Teaching Tip - Year Plans

It’s summer!  Finally!  So why is Denise sending newsletters in the summer???  The next newsletters will be on year plans, month outlines, weekly lesson plans and sub plans.  For my American friends who start school in early August, July might be the time that you’re getting your planning done.  And for my Canadian teachers who start later, (and for our Australians who are still mid-year) save this information for later.
Lesson planning begins with your curriculum.  You need to know the outcomes that you’re expected to achieve by the end of the school year.  For me, I’ve put the skills/concepts into a scope and sequence that shows which grade a particular concept or skill is introduced in.  In the Musicplay scope and sequence, ex stands for experience.    The Scope and Sequence for Rhythm is given below. 

(The full scope and sequence for Musicplay is found in the Musicplay Teacher’s guides, or can be downloaded from the Lesson Planning Section at
The Lesson Planning section is found on the left menu of your computer screen.  There is a wealth of material there to help you with your planning!
In kindergarten children will learn that music moves to a steady beat.  They'll experience the difference between beat and rhythm.  They'll experience that there are strong and weak beats, and they'll experience that beats can be grouped in 2s, 3s or 4s.  The stars in grade 1 indicate that the children will learn all of those concepts.
Your scope and sequence may differ from this, but this is a great starting point - download and print from (Lesson Planning Section) and then highlight the skills you have in your district or state document.

Denise has created a scope and sequence with songs that teach the concept that is available online in the lesson planning section.  This is just a small part of the Beat and Rhythm Sequence with songs to teach the concept.

When you are in a situation with older students who haven’t mastered concepts from earlier grades, you have to teach those basic concepts before moving on.
Musicplay is a spiralling curricuum, and there is review of basic concepts in every grade.  So, basic concepts such as beat/rhythm are reviewed/taught in every grade level.  Ta and Ti-ti (quarter and 8th note rhythms) are reviewed/taught in each grade - but with age appropriate games/activities.
Note:  There are ta and ti-ti songs in every grade to use to teach/review/assess beat and rhythm.


So, once you’ve decided on a realistic sequence of concepts/skills that you can do with your students, chart the months and decide when you can teach them, and use the song list to decide on the songs you’ll use to teach those concepts.  The Musicplay Grade 1 Year plan is shown below.  You can download these from the Lesson Planning section and  adapt this for your own use.


Download the Year outlines at
Remember that you are never expected to teach every song in Musicplay.  Musicplay is a menu that you choose from: 
1.  Choose the song/singing game for your lesson that best teaches the concept you want to teach.
2.  Choose the activity or activities that you want to do with that song.
3.  Choose extension songs or activities that your students will love!
It's our mission to make your job easier!
Please share your lesson planning documents as files that you can upload to the Musicplay Teachers Facebook Group!
Other teachers LOVE to see how you are using Musicplay.

This week, Denise walks you through the overview section of setting up your lesson plans for the year. This also inlcudes scopes and sequences for each grade, songs lists for grade PreK to 5, and more details for your Year Plans!

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Teaching Tip - Monthly Outlines and Weekly Lessons

This is the time of year when teachers are looking for new ideas and fun approaches to teaching music in the classroom. That’s why Denise wants to bring in her decades of experience to help you with planning out your yearly, monthly, and even weekly plans! In this video, she goes over where on MusicplayOnline to find these Lesson Plans, and how to best optimize them for your music classes!

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Ukulele Resources on MusicplayOnline:

Did you know Musicplay Online has resources to teach ukulele? This week on the blog and newsletter, we will share with you what is available online and in our print resources for ukulele.  

Introduction Video

Here is a short introduction to the ukulele. It includes the history, explains the different types and sizes of ukulele, the parts of the ukulele, playing position, how to read chord charts, and how to strum. 



Three different tuners are available.   


Projectable Materials and Recordings 

The Easy Ukulele Song book is available for you to project in your classroom in both C and D tuning (32 songs in each section).  Click the tabs at the top of the ukulele section in the website.  There are also links to POP SONGS in both C and D tuning. 


