Fun Elementary Music Lessons that Teach Music Skills | October 2022
School is in high gear and schedules are hectic! Consider paring down your elementary music lessons to teach more.
By October, school is in high gear and you are CRAZY busy! There is always way too much to teach and way too little time. Sometimes we can accomplish more by planning carefully and paring down lessons.
Choosing only a few of your favorite elementary music lessons that meet strategically targeted learning objectives may produce better results.
What’s in this post? Click to open the Table of Contents
- Evaluate Your Previous Lessons
- October Observances
- The Perfect Bilingual Storybook
- Treble Clef Activities
- My Favorite Way to Use Boom Cards
- Interactive Rhythm Pattern Activities
- It’s SQUIRREL APPRECIATION Month!
- OKTOBERFEST is Here
- Halloween Song and Game
- Non-Halloween Fall Song and Game
- In the Hall of the Mountain King, Grieg
- Diverse Winter Holidays Music
- Free Elementary Music Resource Guide
- Guard Your Time and Enjoy the Fall Season
- More Ideas and Activities
Have You Evaluated Your Previous Lessons? Keep or Toss?
Take a few minutes to evaluate your lessons from last year and last month. Ask yourself these questions.
- What lessons went especially well? Those are KEEPERS for sure.
- What lessons did not go well? TOSS them.
- Where are your students excelling? Your lessons have been effective for those skills.
- Where are your students struggling? Look for some activities to BEEF UP these skills.
Check your yearly curriculum charts (free to subscribers) and your monthly scope and sequence to help focus your planning. Build on or emulate lessons that went well. Revamp or cull lessons that didn’t live up to your expectations.
Below are some of my favorite tried and true elementary music lessons that have been highly successful in my classroom. Check them out. Maybe, they will become some of your favorites too.
Spice Up Your Elementary music Lessons with 1-2 of these October Observances
See the special dates and observances below. Consider choosing one or two to highlight in your classroom lesson plans.
- October 3 – Look at the Leaves Day
- October 4 – World Farm Animals Day
- October 5 – International Walk to School Day
- October 10 – Columbus Day
- October 10 – Indigenous People’s Day
- October 12 – National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work & School Day
- October 19 – Unity Day
- October 23 – The First Day of Diwali
- October 25 – International Artists Day
- October 26 – Pumpkin Day
- October 31 – Halloween
- September 15-October 15 – National Hispanic Heritage Month
- October 9-15 – Fire Prevention Week
- October 16-22 – National School Bus Safety Week
- October 23-31 – National Red Ribbon Week
- Bat Appreciation Month
- Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
- Fire Prevention Month
- Italian-American Heritage Month
- Stamp Collecting Month (There are a TON of music stamps. Collecting digital music stamps could be a FUN project.)
- Squirrel Awareness & Appreciation Month
The Perfect Bilingual Storybook for Your Elementary Music Classroom
Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi by José-Luis Orozco with illustrations by David Díaz is a bilingual picture book written in Spanish and English. It is a perfect addition to your elementary music classroom library.
“This book “has two purposes–as a fun picture book and as advice for parents who want to give their children a foundation in literacy.” (GoodReads)
Rin, Rin, Rin is a part of the Scholastic Lee y Seras literacy campaign, but it is also perfect for the elementary music classroom. Check out your Scholastic book order for this title or ask your librarian to order it for your school.
Learning Treble Clef Note Names Not Your Favorite? See These Activities.
I am not sure how many music teachers would consider teaching treble clef note names as some of their favorite elementary music lessons, but I do! There are so many FUN ways to learn and practice. These PowerPoint Games are perfect for Microsoft Schools.
Note: Due to the interactive features, these MUST be used in PowerPoint. They are NOT compatible with Google Slides.
Don’t Have PowerPoint? Your Students Will Love Treble Clef Boom Cards!
Boom Cards are always a favorite. And there is no better way to get started than with a FREE set. These sequential decks with a FUN soccer theme will hook even your reluctant students – Complete Treble Clef Boom Cards Bundle.
One of the great things about Boom Cards is that you can play the first four cards of any set FREE so you really know if that set is what your students need.
If you are new to Boom Cards, check out this blog post with a short video tutorial to learn more. Getting started is NOT hard, I promise. But, there are a few tips to help you get a smooth start.
My Favorite Way to Use Interactive Boom Cards in the Music Classroom
Boom Cards do NOT have to be an individual 1:1 activity. In fact, my favorite way to use Boom Cards is as whole-class interactive activities. Treble Clef sets easily become a class activity when ALL students answer every question in sign language. Have students “hide” their answers to give all students a bit of think time. Then prompt everyone to “show their answers” at the same time.
