Ideas for Engaging Elementary Music Lessons | September 2021

Whether you are just starting your school year, or already have been in session for several weeks, the lessons you teach this month can set the tone for the entire year. This post includes some of our favorite elementary music lessons for September. 

If you like to use thematic units or observe national dates, you will find plenty of inspiration in the September holidays listed below. 

We hope you find time to teach a few seasonal lessons as well as establish a solid routine for developing music literacy skills.

Elementary Music Class Activities for Classroom or Distance Learning | September Favorites

September Holidays & Observvances

  • September 4 – Newspaper Carrier Day / National Hummingbird Day
  • September 4 National Play Outside Day (The first Saturday of each month)
  • September 5 – National Cheese Pizza Day
  • September 6 – Labor Day
  • September 9 – National Teddy Bear Day
  • September 11 – 9/11 Remembrance
  • September 12 – National Grandparents’ Day
  • September 13 – Uncle Sam Day
  • September 15 – National On-Line Learning Day**
  • September 16 – Mayflower Day
  • September 16 – National Collect Rocks Day
  • September 16 – Play-Doh Day
  • September 17 – Citizenship Day 
  • September 17 – Constitution Day
  • September 17 – International Country Music Day 
  • September 18 – National Respect Day
  • September 18 – Boys and Girls Club Day for Kids
  • September 18 – International Day of Listening
  • September 18- National Clean-Up Day
  • September 19 – National Dance Day
  • September 19 – Talk Like a Pirate Day
  • September 21 – International Day of Peace/World Gratitude Day
  • September 22 – Autumnal Equinox, First Day of Fall
  • September 23 – International Day of Sign Languages
  • September 26 – Johnny Appleseed Day
  • September 26 – National Pancake Day
  • September 28 – National Good Neighbor Day 
  • September 30 – National Hot Cider Day 

Weekly Observances

  • Rosh Hashanah – Evening of September 6, 2021
  • Oktoberfest (Munich – canceled this year) – September 18 – October 3
  • Clean Up the World Weekend – September 17-19
  • National Keep Kids Creative Week – September 26 – October 2
  • Yom Kippur – Begins the Evening of September 15, 2021

Monthly Observances

  • Apple Month
  • Good Manners/Courtesy Month
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
  • National Piano Month

Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi

Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi by by José-Luis Orozco with illustrations by David Díaz is a bilingual picture book written in both Spanish and English. 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)

This book 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.

Rin, Rin, Rin, Do Re Mi by José-Luis Orozco, David Díaz (Illustrations)

Max Found Two Sticks

Thank you to the Boulder Philharmonic for this wonderful reading of Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney. It is marching band season. Time to get out your rhythm sticks and “drum up” some excitement in your elementary music classroom.

Hop Old Squirrel

Hop Old Squirrel is one of my all-time FAVORITE songs and games for the elementary music classroom. The NO-PREP game requires no materials and allows students to have some good old-fashioned fun while being creative.

Extend the song and game with this MUSIC LITERACY resource. These easy-to-use lessons include the following DIFFERENTIATED elements allowing the resource to be used with multiple grade levels.

  • Iconic and standard notation
  • Rhythmic Orff ostinato pattern
  • Teaches and reinforces solfege hand signs
  • Includes recorder notation

Oktoberfest starts in September

Oktoberfest celebrations traditionally start in September and last into October. Oktoberfest originally began in Germany, but today many countries all around the world celebrate German culture and traditions during this festive occasion.

Fun Oktoberfest activities often include “wiener dog” or dachshund races, dachshund costume contests, traditional polka bands and dancing, traditional German foods, costumes of lederhosen and drindl dresses, and much more. Not only has teaching about Oktoberfest been one of my favorite elementary music lessons, it has also been one of our favorite performances for the year. My elementary students have performed at our community’s celebration for many years.

If you would like to learn about the traditions and Oktoberfest activities and join in the fun, check out the resources included here. Don’t worry if you don’t speak German. Two screencasts are included to teach German counting to 10 and the pronunciation for a traditional German song. Lots of other FUN activities are included as well.

Halloween | NON-Halloween Lessons

Halloween is right around the corner too! And, you don’t have to give up your music reading lessons just to work in some engaging Halloween activities. Pass the Pumpkin includes a full Orff arrangement with differentiated activities for grades K-5. Your kids will LOVE this song and the activities that go with it.

However, some students and even some schools do not celebrate Halloween. So, I changed up the lyrics but kept the same AWESOME activities and turned it into a fall lesson. Pass the Pumpkin Pie can be used all season long and it is sure to be a hit with all your students. (Please note this is not a Thanksgiving activity, so your students that do not celebrate any holidays should be ok just singing about eating pumpkin pie.)

Absolutely, yes! These also go on my list of all-time favorite elementary music lessons. My students wanted to sing these songs all year long.

Click the images to preview the lessons and listen to the arrangement in the video previews.

Sequential Music Literacy Lessons

Targeted music reading lessons can, and should be, among your favorite elementary music lessons as well. And more importantly, music reading lessons should be among your students’ favorite lessons. 

Make time to teach music reading everyday. It takes careful planning and lessons that build one upon another, introducing only one new element at a time. Having NO-PREP lessons ready to go at the beginning of the year, makes them every teachers’ favorite lessons.

Do you need ready-to-use music reading resources that can also serve as assessments? These FUN sequential sets might be just what you need.

Click below to learn more about these NO-PREP Bundles.

More sequential Bundles are coming. Click to “Follow Mi” on TpT to be notified when new resources are published. Bonus – New resources are 40% off for the first 24 hours. It pays to “Follow Mi“.

Easily Find Targeted Elementary Music Resources

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 which makes finding the ideal activities simple. This helpful index includes MANY FREE as well as helpful paid resources.

Enjoy the Fall

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, the changing colors, and all the fall celebrations in our area. I hope you find some time to enjoy your fall season. And, we hope that some of our standard favorites become some of your new favorite elementary music lessons as well.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Do you need help with something specific that you cannot find? Send me a quick email and I will see if I can help. Best wishes!

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