Teaching resources are an important part of every class. These aids help teachers to communicate information and knowledge to students. They usually engage and appeal to the students directly. Resources make learning more fun and engaging. There are many great resources for music teachers, so you might find you’re spoilt for choice when deciding which resources to use.
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours of your free time searching for music teacher help and going through all the different resources. We’ve compiled this great list of eight music teacher resources for you to choose from.
What You'll Learn?
1. Oxfam’s World Music Lessons
World music has now become an important part of the curriculum. But there are far fewer resources available than for classical and popular music. The well-known charity Oxfam, which campaigns and works to eradicate poverty, has developed a range of music lesson plans. The lessons all focus on music from different parts of the world.
There are separate lesson plans available for different age groups, divided into 5-7, 7-11, 11-14 and 14-16 year olds. The website includes downloadable music tracks and PDF lesson plans. There is also a PDF explaining how each of the lessons links to the national curriculum.
For example, one of the lessons, Bringing the Rain to the Kapiti Plain, links to a Kenyan story. It includes call-and-response chanting and percussion. There is also a composition exercise where pupils compose music to describe the weather found in the story.
Other lessons take on a broader focus. For example, Lesson 5: Metallic Sounds teaches pupils to listen to, identify, appraise and compare metallic sounds. It uses instruments and sound makers from the Caribbean, UK and USA.
There are many great online resources for music teachers. One of the best for using in the classroom is Solfeg.io. It is a web-based app for teaching popular music and other songs. It works well with an interactive whiteboard or on a screen, and students can also access the app at home.
To use Solfeg.io open the website and sign up before the class. A range of songs is available for free, and you can get access to many more with an account. Have a look at the songs and think about which songs your students would enjoy the most. There are many songs by famous pop artists in the app, including Adele, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay. You probably have a good idea which artists are popular with your class.
In class, open Solfeg.io and log in. Bring up the song you’ve chosen. You can see the full score, including vocal and instrumental parts and chord symbols. Solfeg.io can be used to teach all parts of the music with the minus one feature. Students can follow the score and won’t get lost, as it moves along with the music.
To work on a short section of the music, you can loop it. Press the loop button when the section you want to loop starts, and press the same button again when it finishes. Solfeg.io will automatically loop the section you have selected over and over again. To stop looping simple select the x button. To slow down and practise a song at reduced tempo, simple press the - button at the top of the player. To increase the tempo back to the original speed, press the + button.
On the left you have the parts of the song:
All these can be soloed or muted, and increased or decreased in volume. You can skip to anywhere in the music by clicking on the score, or anywhere along the bar that shows the schema of the whole song. If you want to quickly go back to the beginning of the song, simply press the back arrow at the top of the player.
Solfeg.io is a brilliant resource for teaching students the music they already love in a whole class setting. Enthusiastic students can then go home and open the Solfeg.io app themselves to carry on practising.
3. Ocarina Sets
Does your school have ocarinas? The ocarina is a great instrument for whole class music making, and is a resource you’ll return to again and again. The four-hole ocarina is used regularly in around 5000 schools. With only four holes designed for little fingers, it’s simple to play and easy to make a pleasant sound.
Ocarinas need no tuning or maintenance so are much easier to look after than many other instruments. Children can very quickly learn a wide range of songs. You can order a class set of ocarinas, or just purchase a trial ocarina for yourself first.
With many ocarinas available in bright colours, it is an attractive instrument that children love to play. It’s easy to teach and a great introduction to ensemble playing for primary school pupils. Ocarina notation features music and finger charts, so pupils can begin to read staff notation or follow the finger charts.
4. BBC Ten Pieces
The BBC has created a brilliant resource for schools based around ten pieces of music. There are separate primary and secondary versions of the programme. Each of the ten pieces has resources including a website, videos, lesson plans and other ideas. There are even easy arrangements available so your students can try playing the pieces themselves.
Teachers are encouraged to use the pieces as a springboard for creativity. Students then compose their own works inspired by the pieces. There is an uploader for students to share their compositions and performances with others.
For example, the secondary Ten Pieces including Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The website includes biographical information about Elgar and the piece. There is a full orchestral performance to watch and an MP3 recording to listen to. There are also six weeks of lesson plans about the piece, and a simplified arrangement of the piece to play together.
5. English Folk Dance and Song Society Resource Bank
The English Folk Dance and Song Society has an extensive resource bank that is free to use. It includes beginners’ guides to folk music, and recordings and scores of a wide range of folk tunes. Many of the scores are aimed at particular Key Stage levels.
For example, the lesson Black Sailors and Sea Shanties looks at the influence of black sailors on sea shanties. It includes three songs with sheet music, recordings and activities. It is aimed at Key Stage 3. A clear list of links to the national curriculum is included. The lesson involves listening to, analysing and singing the songs, as well as learning about the historical context.
Other lessons are for Key Stages 1 and 2. For example, the Bristol Folk Songs Pack, which includes songs collected in and around Bristol. It has a warm-up exercise, songs to learn together and questions for students to answer about the songs.
6. Free Posters for your Classroom
Music isn’t always a very visual subject and it’s easy for your classroom to look a bit drab. Why not download some free posters from the NST website.
You’ll find posters about musical dynamics, and positivity in the music classroom. There is also a poster with Top 5 Songwriting Tips that your students are sure to love. The posters are easily downloadable in PDF format for you to print at school.
You could use these posters as a springboard to a class project. Ask your students to design their own posters about music. Encourage them to work in small groups to come up with ideas and create large posters that you can then stick on the classroom walls.
7. Blank Sheet Music
This great online resource is the easiest way to print blank sheet music for your class. Any kind of blank sheet music can be printed for free.
You can choose whether to use a treble, bass, tenor or alto clef, or even great blank guitar tab sheets. You can create sheet music for piano, SATB choir, piano and staff for solo instrument with accompaniment, and even for organ. You can enlarge or reduce the size of the sheet music. Then it’s very easy to print it with the button at the bottom right.
This is a wonderful resource for all your composition classes and any exercise where you want students to begin with a blank sheet.
8. Classical 100
This resource was created by ABRSM and is aimed at primary schools. Classical 100 is a free website though you do have to open an account and log in to access it. Teachers and students get access to 100 free pieces of classical music, from Bach to Bernstein and Handel to Haydn.
You can search the site by mood, instrument, tempo or period to find the right music for your class. Some of the pieces are designed for storytelling, dancing, learning about sounds, and more. The site is a useful resource for when you want a particular piece or type of music to fit your lesson.
The eight music teaching resources covered in this article are some of the best we have seen. They have all been designed to make teaching music easier and more fun. Students will enjoy learning music with these resources.