Store Makeover and Giveaway

This summer, I've been VERY busy making over my entire store! Today, I'm sharing highlights of products I've updated, and also giving details about my 4,000 follower giveaway!

Store Makeover and Giveaway: Includes info about how to find revised products on TpT, and a giveaway of music education products!


I was motivated to make over my whole store for a number of reasons:
  • To make worksheets more printer-friendly (so less ink!)
  • To align all of my lessons with the NCCAS standards
  • To convert some of the SMART notebook files to PDF's, so more people can access them (although I just learned that you can open up SMART notebook files without having the software by opening them up at express.smarttech.com!)
  • To add some files and activities to some of the sets (in other words, to make the sets even more helpful!)
If you've bought any set from me that included worksheets, included standards, or included SMART notebook files, you may have revisions you can re-upload for free! Here is a video tutorial I made last year to show you how to check for revisions (as well as a few other tips about navigating on TpT!)


One of my most time-consuming revisions was of all of my "I Can" sets. Because the NCCAS standards came out, I had to re-do the checklist within each set to be aligned with the new standards. I also added several standards to each grade-level set so that all of the standards were represented. (And I also added a new border, to make it prettier!) Check out my bundled set by clicking on the picture below:

"I can" music statements bundled set: One of many revised products in Aileen Miracle's store! If you've already purchased, go to "my purchases" and re-download!

Another one of my favorite revisions was to "Songs and Activities to Teach Re." For this set, I added slideshows for "Hot Cross Buns" and "Let us chase the squirrel," made some of the worksheets more printer-friendly and added borders, and aligned the presentation lesson to NCCAS. Check it out by clicking the picture below:

Songs and Activities to teach re: One of many revised products in Aileen Miracle's store! If you've already purchased, go to "my purchases" and re-download!

I know no one is ready to think about Christmas right now, but I'm pretty excited about the revisions to my "Christmas around the world" set! I updated several of the YouTube links to connect to performances more representative of each culture. I also changed the fonts and design a bit. Here is the set:

Christmas around the world:  One of many revised products in Aileen Miracle's store! If you've already purchased, go to "my purchases" and re-download!

Make sure to check out the "my purchases" tab on TpT, to see if any of the products you've purchased have been revised. Many sellers continually improve their work, so you may find some other revisions you weren't expecting to see!

To celebrate my huge store makeover as well as reaching 4,000 followers on TpT, I am teaming up with some music friends to offer a giveaway! Each prize will contain a bundle of back-to-school goodies as well as a credit to my store. The goodies are listed below; you can click each link to see each of the products (and follow each store while you're there!)

"Beat Strips" 
from Amy Abbott

"Off to the races {August-December planning}"
from Lindsay Jervis


"EGBDF Stories" 
from David Row at Make Moments Matter

"Music Listening Worksheet Bundle" 
from Cori Bloom

"Music Worksheets: Treble/ Bass, Line/ Space, High/ Low" 
from Music with Sara Bibee

"What's cooking in music" bulletin board 
from Tracy King/ The Bulletin Board Lady

"Classroom Instrument Flipbook"
from Jena Hudson at Sew Much Music

"Back to School Write the Room {Bundled Set}"
from Karla at C Major Learning

The prizes will be:
1st place: The bundle of BTS goodies and a $50 credit to my store
2nd place: The bundle of BTS goodies and a $25 credit to my store
3rd place: The bundle of BTS goodies and a $15 credit to my store

You get one entry for each of the following:
  • Following me on TpT
  • Visiting my Facebook page
  • Subscribing to my YouTube channel
  • Following me on Pinterest
  • Visiting "my purchases," and downloading any revised products you see!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll leave the giveaway open until Thursday at 3 p.m., and then will announce the winners shortly thereafter. Good luck!




Ten tips for new music teachers

Today I'm writing with advice for those teachers who are new to music education. I remember how nervous I was to start my first teaching job, so here's some advice for those of you just starting out teaching, and/or starting at a new school. Although some of the tips are specific to music education, many of them could apply to any teacher!

Tips for new music teachers: Perfect read with great advice for teachers new to music education or education in general!


