Summer is coming to a close and back to school is just around the corner. As you are preparing for the upcoming school year, you may be wondering what exactly you need to teach music this year. I have compiled a list of “a few of my favorite things” that will make great additions to your homeschool or music classroom teaching materials. Every item I am suggesting here, I have used in my teaching and chose these items because they are great resources to teach music. So, whether you are needing new books to read, more instruments, or different teaching materials, or are looking for things to spend your stipend or budget on, these are 35 back to school must have music teaching materials for you to choose from.
Books to Teach Pre-K and Kindergarten
For Pre-K and kindergarten students, doing echo songs and lots of movement is what I like to do a lot of. I feel like finding materials for the lower grades is harder to do. These three books, I have used for years and years and the kids love the songs and activities that come from them.
I Sing, You Sing Holiday Songs has several songs from several holidays in it. The songs are easy to learn, and instead of students having to echo sing a lot of words, it breaks it down into one line at a time. The kids love to add movement after they sing.
Mother Goose Brain Boost: Using Music and Movement to Teach Cognitive Skills (Early Learning) is one of my favorite teaching resources. Basically this book just gets kids moving. I don’t know about you, but my younger students can’t sit still, so this book is so helpful for those days where they just need to get up and dance.
Children’s Songbook with CD is a book that was given to me. At first I was a little leery since it was written by Readers Digest, but a lot of the songs are fun to learn. On top of that, if you are a piano player, it is fun for the kids to sing along with you while you play the piano part.
Instrument Teaching Resources
My favorite instrument books I found through trial and error. I hate when I would buy a book, only use it for one or two of the songs, and then realize I didn’t really like it. Well, these books are my favorites. They have sticky notes coming out of the top of them because they have been used so much.
Fun With Boomwhackers! is my absolute favorite boomwhacker book, and I have tried lots of them.
Sound Ideas: Activities for the Percussion Circle, D.R.U.M.: Discipline, Respect, and Unity Through Music became one of my favorite books, because not only are kids learning to play rhythm instruments, they are learning life skills too.
Mallet Madness and Strike it Rich!: Mallet Activities for Children are my two favorite mallet instrument books. There are so many great songs in these books that are already arranged for you by glockenspiel, xylophones, and metallophone parts. All you have to do is divide the students into groups and teach the lessons.
The recorder is not my favorite instrument to teach (there I said it.) I wrote a humorous take on why students should learn the headache inducing recorder since I know the struggle is all too real music teachers. These are my favorite recorder books to use since they all teach recorder in a different way and since I like to switch up curriculum from time to time…
Recorder Karate and BAG Warm-Ups & Workouts For Young Players – Kit with CD are more informal recorder method books.
Movement and Music Games Books
Movement and music games are a big part of music. It is so important for kids to experience every aspect of music and singing, instruments, movement, and learning to read and write music are all important parts of it. But, getting kids moving after sitting at their desks all day is one of my favorite things to teach.
Busy Kids Movement (Busy Kids) helps teach exactly what the title says. There are so many fantastic activities in this book to get kids moving.
Jump Jim Joe: Great Singing Games for Children Book/CD Combo includes so many great folk songs and dances. My students love to move and dance, and although the 4th and 5th graders (especially boys) might act too cool to do these dances, they will get used to your crazy ways and will end up loving these dances.
101 Music Games for Children is one of my go to books when I have an extra 5-10 minutes at the end of a lesson. The kids will memorize their favorite games and will ask to play them again and again.
Teaching the Composers
Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers books are great for teaching about the great music composers. I like to teach a composer of the month from August- May (here is a free printable) and teach about the different composers by their birthday month. The Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach books are my favorites (probably because these are two of my favorite composers), but there are books to go with pretty much any of the popular composers we all know and love.
Body Percussion and Rhythm Books
Along with teaching movement, teaching rhythm and body percussion are so much fun too.
Stomp, Boom, Blast! Creating Music with Everyday “Stuff” (Book & CD) is one of the most creative teaching resources I have come across. Basically, you will use every day objects like staplers and trash cans to make music.
The Body Rondo Book teaches kids how to use their bodies to make music. This is by far one of my all time favorite books.
Rockin’ Rhythm Raps makes learning rhythms fun and enjoyable.
Substitute Music Help
The other book I want to suggest is for when you need a substitute teacher. Help I’m a Substitute Music Teacher has several great ideas that will help a substitute be able to successfully teach a music lesson to a classroom of kiddos.
My Favorite Instruments
Every music teacher is different and likes to teach music in different ways. Singing is fun but, other than recorder, I love to teach instruments the most. I remember my first year of teaching, walking into a classroom with no instruments and knowing I needed to buy some. After doing my research, these are my favorite instruments that can be used in the classroom or in your homeschool.
Lyons 6-piece Orff Instrument Set includes xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels.
Rhythm Band Lummi Sticks is enough to get you started with 24 rhythm sticks.
Rhythm Band Rockin’ Instrument Rhythm Set includes 2 maracas, a 4″ triangle, a pair of sand blocks, a tone block with mallet, a pair of rhythm sticks, cluster bells, wrist bells, and an automatic hand castanet.
I cannot say enough great things about Music K-8. Not only did lots of my teaching materials come from this magazine, almost every music program and choir repertoire was ordered through my subscription with them.
A Music Stand is a must have to hold your lesson plans, teaching materials, and other resources.
This Elementary Music Note Worthy Rug is one I used for years and years. The kids like learning about the different musical symbols on it and you can use the rug to play an identifying the lines and spaces on the staff game.
WELCOME – When you enter this music room poster is one that I put right on the door so as the kids enter they can see it.
Discover Music Bulletin Board Set is one I chose years ago because it is colorful, includes music terms you will be teaching, and can be moved around or changed out easily.
Learning Resources Classroom Centers Pocket Chart is what I used to put rhythms and instructions for my music centers in.
I hope you found this list helpful. As you are looking for new ideas for the school year, I hope this list will be of some help to you. I would love to hear about your favorite resources to use in your classroom or homeschool music.
If you are a parent, student, or teacher who wants to learn more about music, connect with other musicians, or wants to post their latest videos of what they’ve been working on, I would love for you to join my Facebook group Music Education Connection. Collaborate, learn from each other, and grow new friendships. This is a place to receive encouragement, positive feedback, and to ask questions.
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