Printable Chord Chart 

This is available to download with your subscription to Musicplay Online.


 See the video below for a tour of the UKULELE section on MusicplayOnline:  


Click the picture below for print resources available on the Musicplay Store.



To purchased the EASY UKULELE SONGBOOK click the cover below:

Recorder Solo Assessment Rubric

As teachers are approaching the end of their recorder units, we wanted to share a rubric to use for solo assessments.  This rubric is available to print, or you can download a fillable PDF.  This is a great option if you want to save paper and quickly type in comments. Click the links below to download the rubrics.


Click here for the printable rubric!


Click here for the fillable rubric!

Valentine's Day Lesson on Musicplay Online

Valentine's Day Lesson on Musicplay Online

As February approaches the Musicplay Team has been busy working on some Valentines and Friendship themed activities to share with your students. This week on the blog and newsletter, we will be sharing a lesson from Musicplay Grade 3 and some fun extension and assessment activities to use with this song.

Love Somebody 

Song 60 from Musicplay 3

Grade Level:

Grade 2 - 4


  • Read rhythm patterns including sixteenth notes. I can read sixteenth note (tika-tika) rhythm patterns.
Materials Needed:
  • Projectables of lyrics from Musicplay Digital Resource or Musicplay Online Subscription (Optional)
  • 1-3 Valentines (depending on version of the game you play, either cut out hearts with red paper, use paper valentines, or use felt hearts) 
Teach the Game:
Game Directions One – Use this version if your classroom has lots of space to move.
One child holds a valentine and walks around the outside of the circle.  At the end of the song he puts the valentine behind a child. The child picks it up, leaves the circle and tries to tag the person who is it, before that person gets to the hole in the circle.  I often use an imaginary valentine instead of a real one, because picking up the valentine slows down the chaser and gives the runner too much of a head start. 
Game Directions Two – Use this version for smaller spaces.
Students sit in rows or on risers.  Select 3 students to be the guessers.  These students go to the front of the class, turn around and cover their eyes.  Select one student to pass out 3 valentines (either cut out hearts with red paper, use paper valentines, or use felt hearts). While students sing the song, the student with valentines passes them out to three other students sitting down. When the song is over, all the students sitting down put their hands behind their backs and “pretend” they have a valentine.  The guessers at the front each get one chance to guess who they think has a valentine. If they get it right they get to stay at the front, if not they sit down.  Replace guessers at the front until you have 3 students again.  Continue playing until all students have had a chance to be a guesser or pass out the valentines.
Extension Activities:
This is an excellent song for reviewing 16thnote rhythm patterns.  Musicplay Online has some great activities and NEW worksheets to help with the process.  Alternatively, you could set up these worksheets as centers after teaching the song:
1. Beat Assessment - Sing "Love Somebody" in your head and tap the beats on the chart.  Answer the questions below.
2. Write the Rhythm - In the hearts, draw the symbol for one sound, two sounds, or four sounds.
3. Rhythm Sort - Read and clap the words.  Choose the rhythm that matches and write it above the words.
4. Rhythm Sort - Which rhythm matches the phrase?  Write the rhythm in the box.
Recorder Resources on  MusicplayOnline

Recorder Resources on MusicplayOnline

Did you know Musicplay Online has recorder resources?  Both songs from the Recorder Resource Kit 1 and 2 are available.  The online resources also has some great additional features! 

At the top of the recorder section, there are different tabs to show what is available:

Kit 1 Movies: 

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit One to project in your classroom. Click the play button on the bottom for a recorder with an accompaniment track to play along.  

Kit 1 Highlights: 

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit One to project in your classroom.  When you click the play button on the bottom, it plays an accompaniment track, and the movie HIGHLIGHTS the notes as students play.

Kit 1 Kids: 

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit One to project in your classroom - and the note names are visible.  This can be very helpful for students when they are just starting to learn the song, or if students struggle with note names.