#1: Have flexible expectations
As you're thinking about what your teaching situation will be like, it's easy to idealize that vision, to think that you know exactly what it will be like. But the thing is, you don't. No matter how much you've learned about the district, the former music teacher, the principal, etc., there will be something with this job that will be a surprise. There will be something that you will be asked to do that you didn't realize was part of the job. Try to have your expectations be flexible, because as a music teacher, it is so important to adapt to challenges and situations as they arise!

#2: Remember to smile
When I'm stressed out, I forget to smile. I'm so focused on whatever I'm stressed out about, I have to remind myself to smile. Teaching is sometimes a bit of an act, so even when you're stressed out or depressed, you may have to have a little voice in your head, reminding yourself to smile at the kids and act much happier or relaxed than you actually are! This tip also refers to smiling at adults. My second year of teaching, a colleague told me that the office staff thought I was unhappy. I wasn't unhappy, I was just stressed out, and so I was forgetting to smile...and then giving off the vibe to everyone around me that I was miserable. You may need to remind yourself to smile at adults too, even when you have 17,000 thoughts in your head all at the same time, or it's the day of your first concert and your stomach is in knots.

#3: Listen
I've noticed that sometimes new teachers feel a need to prove themselves...so they talk a lot. I do understand the need to prove yourself, to show everyone that just because you're a first year teacher doesn't mean you know nothing. However, I do feel it's important that you listen more than you talk. The staff around you have been here for longer than you. Listen to how they interact with each other. Listen to what your principal says. Listen to the way the kids interact with each other. If someone asks you a question, of course, answer it, but try to listen more than you talk. You will learn SO much!

#4: Ask questions
I'm always shocked when a student teacher or first year teacher has absolutely no questions. I think it's related to what I said above, that they feel a need to prove themselves, and are worried that if they ask questions they will look like they don't know what they're doing. But you won't. You will look like a teacher trying to learn. There is so much to learn that first year--content, what the kids have learned before you were there,  school routine, behavior management, district protocol, how to fill out forms when you're sick, what you're expected to leave for a sub...the list could go on and on! Ask lots of questions. As long as you're not asking really obvious questions or questions you've asked repeatedly before, everyone will think it's completely natural and understandable for you to ask lots of questions!

#5: Use ideas and resources of others
There is absolutely no shame in using something that someone has handed to you, or that you've downloaded from TpT, or that you learned about from a workshop, because those are tried and true resources that have been proven to work! While you may have created some really awesome games and activities during your student teaching, you may be lacking in your teacher toolbox. So use other people's ideas! I have gone to SO many workshops and conferences in my career, but even after 17 years of teaching, I always walk away with so many ideas. If you're looking for Kodaly or Orff chapters in your area who hold workshops, check out the OAKE website and/or the AOSA website.

As far as  resources go, I still buy plenty from West Music, and even though I have my own store of music education resources, I still buy products and download freebies on TpT, because I love seeing other people's perspectives and trying something new. (If you've already started downloading and are getting overwhelmed with how to organize all of your digital resources, see this blog post.)

#6: Get a lesson planning system
Whether you decide to write one lesson every day, or all lessons on the weekend, deciding on a system is really helpful to keep you in a routine. My first few years, I always wrote lessons on the weekends, but the last couple of years, I write two lessons a day, during my planning and/or after school. Then on the last day of my rotation (I am on an ABCDE rotation), I have all of my lessonss written, so I get all of my materials ready for A day. Deciding on and sticking to a routine has really helped me! For more thoughts about when to lesson plan, see this blog post. For more thoughts about how to lesson plan, see this video tutorial.

#7: Plan ahead
I didn't really understand how to long-range plan until I took my Kodaly training, and then I was hooked. When long-range planning, you are looking at your entire year, your standards, your curriculum, etc., and figuring out what you want to teach when (like a scope and sequence.) To better understand how to write a year plan, see this video tutorial. To better understand how to write song lists, see this video tutorial. It is SO helpful to know what you want to teach, when, and which songs and activities you are going to use!

