Right now, my school is online-only due to the pandemic. But one thing that helps me keep my sanity is keeping my classroom ready as if we're going back to school as usual. Here are a few photos of my classroom as it is now!
When I became the music teacher at my school, I had a very specific vision for the choir that I inherited. The choir was to be modeled after a youth honor choir, with a rigorous audition and interview process. 4th graders would be trained for the OAKE or OMEA honor choir in 5th grade, and 5th graders would be trained to jump into middle school choir fearlessly. Because of this, I needed worksheets that were essentially middle school level but with the colorful, fun aspects of elementary school. And, thus, my resource, "The Voice: Resources for Elementary Choirs" was born!
How do you get kids to remember the instruments of the orchestra? And when do you begin to introduce them? One of the best ways to get children hooked on orchestral music is to present it with a fun story and beautiful illustrations! Below are my favorite books to read to kids with topics about the orchestra or composers.
Daniel Ian Smith is a professional saxophonist and associate professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In fact, he was my Harmony professor while I was at Berklee. In the age of COVID, many musicians and music teachers are looking for routine, so I asked Dan about what his daily routine looks like as a professional saxophonist.
"20/20 vision in 2020" has become the hackneyed proverb of the year – in fact, it's even the theme for the 2020 OAKE National Conference: Focus. And while clear vision and focus are absolutely necessary for completing your goals and making meaningful change, for me, this year is about one thing: perseverance.
Meditation doesn't need to be confusing or boring. Kids today are coming to school more stressed and anxious than ever, and, unfortunately, many are not receiving the tools or living conditions they need to cope with or understand their frustration. Teachers and school staff are being asked to step in and add mindfulness to their curriculum, and whether or not you feel that it's the teacher's responsibility, the kids still need it. So here are a few of my favorite books to add a little meditation and mindfulness to your students' day and still have FUN!
This year, I followed through on an idea I had last year to create a gigantic 15-20' Christmas tree on my windows and have 1st- and 2nd-grade students create "rhythm ornaments." What I didn't anticipate was every other grade wanting to participate as well! Here's how we did it.
Aw, the holiday season! The winter chill in the air; the warm hellos from eager students; piles of student gifts. School closures... Schedule chaos... Oh, and by the way, can you put together an All-School Sing-Along for next week? It's one of my favorite times of the year! So, which songs do you include in your holiday sing-along?
Skin and Bones is one of my favorite songs to sing around this time of year. Not only is it fun and spooky, but it's an excellent song for preparing 3rd grade for low la and practicing low la with 4th grade. Well, this week, one of my 3rd graders came up with a unique game for the song that I hadn't seen before and I want to share it with you!
Halloween has become a touchy subject in many public schools. Gone are the days of costume contests and Halloween parties in the classrooms – but that doesn't mean you can't still have some harvest-themed fun. While ghosts and witches are often out of the question, pumpkins, fall-themed, and more generally spooky books are still acceptable in many schools. Below are 5 school-appropriate books you can read in your classroom this October.
My name is Nick Dolan, and I'm an elementary music teacher and choir director. I'm here to talk about teaching music!