Learn how to use interactive music literacy sets with simple manipulatives and or signals and get 5 FREE Boom Cards decks when you subscribe to our Boom Cards email sequence.
Need a FUN Way to Practice and Develop Students’ Rhythm Reading Skills?
These Halloween Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards are differentiated into 8 different levels for grades K-5. Level 1 includes iconic reading while levels 2-8 build sequentially.
Do you need engaging ideas for using interactive rhythm cards? Check out this post for 10 Ways to Use Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards for FUN ideas to integrate rhythm patterns seamlessly into your elementary music lessons.
It’s SQUIRREL APPRECIATION Month! Really?
Yes, we are supposed to appreciate those little critters that hang upside down and eat all of the bird seed out of our feeders. Oh well, they are hungry too.
Any time of year is a good time to learn Hop Old Squirrel, but, what better time than during Squirrel Appreciation Month!
The rhythmic ostinato and recorder notation allow this lesson to span multiple grade levels. Elementary music teachers LOVE this song and game. But more importantly, kids love it too!
OKTOBERFEST has been a Highlight for my Elementary Music Students
In Munich, the site of the original Oktoberfest celebration, the holiday is traditionally celebrated from the last two weeks of September into the first week of October. In the USA, Oktoberfest celebrations may continue throughout the month of October.
Join in the FUN with our unique differentiated Oktoberfest Music Activities. This K-5 resource includes a German Folk Song, Orff accompaniments, Boomwhackers notation, hand clap activities, a history of Oktoberfest, traditions, and more.
An Infectious (in a Good Way) Halloween Song and Game
OMG! My students want to sing this song all year. (And, that’s okay.) This K-5 differentiated lesson includes a full Orff arrangement with a game. It has something special for each grade level as well as for differentiation within grade levels.
True Story – One year, my kindergarten teachers made me promise not to teach this song because they couldn’t get the kids to stop singing it in class. I reluctantly agreed. The next year, their kindergarten students began singing it on their own. They had learned it from older brothers and sisters. 🎃
Lyrics Changed into a Non-Halloween Fall Song and Game
Not all schools or all families celebrate Halloween. If this is your school, take a look at Pass the Pumpkin Pie. This lesson has all the same types of activities as Pass the Pumpkin but with a neutral fall theme.
Please note that this is NOT a Thanksgiving lesson. If you have students who do not celebrate any holidays, they should be fine with these activities.
Bonus – You can use this lesson all season long.
Listening Maps to Hook You Students and Develop a Love of Instrumental Music
I LOVE these listening maps! They help students identify the melodic and harmonic lines. And, the idea of texture becomes visual as well as auditory. This makes it very easy for students to identify thick or thin textures.
But most importantly, students LOVE these listening maps.
Toccato and Fugue in D minor, Bach
Danse Macabre, Saint-Saëns
This listening map by the Cleveland Orchestra also helps students learn to identify the sound of various instruments.
In the Hall of the Mountain King, Grieg
This popular piece from Peer Gynt Suite is perfect for teaching about tempo. There are many fun listening maps for this piece. But, this one has a simple rhythmic play-along accompaniment that is attainable for most mid and upper elementary classes.
Do You Have Diverse Music Planned for the Upcoming Winter Holidays?
The winter holidays are right around the corner. Check out our blog post about using Diverse Winter Holiday Songs in the classroom and for performance.
Teaching diverse holiday songs provides the perfect opportunity to teach about cultures different from our own. Learning respect for other cultures is CRITICAL in our society. This post includes links to fun songs for Ramadan, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year.
It’s Hard to Find the Perfect Song to Teach Specific Music Elements
Need help finding the perfect song to teach a specific music element?
Need help finding the perfect song to teach a specific music element?
This easy-to-use Elementary Music Literacy Resource Guide includes a detailed index of music elements that is easily scannable. This makes finding the ideal activities simple.
It includes many FREE and paid resources which you will find helpful for your elementary music classroom.
Guard Your Time and Enjoy the Fall Season
Planning and creating lessons that meet your students learning objectives can be very time-consuming. Hopefully, some of the lessons presented here will become some of your new favorite elementary music lessons. We want to help you take back some time to spend with your family.
I hope you are able to enjoy the fun fall festivals, the cooler weather, and the changing of the seasons. Leave the CRAZINESS and hectic schedules behind when you leave school each day.
More Ideas and Activities for Your Elementary Music Lesson Plans
- Elementary Ideas and Activities for November
- Elementary Ideas and Activities for December
- How to Use Digital and Printable Composition Templates
- Teaching Improvisation in the Elementary Music Classroom
Meet the Author
Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.
She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.
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