#8: Firm + positive
As a first year teacher, I struggled with being firm with students when managing behavior. I worried they wouldn't like me or wouldn't like my class. Over the years, though, I have refined my balance of firm yet positive demeanor. When dealing with a difficult situation, you do need to be firm, but you can do so in a loving, calm way. I think many new teachers either tend to not deal with a situation out of fear or anxiety, or they let their frustration take over and yell. There is a delicate balance between the two. Even when I've been pretty firm and I worry that a child will be upset, I often get hugs either from that student or other students, because I've disciplined in a caring way. They need that structure, and they need to know that even if they make mistakes, you will still love them. For more advice and suggestions for how to do this, I highly recommend this book:


#9: Don't be afraid to try something new
It can be easy as a first year teacher to only stick to what you know, for fear of a lesson failing. Don't be afraid to fail. Even as a veteran teacher, I've had things fail, but I'd rather try it out, have it fail, and learn from the experience so I know how to teach it well, than not try at all!
Think through each step of your lesson. Teach the lesson to your spouse or to the mirror. If it still fails, think about why it failed and what could be done better (and don't be afraid to ask the students what they didn't understand! They can teach you!)

#10: Know that things will get easier
The first year is tough. On the first day of teaching, after teaching the same very rambunctious Kindergarten class twice in one day for forty minutes each time (I'm not kidding), I thought to myself, "Maybe I didn't pick the right profession." However, the second day was easier. Each day after that, then each year after that, got progressively easier.  I won't say it's ever totally easy, but it gets easier.
There will come a day when you will be teaching, and you'll think to yourself, "I get paid to do this?" There will come a day when you will smile--not because you're reminding yourself to smile, but because you mean it.
And those days make it all worth it.

Good luck on your first year! For more thoughts on my first year, see this blog post. For more advice for new music teachers, see this blog post by Tracy King. If you are a veteran teacher and have any advice, please leave it below!
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Guest Post: 7 Great educational apps to occupy your children this summer


Hi everyone! I'm excited to have Caroline from Culture Coverage guest post for me today! Caroline will be writing about 7 great educational apps to occupy your children this summer. Make sure to check out Caroline's bio at the end of the post.

7 great educational apps for your child this summer: Comprehensive list for any parent and/or teacher!
Image: Shutterstock

The Summer Slide is a well-documented phenomenon, researched by everyone from the University of Missouri to Johns Hopkins University, that puts students who continue their studies throughout the summer as a huge indicator on whether they will continue the college prep track.

So for parents eager to see their child graduate college, it’s time to get to work.

While summer booklets can be an excellent way to engage the kids in all their subjects outside of school, it is a little bit dated when everyone is digging their laptops and tablets, so why not adjust to fit the times and engage the kids with technology?

From geography to math, reading to science, these seven apps are the perfect picks for various age groups to keep the brain juices flowing while they’re out on holiday. So strap up and get to downloading!

1. The Magic School Bus: Oceans by Scholastic

The Magic School Bus was a favorite of mine growing up, and the Magic School Bus: Oceans will be a favorite app for your kiddo. Winner of multiple awards, The Magic School Bus: Oceans is an interactive story app that allows your kids to experience the wonderful underwater ecosystems in a comic-book style format that includes games, science, videos and more. For the reluctant summer reader, this app will provide hours of fun and learning.

Available on iTunes. $3.99.

2. Stack the States

Stack the States is for those geography-friendly young gurus who can't get enough of American maps. Whether you're going on a cross-country road trip or just want to help your kid brush up on the states, regions, and capitals, Stack the States helps children become more informed about where everything is in the U.S., which ultimately results in a more well-rounded kid. And who wouldn't be interested in that? Stack the States to reach new benchmarks and complete levels—it's fun for any age!

Available on iTunes. $2.99

3. ClueFinders

With grade-specific curriculum, kids can explore the fun and games of the ClueFinders while brushing up on their logical thinking, mathematics, science, geography, social science and language arts skills. While these apps aren't free, they're worth the expense as your kids will be able to explore a storyline that feels like a video game but is chock full of activities that will engage their cognitive skills and keep them learning throughout the long summer break.

Available on iTunes. $14.99.

4. Winky Think Logic Puzzles

Perfect for ages six to eight, Winky Think Logic Puzzles will thrill your kids for hours by engaging their memory skills as well as their problem-solving abilities. With 180 logic problems to choose from, obstacles, mazes and interactive gaming potential, these games will improve your child's reasoning and quantitative reasoning abilities, all great things observed by Common Core Learning standards.

Available on iTunes. $2.99.


5. Pixie

Pixie is a new and improved way to help your kids explore and share what they know. Perfect for creating book reports or even their own documentaries, Pixie utilizes literary, artistic and recording options to provide a multi-dimensional platform for your kids to express their creativity and knowledge. Utilized in many tech savvy classrooms, paired with a competitive reading schedule this app can boost your child's analyzing and interpreting skills—two things that will definitely pay off!

