Music Ed Ideas


I have been teaching music at Mackinac Island Public Schools for the past four years, and I have to say that I am finally starting to get the hang of it! I really enjoy working with all of the students here, and I have also learned how to adapt a little better to those last-minute changes in my plans! The biggest hurdle that I’ve faced, however, is the fact that I don’t technically have my own classroom. I’m a traveling teacher who goes from class to class with a cart of materials and my lessons to teach music (and art!). I usually have to go through a “spring cleaning” process more than once throughout the year on my cart, and this time I thought I’d share with you the things that I use!

I have a pretty cool cart with three levels to it: the top shelf is where I put my every day supplies and supplies that I’m using for that day’s art lessons. The second shelf is for warm up art worksheets, student notebooks, cleaning supplies, and music supplies that I may use throughout the day. The bottom shelf is where I keep my classical guitar and ukulele.


I always tell my middle and high school students to come prepared to class with a pencil, but if they don’t have one, I keep some on my cart. I saw this idea on pinterest and decided to create my own, using the old personal sized pringles cans, scrapbook paper, and a fancy oval punch to create the label:


I then found some baskets with handles at the dollar store, and had to have one of each color for my cart. They’re not too big, and the handle comes in handy when I need to quickly change out materials for that day’s art lesson. If you have a lot of small props or other materials that you use for music lessons, I think these baskets would work great for that as well!


Joann Fabrics was having a big sale one day and I was lucky enough to find this awesome hot pink plastic 3-drawer at a discount! I quickly snatched it up and labeled each drawer to keep my files and catalogs in order:


The last thing that I keep close by is my song bank. I created this idea one day when I realized that, with all the different grade levels that I’m teaching, that I sometimes forget the lyrics to the songs that I’m teaching! I’m the same with music that I like on the radio – I remember the melody really well, but I can never seem to remember all the lyrics. Anyway, it helps to have a little cheat sheet nearby so that I don’t change one word for another, so I found a clear index card holder and some neon index cards (one color for each grade level), and printed a label for the top, which I taped on with the same scrapbook paper as my pencil holders:



I used a 1″ circle punch to create the dividers in my song bank for each grade level. Since I teach 2 grades in one classroom I have sections for two grades, but of course you can do this for individual grades.




In the corner I write the grade level(s), the title of the song at the top, the words under that, and on the back of the card I’ll write information about the song, such as where I found the song, what materials I should use with it, etc.




As this year goes on, I hope to post even more on the things that I’m using in my music classes, including the lessons that I’ve used as well, so check back often, and thanks for reading!