Kit 1 Accompaniment Kids:

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit One to project in your classroom - and the note names are visible.  On the track below there is no recorder playing along, just an accompaniment. 

Kit 2 Movies: 

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit Two to project in your classroom. Click the play button on the bottom for a recorder and an accompaniment track to play along.

Kit 2 Kids:

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit Two to project in your classroom - and the note names are visible.

Kit 2 Accompaniment Kids:

Here you will find movies from Recorder Kit Two to project in your classroom - and the note names are visible.  On the track below there is no recorder playing along, just an accompaniment.

Additional Resources:  

Scroll down to the bottom of the recorder section to view movies about the recorder, how notes are named, and counting music. 


Want a tour of the recorder section on the website?  View the video below to see more!


Print Resources are also available: 


Recorder Resource Kit: Includes 38 songs, sequenced for success!  BAG ED C'D' F  Includes mad minutes, theory, duet parts (for differentiation or split classes).  Reproducibles are given using regular and kids notes notation. Includes projectables!






Beginning Recorder: Tips on Avoiding the "Squeaks" and Achieving a Pleasant Sound

The first few weeks of teaching recorder can be a challenge – especially for a music teacher’s ears! By starting off your students with good habits and effective modeling, you will be setting your class up for success.  The tips below are some great ideas to help achieve a beautiful tone and sound with your students.  

Consistent Rules and Procedures:  

During the first class, teach and practice the three positions for the recorders.  This will help prevent students from blowing into their instruments by accident. Also, when students first come to class, tell them to use the “Practice Position” with their books while you set up. 

  1. Rest Position – On your lap. You are not playing, just listening to the teacher.
  2. Practice Position – Students rest the recorder on their chin and can practice making the fingers for the notes.
  3. Playing Position – This is when they play their instrument.

Hand Position:  

In the “Recorder Kit Level 1” the method starts with the notes B, A, and G.  However, I teach my students how to hold and attempt to play all the notes the first class. Review every class that the left-hand goes above, the right-hand is below.  I turn my back to the class, ask them to do a “thumbs up” with their left hand and then turn and place it on the back of the recorder.  We then practice covering all the holes, adding the right hand the first class.  We try playing it – and it’s not pleasant - but over the weeks the students enjoy the challenge!

Cover the Holes Completely: 

Ask students to look at their fingers and find the pads of their fingers.  Tell students if they are covering the holes completely, they will see “recorder prints” on the pads of their fingers.  Go over the hand position activity above and see if they get “recorder prints” on their finger pads.

Model and Teach Not to “Overblow”: 

It is surprising for your students how gently they have to blow into their instrument.  A few ideas to share with your students include:

  1. Blow warm air into your hand – that’s how soft you have to blow.
  2. Pretend you are blowing on a bubble and you don’t want it to pop.
  3. Think “doo” not “woo” when blowing into your instrument.  This also helps to separate the notes with their tongue.
  4. Model often what the recorder should sound like.  It can also be helpful to share a few fun YouTube videos.  Here are some of our favourites: 

All this and more available in the Recorder Resource Kit Level 1 and 2.  Order yours today! 


Recorder Resource Kit 1:  Includes 38 songs, sequenced for success!  BAG ED C'D' F  Includes mad minutes, theory, duet parts (for differentiation or split classes).  Reproducibles are given using regular and kids notes notation.  Includes projectables!
Recorder Resource Kit 2: This sequential resource is intended for second year recorder students, but reviews the notes in the event that you have students in your class that have never played recorder. There are 24 songs for two-part soprano recorders. Your students will enjoy playing recorder duets. There is an optional alto recorder part, giving your students the option of playing easy three part ensembles. Digital resources included. 
Alto Recorder Resource Teacher's Guide
Alto Recorder Resource Teacher’s Guide: This is a beginning recorder method for Alto Recorder with 60+ unison and duets in the book, carefully sequenced so that children will have success in the very first lesson. The Teacher’s Guide includes projectables, performance movies, optional soprano recorder parts, fingering posters, piano accompaniments, and ukulele/guitar chords.