Available on iTunes. $9.99.


6. Epic!

This unlimited library app comes with over 15,000 titles for kids aged 12 and under for $4.99 a month and is worth every penny for helping your kids keep up with reading goals. From Charlie Brown to Goosebumps, Epic! includes tracking and achievement benchmarks, as well as read-to-me options and up to four individual users per account. Great for the whole family and perfect for keeping track of the 20 minutes a day standard.

Available on iTunes. Free to download, $4.99 for the monthly subscription.


7. Thinking Blocks Multiplication

This app excels at helping kids get over any hesitation they have about mathematical word problems. Through number blocks, kids can break down the different parts of mathematical equations, which Common Core standards say is the perfect approach for getting the visualization of word problems down pat. For kids that struggle with the train questions, this app is ideal for putting them ahead of the game.

Available on iTunes. Free.


Learning during a time when kids are supposed to be running around, exploring playtime and getting plenty of outdoorsy ailments, such as a sunburn and bug bites, can be something of a difficult task. But employing apps such as these a few hours every day can significantly increase your child’s ability to pick up their school work once September comes back around. And with apps, they can even do it on the ride to Disney World. What else can you do in a car ride for that long?

For those of you going abroad this summer, try downloading before takeoff to allow your kids to enjoy on the plane ride sans hours of movies, but be sure to install a VPN like ExpressVPN as well to make sure geo-locators don’t halt any learning progress while abroad.

Until next time...happy learning and bon voyage!

About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment and technology blogger with a passion for lifelong learning. She hopes these apps will help you teach your children how to maintain a passion for learning even during the summer months.

Five favorite pins of June

Hi everyone! It is time for my five favorite pins of June!


5 favorite music education pins of June, including Twitter tips, flexible seating, and more!

If you are a teacher blogger, feel free to join the party! Directions are at the end of the post. Here are my five favorite pins this month. To see the pin, click each picture.


#1: So you have a Twitter account, now what?

Twitter can be a bit confusing...I remember when I first signed up for an account, I was a bit puzzled where to start. This blog post has some great suggestions for getting started! (And see this blog post for more tips!)

#2: Student Center
This pin led to a blog post with lots of great classroom setup ideas, but the picture in the pin is the one which got my attention. I LOVE the idea of having one place in the room where students can hand in work, get work, get pencils, etc. Right now, I have an area that is kind of spread out, so I am going to think about how to implement one central location in my music room!

#3: Flexible Seating

I am hoping to do some flexible seating in my classroom this year, in which students can choose a place to sit that works for them and their learning style. I will definitely be blogging more about this later, but I found this pin a great place to start (and I had never seen the chairs shown in the picture...will be looking into buying some!)

#4: What Specialists Wish You Knew
This blog post had some GREAT insights into being a specials teacher (written by someone who used to be a classroom teacher). Although I do make a point to learn all of the students' names (see this blog post about that topic), the rest of the points she makes really resonated with me. 

#5: Instrument Storage

I love this blog post by Patti Anderson, with some really practical ways to store instruments! From hand drums, to recorders, to ukuleles, she has lots of great suggestions for storing the instruments so they are out and ready to use!

There are my five pins! If you'd like to see more pins like this, make sure to follow me on Pinterest. If you'd like to share your five favorite pins, here are the directions:
  • Save the "Five Favorite Pins of June" graphic to your computer, and include it in your blog with a link to this blog entry.
  • Blog about your five favorite pins. Include pictures with links when possible.
  • Submit your information by clicking on the button below.

Singing games in the music room

Today, I'm blogging about singing games in the music room. I know, it's summer, and you probably aren't thinking much about singing games OR your music room, but here are some ideas to consider about using singing games, keeping track of turns, and more, as you plan your next school year!

