YouTube clip from the movie “Mr Holland’s Opus” … see if students can add to the list of positive effects … hopefully they come up with words like: listening, empathy, imagination, perseverance, fun …


whistling activity!

May 19, 2013

Use the new release song “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5 to inspire classes to practise their whistling!  Ask students to draw the shape of the whistled melody in the air. Try to figure out the notes on a keyboard. Experiment with half the class singing and half the class whistling any tune!


Whitlams & SSO

July 19, 2013


A free teaching resource from Sydney Symphony Orchestra – fused with The Whitlams’ pop music.


Wrap-up video for MCUI 2012

November 30, 2012

http://youtu.be/pAV-fJOl0J4 Watch this well-edited video with your class, then discuss the benefits of music-making to students and teachers. Make a list of songs that make kids feel happy and positive. Brainstorm why massed singing makes us all feel special on the inside!


write a press release for MCUI

August 25, 2011

While listening to the free MP3 of “We’ve Got the Music”, ask students to write their own press release for the local paper, describing their preparation and/or performance of “We’ve Got the Music” for Music: Count Us In. There is a sample press release to be found HERE.


writing harmonies – lesson idea

October 6, 2012

Give students a melody (as a Sibelius or Finale file, accessible via school intranet if you want to save time). Using trial and error, asking students to write a harmony line, creating a duet. For the melody, you could use a nursery rhyme OR the Music: Count Us In song. EXTENSION: Explain how notes fit into chords. Ask students to write another duet, using only notes from each chord, and compare for the two duets.


www.musicgames.us – online music education games

June 12, 2011


Online music games. Play air guitar, drum beats and be a DJ.

Lesson idea: Let students loose on this website, and ask them to screen-shot their creations or take notes on what they learn.


Year 12 lesson: history of music on YouTube

December 29, 2011

Play THIS YouTube clip of a string quartet playing music from 300+ years of history — how many titles can they write down — and from what period is each piece? Finally, ask students to make their own list of famous, representative pieces from each era / period.


Year 8 Film Music

October 6, 2011

Here are some links I’ve created with ViewPure to allow students to view/listen to scenes from various films:

Shrek: Hallelujah Harry Potter: Hedwig’s Theme (no visuals) Moulin Rouge: Elephant scene Shrek: Dance Party Top Gun: Highway to the Danger Zone Man from Snowy River: the descent

Lesson ideas: describe how the music matches the images, try to figure out melody/chords, listen for mash-ups, discuss whether the music was written to match the film scene (or vice versa).


Year 9 iBooks project

January 10, 2013


Greg Thwaites runs a Year 9 Project – creating their own eBook on Music topics.


YouTube – string players being funny

November 6, 2011

Here are some amusing (string) clips to share with students of all ages:

(1) I Will Survive (2) Pachelbel’s Canon (3) Titanic by MozART Group & while you’re having fun … (4) Hedwig’s Theme on Wine glasses


YouTube helps teach the History of Western Art Music

May 5, 2011


The history of music from Medieval to post WW II. Presented as text and related YouTube video/audio clips. A series of lessons, in effect!