20 December, 2016
Choir Songs for Christmas

Choir Songs for Christmas


This past week, my choir performed their holiday concert, and it got me thinking about my favorite songs for this time of year, as well as songs I'd like to perform next year. Today, I'm teaming up with my friend Amy Abbott at Music a la Abbott to blog about our favorite Christmas choir songs as well as ones we'd like to do for next year!

Choir songs for Christmas: Great unison, two-part, and three-part songs for your choir!

A couple notes:

My choir consists of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Many of these pieces could also work for middle school.

Many of the titles are linked to the octavos on JW Pepper or other sites; simply click to view!

#1: Christmas is coming
This is one of my favorites for this time of year. It's an English folk song that works well as a round. I've heard a few different versions of it, but this is the one I use:

Choir songs for Christmas: Great unison, two-part, and three-part songs for your choir!


You could also have one part of the choir sing "God bless you" on mi-re-do as an ostinato.

#2: "Minka" arr. by Jill Ann Jones
This is one of my all-time favorites for Christmas! It's a 2-part song that is pretty accessible, as you teach the first part, then you teach the second part, and then you have one half of the choir sing one part as the other half of the choir sings the second part! The piano part is also really fun to play. It's a wonderful addition to any holiday concert.
16 December, 2016
Holiday gift guide for music teachers

Holiday gift guide for music teachers


Are you looking for gift ideas for a loved one who is a music teacher? Or are you a music teacher trying to find gift ideas to give your family? I'm teaming up with my friend Amy Abbott, to blog about great gift ideas for any music teacher!

Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Holiday Gift Guide for Music Teachers: Great list of items to purchase as a music teacher, or to buy for your favorite music teacher!

Echo Dot
I was super excited when my husband bought me the Echo for my birthday in late November. I hadn't asked for it and didn't even know what it was, but now, I'm hooked!
The idea of the Echo is that you can play music wirelessly just by asking. It will play genres of music ("Alexa, play classical music," or "Alexa, play holiday classics") and it will play specific songs. For some songs, you do need a monthly membership to Amazon music, which is $3.99, but there are lots of songs that it will play without that membership. You can also ask Alexa to add things to your to do list, ask her for the weather, ask for the items on your calendar for that day, and more!
It hadn't even occurred to me to use one in my classroom until I saw this post in the Feierabend Fundamentals Facebook group. And then I realized...you could simply say, "Alexa, play 'Chimes of Dunkirk'" and it will play! How awesome is that? You can also connect it to your computer or iPad though Bluetooth. I just ordered one for my classroom; as I write this, it's on sale for $39.99, so I couldn't resist!



08 December, 2016
Five easy (and free!) sub plans for the music classroom

Five easy (and free!) sub plans for the music classroom





We've all heard the adage, "It's easier to come to school sick than to write sub plans." Many of you, like me, have spent hours upon hours working just on one day of sub plans, so it IS often easier to come to school sick than worry about it.

A few years ago, though, I finally got my sub tub in order (read more about my sub tub here), and figuring out sub plans began taking 10 minutes instead of 2 hours! Since then, I've become passionate about figuring out ideas that would have students making music, have subs feel comfortable teaching, and allow me to not spend tons of time preparing!

Here are some ideas for quick and easy sub plans to leave for your sub. Make sure to scroll to the end of the post, to sign up for my email list and receive editable Word documents to edit and adapt the sub plans for your own music lessons (as well as a bonus file)!

5 easy (and free!) sub plans for the music room: Includes great ideas for sub plans, as well as a way to download the sub plans as an editable Word document!


#1: The rhythm trainer
This website is a wonderful way to practice dictation and audiation skills! On the first page, you'll see this:


You could have your sub choose A if students will dictate rhythm patterns (onto the SMART board, or on a computer projected onto a LCD projector) or B if students will choose from multiple choice patterns. Then, students or the sub can choose a tempo. Lastly, you can leave notes for your sub with which rhythms to choose from, which can be adapted depending on the grade level! So if your first graders only know ta and ti-ti, or quarter and eighth notes, then you can have the sub only choose the first two rhythms, like shown above.

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