Looking for tips for use singing games in your music classroom? This blog post has great ideas for implementing games, keeping track of turns during your lessons, and more!
First of all, why should you use singing games in your music room? I am Kodály-trained, so singing games were a big part of my pedagogy training. Here are my main reasons for planning singing games in my lessons:
  • Singing games are FUN and students enjoy them. 
  • They provide a relaxation aspect to the lesson, especially after students have done something concentrated, like rhythmic dictation or writing on the staff. 
  • Singing games also allow students to connect to their cultural heritage, as well as the cultures of others. 
Over the years, I've learned a bit about how to use singing games best in my classroom. Here are five tips:

#1: Leave them wanting more
This is probably the best piece of advice I've received about games, and it was from my Kodály Level I instructor, Julie Swank. Previous to level I, I would play a game until EVERYONE had a turn...you know, to be fair. But what ends up happening is that the game drags on for SO long that most of the kids are bored by the end. You never want them to feel bored! So leave them wanting more. Play the game 3-5 times, and move on. Will you hear complaints that they didn't get a turn? Yes. Will they want to play it next class because of that? Yes.

#2: Reward them 
That being said, sometimes, when I have a few extra minutes at the end of class, and the class has been well-behaved, we play that game again, the one they were disappointed that it was cut short! Mrs. Macaroni is a huge favorite with first grade, one that they beg to play if we have time, and of course there are many others kids just LOVE to play! Another option is a reward day, which I've written about here. This gives them an opportunity to play games JUST to play!

#3: It's okay to run
There are lots of running games, which are SO fun to play, but I've heard music teachers here and there say that they don't let their kids run. Now, you may not have a room conducive to running, so fast walking it is. But if you do have a big room, as long as you make sure there aren't music stands or instruments in the way, I personally think it is totally fine to have them run. Have I ever had a kid get hurt? A few times. (Actually, I've had a kid get a bloody nose from "Our Old Sow" simply from changing the directions of his arms, not from running!) But do kids get hurt at recess? Of course they do! Should we stop them from running at recess? Please, no.
That's my take on it. I've taught for 17 years, and nothing bad has happened from kids running in my room. And they've had FUN!
Now, if you are still hesitant, and/or you don't have a huge room, you could take my friend Andrew Ellingsen's advice and have them run on their heels. It stops them from running full-speed and is still a fun challenge! (And if you've never seen Andrew present, you really should...he is AMAZING!)

#4: Teach them more than one version
You know how there are often seventeen different games for one song? Well, that might be an exaggeration, but there are easily 2-3 for most singing games I know. I have typically just decided which one game I like and taught it to the students, but in the past year or two, I have at times taught students more than one version. It's fun for them to see there is more than one thing we can do with any given song, and then once they know more than one version, they can vote on which they'd like to play! It's an easy way to allow students to choose, and it broadens their horizons a bit!

For example, for the song "Dinah," I know three games:

Dinah: Three different ways to play the singing game in your music classroom!

The lyrics are:
No one's in the house but Dinah, Dinah, no one's in the house but me I know.
No one's in the house but Dinah, Dinah, strummin' on the old banjo.
Dinah, Dinah, no one's in the house but me I know.
Dinah, Dinah, strummin' on the old banjo.

For the first game, students stand in a circle. One student goes in the middle and closes his/her eyes. The teacher makes a gap in the circle between two kids, then turns the kid in the middle around three times. Then "it" has to look for the gap while everyone sings--but his/her eyes have to stay closed, and they can't use their sense of touch. (They have to use their sense of hearing instead!) Kids HAVE to sing for this game, because if they don't, the person who is "it" might think they are the gap!

The second version is very similar to the first, except there isn't a gap. Instead, a second child is chosen to sing a solo on "Dinah, Dinah." The first child, with his/her eyes closed, has to figure out where the soloist is by using his/her sense of hearing. The second student can try running away, but has to stay within the circle. So fun!

The third version is really more of a dance than a game. Students stand in a circle, and do the following motions as they sing:
Step close  x 3, pat x 3.
Step close x 3, clap x 3.
Step close x 3, snap x 3.
Step close x 3, pat/ clap/ snap.

You can put students in an inner circle and outer circle, and have students do in opposite directions!

#5: Keep track of who has had a turn
In the past, I have simply chosen students each class to be "it." I've asked them to only raise their hands if they haven't had a turn, but inevitably,  a.) a student doesn't remember, b.) a student does remember, but chooses to raise their hand anyway, and/or c.) another student yells out, "He had a turn!"
This past year, I decided to try something different. I bought an interactive attendance set by Pink Cat Studio, and used it for keeping track of turns for singing games. I was going to write out a whole explanation of how I did this, but decided to make a video instead, so you can see how cool this set is! Here is the video:


Since I'm doing a monster theme in my classroom this year, I started off buying just the monster set, but have since bought the bundle. It's so fun, and a great way to keep track of turns!

