Toe-Tapping Music Resources for K-12 Teachers

Musical expression’s be it singing, tapping, or playing an instrument’s is an innate ability within all of us that conveys joy and brings connections to each other. But if you’re a teacher in secondary education, how do you make music fun and accessible throughout the school year?

Perhaps you’re a director of the school band, orchestra, or choir who is looking for new, challenging repertoire. Or a kindergarten teacher interested in age-appropriate musical activities for a group. This page brings myriad resources to the music educator of grades K-12 with ideas to facilitate and enhance your teaching approach and curriculum.

Courses and Workshops

  • American Orff-Schulwerk Association offers educators a listing of teacher education courses with appropriate dates and locations. Developed by Carl Orff and GunildKeetman, Orff Schulwerk has been taught in music classrooms for many years using traditional and folklore music, melodic instruments (i.e., xylophones and gockenspiels, and recorders), and movement (i.e., clapping and dancing) to encourage children’s creative instincts.
  • Inner Game of Music by author and bassist Barry Green (modeled after the book Inner Game of Tennis) may be applicable in overcoming performance anxiety and optimizing one’s enjoyment of performing and practicing music. Inner Game workshops include teacher training and seminars.
  • Music Together provides teacher-training workshops for working with children from birth to kindergarten grade level. Music educators can enhance their professional development with research-based activities incorporating music and movement.

Online Communities

  • BrightHub features a blog for educators as well as articles related to teaching grades K-12. Articles submitted by other educators contain information on pertinent subject matter as well as listing related resources ( i.e., Music Therapy for autistic children).
  • includes current events and news related to musicals as well as a chat room. Musicals may be researched by title and include a song list and synopsis.

Lesson Plans

  • features grade-specific lesson plans based on composer ZoltánKodály. Through such activities as listening, singing, and body movement, Kodály believed that students naturally develop their aural, written, and reading skills.
  • Annenberg Media provides information on instructional video series (also available on DVD) with program descriptions and titles. Most of these can be viewed directly from the website as well as purchased (purchasing information also available. Some of the topics include exploring the music of Bosnia and American jazz.
  • ArtsEdge of The Kennedy Center includes detailed lesson plans specific to certain grade levels with diverse areas from acoustical science to music composition to Chinese music. The plans outline instructional objectives and interactive exercises as well as an allotted time frame (i.e., two 45-minute class periods).
  • ArtsWork includes lesson plans that follow state and national arts standards. Lesson plan subjects include: composition (for grades K-5) and theme and variations (for grades 9-12).
  • ChoralTech offers vocal programs for sight singing and sight reading. Students may move sequentially through these programs to develop music literacy skills.
  • Educational CyberPlayground devotes numerous chapters on its website to music education, including topics such as developing ear training and perfect pitch—accompanied by links to supporting articles.
  • Exploratorium captures the fascinating links between the worlds of science and music in the Science of Music: Accidental Scientist web pages. Through online exhibits, movies, and questions, one can explore birdsong music, dance, composition, and drumming.
  • HotChalk allows you to search for innovative lesson plans based on grade level and subject. Additionally, teacher discussions, a newsletter, and a guide to online degrees make this an indispensable resource for educators.
  • Kidzone, hosted by the New York Philharmonic, includes interactive games that allow students to learn about orchestral instruments, create original compositions, and learn about other young composers.
  • MetronomeOnline shows students how to use the metronome as a practice tool in developing rhythmic skills. Learn how to use your cellphone as a metromone!
  • Music Education Madness offers numerous downloads of worksheets and practice charts, curriculae, and instrumental arrangements.
  • Music Notes, Inc. features downloads of tutorials designed for specific grades that teach children how to read music. The downloads are available with membership.
  • Music Theatre International includes study guides on many musicals that focus on political and social issues in addition to musical or theatrical aspects.
  • National Arts Centre provides valuable music resources for teachers, including free downloads of Teacher Resource Kits on their website. Arranged in chapters resembling a book, the kits provide interesting facts on the composers’ lives, the historical context of the times, and suggested classroom activities.
  • Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) includes teaching guides with activities, step-by-step procedures, questions for students, materials needed for creating projects, and related links. One such guide called The Art of Science: Ben Franklin’s Harmonica focuses on the relationship of physics (acoustics, frequency, sound), chemistry (glass) and history, utilizing Franklin’s invention of the glass harmonica.
  • Smithsonian‘s Music and Musical Instruments web pages include extensive bibliographies on musical instruments, including reading lists on the Aeolian harp, American folk music, and prominent luthiers (violin makers).
  • provides video footage and suggested group exercises for teaching DalcrozeEurythmics in the classroom. The group exercises focus on developing skills using elements of rhythm, improvisation, and solfège (or solfa) singing.