    Ho Ho Ho - Winter Favourites from Musicplay

    Ho Ho Ho - Winter Favourites from Musicplay

    Today we wanted to share one of our favourite HOLIDAY lessons from Musicplay Online.  There are so many concepts and activities with this one simple song, it will keep your little ones engaged and learning right up until the holidays. This song can also be used to reinforce simple Grade 1 rhythms, and provides an opportunity to introduce a quarter rest.

    Ho Ho Ho 

    Song 50 from Musicplay 1

    Grade Level:

    Grade K - 2


    • Students will read the rhythm of a song, including 'quarter rest'. I can read the rhythm of a song including a 'quarter rest'. 
    • Students will create word rhythms. I can create word rhythms.
    Materials Needed:
    • Projectables of lyrics from Musicplay Digital Resource or Musicplay Online Subscription (Optional)
    • Non-pitched percussion instruments


    Song Activities:

    Below are a variety of activities you can use with this song:


    The game, “Ho Ho Ho” is played in a single circle.  Each child faces a partner.  On the first measure they point fingers at their partner.  On the second measure they point a finger with the other hand.  On the third measure join hands and change places with their partner.  On the last measure they each jump half a turn to face a new partner and the game repeats.

    Game Video:

    Playing Instruments:

    Explore playing beat and rhythm on non-pitched percussion instruments or body percussion.  Play the words (rhythm) of the song on unpitched instruments.  With student input, decide what instruments might sound best on various parts of the song.  Remind the students that when they play the words of the song, they are playing the rhythm of the song.  Other students can keep the beat of the song using body percussion or a contrasting instrument.

    Keep the Beat on a Beat Chart:

    Use the chart below (you can find this on MusicplayOnline) to have students point to the beat and clap the rhythm.  This is an opportunity to ask the students why there are no words or sounds on beats 4, 8, and 16.  You can explain to them when there is no sound on a beat, it is called rest or quarter rest.  Try notating the song as a class to reinforce this concept.


    Teach the Orff Arrangement:

    Once students are singing the words and playing the game successfully, teach the Orff arrangement.  For Grade one, try teaching the bass line first. 

     Use the following speech ostinato with body percussion to assist in teaching the bass line:  


    Interactive Activities:

    MusicplayOnline has many MORE activities to use with this song including: 


    Find this and MORE at

      Poppies Red

      Poppies Red

      Did you know Musicplay Online has a Units section?  In here you will find TONS of resources for different festivals and holidays, as well as instrument and music theory units.  Today we will feature a lesson from the November 11 Unit.

      Poppies Red 

      Song 40 from Musicplay PreK

      Grade Level:

      PreK - Grade 2


      • Create new lyrics. I can sing and create new lyrics.
      • Understand the meaning of a poppy. I can understand the meaning of a poppy.

      Materials Needed:

      • Picture of a Poppy (available on MusicplayOnline).
      • Poppies Red Projectables (available on MusicplayOnline).


      1. Show a large picture of a poppy. Discuss why and when poppies are worn.
      2. Teach the song by rote or immersion.
      3. Add movement or body percussion for the words “Poppy Red” when you sing the song. Select different movements and try again.
      4. Teach the additional versus – additional verses are given about policemen and firemen who also help us.
      5. Sing the song with movement and additional verses.
      1. Ask students about other people who help us. Create new verses using their ideas.  Where possible, use gender neutral terms. (I should have used fire fighters instead of firemen, but have not had time to re-record)
      2. Share some of the poems and projectable materials from the November 11 Unit on MusicplayOnline.

      Fall Favourites from Musicplay - Week 3

      This week we will feature a spooky song called “Bats” from Musicplay Grade 4.  This is a great song because it does not reference Halloween, so all your students can participate in the fun activities.

      Read more →