If you're looking for singing game resources, I'm including some here. My favorites are those that give historical background to each song, and they include:

          

          

Click each picture to view the resources at West Music.

What are your tips for using singing games? Feel free to comment below, and have FUN!

Three Summer Goals

I hope everyone has had a good start to your summer (or, if you're still in school, I hope your school year is wrapping up nicely!) Today, I'm blogging about three goals I have this summer. If you are a blogger, see the directions at the end of this post for linking up to write about your three goals. Here goes:



#1: Focus on family
Just as I blogged about last summer, my goal for this summer is to really focus on my family, which includes my husband Scott, my 12-year-old daughter Jenna, and my almost 4 year-old daughter Macy. I'm hoping for campfires in our yard, time going for walks or playing Wii, trips to the park, and maybe a mini-vacation! As I've written about before, Macy has had some delays with her development; she has Sensory Processing Disorder, is speech delayed, and has motor planning issues. (I didn't talk until I was five, and after learning about SPD and motor planning, I think I actually have some of the same issues!) She has shown TONS of improvement in just the first few weeks of summer, so we are hopeful that all this time with her will really help! It will be nice to have time to just sit, relax, and enjoy the company of my family!

#2: Revise my whole store
I've been selling on TpT since 2012, and I've learned a LOT since then, so there are tons of products that I would like to go back and revise! So far, I've made it through four pages of my store. For some of the products, I've only changed the cover, but for most of them, I have changed more than that--perhaps adding printer-friendly worksheets, adding games, aligning lessons to the NCCAS standards, etc. I will blog later this summer once I've done more revisions, to highlight the biggest changes, but if you go to "my purchases," then "recently revised," you might find a few products that have been revised! You can then just re-download and enjoy the updates!

#3: Learn to play the ukulele
My husband bought me a ukulele a couple Christmases ago, and I still haven't figured out how to play it. So this summer, I'm determined I will! Even if I become comfortable with a few common chords so that I can accompany my singing or my students' singing, the time spent would be worth it! I found a book called 21 songs in 6 days, which includes video tutorials, and I've enjoyed it so far. You can purchase it by clicking below:


I also purchased the Rainbow Ukulele Teacher Pack by Shelley at Pitch Publications, and am going to use that to  practice as well!

I'd love to hear about your goals this summer! Feel free to comment below, and if you're a blogger, I'd love for you to link up! To add your link, write about your three goals, use the "Three Summer Goals" picture in your blog post with a link back to my post, and then submit your information by clicking the button below. Thanks, and Happy Summer!





Ten favorite music iPad apps

Three years ago, I bought my first iPad, and two years ago, I was lucky enough to receive a grant for 8 iPad minis in my music classroom. Since using iPads in my classroom, I have come across TONS of different music apps, both free and paid. Today, I'm blogging about my 10 favorite iPad music apps! I've listed a price next to each app, and have linked all of the apps to the app store. I've also tried to list a variety of apps--some that only you would use on your own iPad, some that you could use on one iPad at a center, and some that could be used in groups with several iPads. Here is my list:

10 favorite music apps: Great apps for your music classroom, whether you have 1 iPad or 25!

#1: GarageBand, $4.99 (Free with some iPads)
My all-time favorite music app is GarageBand. It is SUCH an amazing app, allowing students to create and compose on instruments such as the guitar and piano without knowing how to play those instruments. It also allows students to layer loops, which are like ostinati, and students can also record their own voices and instrumental playing. There is SO much you can do with this app; the possibilities are endless! My favorite project to do with GarageBand is by Music and Technology, and can be purchased here. I've done the project with success for two years in a row with my fifth graders, and it's such a great way to practice form and to use the app successfully!

#2: Arpie, Free
This app is one of my students' all-time favorites. The idea is simple: it's like dropping tennis balls onto piano keys to create music. Check out this video for a sample:


Students from 1st grade on really seem to love this app! Like GarageBand, it allows them to create music without knowing how to play an instrument. Students can make choices to change their composition (and many of my students love to fill the screen with the balls!)