Programs for Schools

  • Midori & Friends introduces New York City’s public schools to music of classical, folk, and other genres through concerts and other music education programs. Founded by the violinist Midori Goto, participating communities have included the underserved areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
  • Music Messenger is an innovative program created by violinist Jennifer Koh featuring seminars, masterclasses, and presentations in the public schools. The visiting violinist (Koh) provides a short concert in the classroom setting, exploring musical terms, colors, and concepts. Six different programs are tailored to children’s age groups, from kindergarten to high school.


  • American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) provides information on research, benefits, and articles supporting music therapy’s efficacy in the classroom.
  • American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) supports educators in maintaining and developing their instrumental school programs. Membership is by “invitation only.” ASBDA publications may be purchased through the website.
  • American String Teachers Association offers educators a variety of resources, including instrument insurance, opportunities for professional development, and access to publications and resources.
  • Institute for Music Research (UTSA) promotes research in the many facets of the field, including music psychology, technology, and learning. UTSA has an ejournal that includes articles and tutorials in addition to publications available on CD-ROM or hard-copy text.
  • Organization of American Kodály Educators gives updated information for elementary and middle school teachers. Members may access lesson plans, learn of upcoming conferences, and search for job postings.

Publications and Journals

  • Beethoven-Haus-Bonn Digital Archives allows computer users to access manuscripts, photos, and letters of the composer.
  • British Journal of Music Education provides in-depth book reviews on related topics and summaries of recent research in music education. Other subject areas include: vocal and instrumental teaching, teacher education, and supplementary sound files available on the Cambridge Journals Online website.
  • Children’s Music Workshop has published method books for school bands and orchestras. The books progress sequentially and include instrumental music for string, brass, and woodwind players.
  • ClassicalNet provides titles and descriptions of books in the area of music education, including biographies, developing rhythmic skills, and teaching materials. An index of composers allows you to learn biographical information and recommended recordings.
  • Dalcroze Library at Ohio State University maintains a collection of documents, letters, photographs, and books by Jacques Dalcroze, the founder of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. This method has been utilized not only in music and the performing arts, but also for those with disabilities and the terminally ill.
  • Essentials of Music offers a library of recorded music as well as composers’ biographies and a glossary of musical terms.
  • Instrument Encyclopedia contains electronic entries of over 140 instruments with accompanying sound files.
  • Music Education Search System includes over 19,000 entries from music journals. Search for titles through the index.
  • National Association for Music Education (MENC) lists over 100 titles of its published books. Categories include teaching for band, orchestra, and chorus as well as topics related to music education and multicultural music.
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offers free downloads of Arts Education Publications on a range of topics such as grants, after-school arts activities, and its collaboration with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Hard copies may be ordered upon request.
  • Playing Less Hurt by author and cellist Janet Horvath teaches musicians about injury prevention caused by awkward postures, repetitive actions, and performance anxiety.
  • Strings Magazine includes articles usually written by musicians that offer insight into specific issues such as repetitive strain injury or injury prevention which affect many performers.

Sheet Music

  • G. Schirmer, Inc. offers instrumental scores and parts as well as a digital library for registered users. Rental music is also available.
  • J.W. Pepper features sheet music for choirs, bands, orchestras, and jazz ensembles. Some musical selections may be downloaded directly from the website or visit one of their brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Luck’s Music Library has been a staple for educators in search of instrumental scores and parts published by Hal Leonard, Good Music, Carl Fisher, and many others. Luck’s rental library includes over 4,000 compositions.
  • SheetMusicPlus boasts the world’s largest selection of sheet music with scores and parts for school ensembles as well as carrying genres of classical, rock, jazz, and pop music.

Software for Teachers and Students

  • Harmonic Vision offers Educator editions of its Music Ace products that follow the National Standards for Music Education. Along with music theory games and lesson activities, music educators also receive a hard-copy collection containing user information and templates of student progress sheets and award certificates.
  • features innovative software for developing note reading skills.
  • SmartMusic is a music-learning software for teachers (and students) of band, orchestra, and voice. Its key features include: a repertoire library, recording capability to gain feedback, and assessment of correct and incorrect notes played. Demonstration videos on the website feature Wynton Marsalis.

Special Education Resources

  • LD online offers instructional strategies and addresses issues for educators teaching students who have a disability, particularly attention deficit-related disorders. Seek out advice or respond to other educators’ questions on a forum.
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America includes full articles on types of learning disabilities, strategies for teaching students with learning disabilities, and much more.

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