#3: QR Code Reader, Free
This is not technically a music app, but SO much can be done with a QR reader app! From visiting websites to listening to sound clips, scanning a QR code allows students to visit, listen, and read quickly without having to plug in any address into the browser bar. Read this blog post about how to create and use QR codes in the music room.

#4: MadPad HD, $2.99
If you've ever watched and enjoyed "Stomp," you will totally appreciate MadPad HD. There are several themed sets students can use to create, such as car-themed, coffeehouse-themed, piano-themed, and more! Students can experiment with the different sounds, compose patterns with each set, record their patterns, and then even create their own sets! (Which, I will warn you, is very chaotic but VERY fun!) Here is a video sample of MadPad HD, using sounds at the hardware store (totally makes me want to visit Lowe's with my iPad!):



If you're looking for projects to do with MadPad HD, check out this set:



#5: Staff Wars, $0.99
There are quite a few staff note reading iPad apps, but my all-time favorite is Staff Wars. This app allows you to just choose lines, just spaces, lines and spaces, extended staff, and all for treble clef, bass clef, OR alto clef! Students choose whichever note they think is correct, and the ship "shoots" the note down. With Star Wars being so popular nowadays, kids LOVE this app. I have seen my students' speed at naming notes increase so much by using this app. In fact, I had one student who, after struggling all year with note reading, beamed proudly at me after playing Staff Wars and exclaimed, "I'm doing so much better!" (And he was!)
So yes, this app is awesome! You can also play it on computer by visiting this website.

This is such a fun app for exploring instruments and instrument families! The app includes sections to explore, to take quizzes, build your own variation, and more! I've had students work in small groups, start in the quiz section, and then go to whichever section they'd like next.

#7: Plickers, Free
I found out about this app on Pinterest a few years ago, and was just blown away! This is a free app that can be used to take assessments, with student data specifically assigned to each student! The app works best with an iPhone or Android (instead of an iPad)...simply scan the room for students' choices on their Plickers cards, and the app will track their answers. So awesome! Read this blog post about my experience with the app, and this blog post for Jamie Parker's ideas for the app.

#8: Toca Band, Free
Admittedly, I have only watched my three-year-old play this app, but I think there are tons of really cool things that elementary students can do with this app (and my twelve-year-old seems to love it as much as my youngest!) If you drag one of the characters to the first level of the stage, he/she plays/ sings a simple melody. If you drag them to the second level, the melody becomes a bit more complex, and if you drag them to the third level, they add something, like dancing or juggling, to their melody! If you drag a character to center stage, then you get to make that character play/ sing whenever you want by tapping him/her! It's a great way to reinforce the idea of ostinato, as the character's melody keeps looping.

#9: Instagram, Free
Perhaps you've only used Instagram for personal purposes, but it can be a GREAT app for professional development as well! If you search a hashtag such as #iamamusicteacher, #musicteacherlife, #musicteacherproblems, #generalmusic, #iteachmusic, #kodaly, and/or #orffposse, you can find lots of great pictures and share ideas with lots of other music teachers! Click here to see a great picture book suggestion by @lizskodalyinspiredmusicroom, and here to see a fun bulletin board by David Row @makemomentsmattermusiced.  I just posted this picture on my Instagram recently with ideas my first graders came up with for their reward day; click through to see the comments about where to find the songs!


...And here is a picture I posted of a new way I learned to keep mallets handy on Orff instruments!


Many music teachers also post short videos of their classroom, which can be a great way to learn a new song, new dance, etc.!

#10: Powerteacher, iDoceo, and/or TeacherKit
I'm listing these three apps all as #10, because they are all very similar apps, and you'll want to choose one depending on your situation. I use Powerteacher and LOVE it, as it shows me students' pictures, tracks student grades, allows me to create assignments in a grade book that is then pushed to students' report cards...but it only works if your district is using Powerteacher district-wide. iDoceo is another great grade book app, allowing you to create grades, schedules, seating charts, and more, but it does cost $10.99, which is a bit pricey. (Many people swear by it, though!) TeacherKit is another good grade book app. Although not as powerful as iDoceo, it is free!

Looking for more iPad apps? For a comprehensive list of free iPad music apps, check out this blog post, and download this freebie I compiled that has some of these apps, as well as other apps I love to use!

What are your favorite music apps? Feel free to comment below, and enjoy the apps!