Virtual Drum Lesson with Garage Band


With Quicktime Player Screen Recording mode, Garage Band, Google Slide (lesson powerpoint) and Spotify, I created a playlist of Virtual Drum Lessons for my Secondary class.

Kids were quite impressed especially when they get to play along simple drum beats with pop songs.

There are 10 videos in the playlist including the a quick setup video at the beginning. You may skip to the last two videos to hear some surprise pop music.

This videos are not perfectly made they give a strong idea of how you can teach music tech in class for lack of real instruments.


Ed Tech Tools: Music Fonts


Recently, a friend whom I met through my Orff Levels in Singapore shared how she could now use consistent images for Kodaly and Orff learning with music fonts. I discovered the following paid resource:

Note-able Font –

TpT link:

I think that it’s actually very cool!

I’ve been using Sibelius for my music works and also classroom related materials and I think this is another good improvement and development towards how music teachers can present their work.

I also took the liberty of Googling for free music fonts that we might be able to use without paying. [If you are as resource-weak as me, free stuff is a joy!]

Free Music Fonts downloads: [I used this font to create the image for this post’s feature image]

I like to DIY in some ways and I wondered how these people came up with their own fonts.

Lo and behold…

How to create your own font video:

There are many resource or videos like that.

One of these days…. I will make my own fonts!!!!

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.59.31 AM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 9.00.48 AM.png

[The above font is made with this:]

Edu Tech Tools – Mp3


In the name of education, we need lots of free content to use in our classroom.

I find it quite unavoidable to use illegal means to get Mp3 but I justify that I’m not selling nor am I claiming to own the copyrighted content that I use in my classroom.

I find this site reliable by far in downloading music from Youtube. There many original if not, copyrighted content in Youtube that I wish to use and this is one means of getting it. It’s especially useful when you have internet connectivity issues and you wished you had an offline resource. Just remember, don’t claim it as your own and do not sell it.

This next site is also a very useful to to cut music without downloading any software. I like that it has many options of uploading the music e.g. via Dropbox, Google drive and even direct from your computer. Same reminder here though, don’t claim it as your own and do not sell it.

We need to give content providers due credit whenever necessary. Without them, we would have to create many ideas of our own.

Classroom management: Pinkfong Stories


Apart from Go Noodle that I mentioned in last week’s article, I also discover good use in this Youtube Channel, Pinkfong.

Aside from the Baby Shark that famously came out from this content provider, they also have a good range of literacy videos that are good for young children.

I find that the Pinkfong Stories playlist is very useful when I have a little amount of time before lesson ends and the students needs a physical break.

The videos are well curated for Primary Kids  and it helps to improve their language skills. Most importantly for my use, they are not too long.

You can also check out their official site for other information. They have more information about the direct apps you can download into your mobile or tablet devices.

Classroom Management: Go Noodle


Running out of ideas on how to perk your young students energy?

Need some new dance moves for your kinesthetic kids?

Your students are sleepy and bored?

The digital age has produced one of the best solutions that educators will love.

Go Noodle


This is an interactive site catered to young and older children. It is best managed by teachers to use when students are

  1. feeling bored
  2. having low energy
  3. in need of warm up activities to start their day
  4. too energetic

The site provides all sorts of interactive videos to suit all kinds of energy levels. Most importantly, it helps students to focus.

Depending on my classes, I might use it at the beginning of the lesson to get the students warmed up for more kinaesthetic activities related to lesson. Sometimes I use it as a reward for accomplishing class tasks. In this aspect, when you create a Go Noodle account, you may create a few classes and chooses colorful characters for any of your classes. I’ve yet to know any limit of classes you can create but I would say it has fair amount of use.

The interactive videos can be categorized according to duration, energy level and even channel. Quite a number of content providers like MooseTube, KidsBop are featured in GoNoodle. This really saves a lot of time for the teacher in searching age appropriate content on Youtube.

Every time a video is completed, the character’s growth level will be increased. I believe that the characters have about 3 times to grow and then the character reaches its growth limit in the Transmogifier<I do not think my spelling for this is correct but a good try I guess>.

Overall, it’s a really fun site for students and for teachers.

Give it a try!

Lesson Plan – Ode to Joy on Recorder


Since I’ve started teaching recorder almost 5 years ago, Ode to Joy is one of the songs that I like teaching. For one, it’s based on a popular symphonic melody and it helps introduce students to classical music and a famous composer. There’s so much you can do with this song.

I would just like to record the process of teaching this song as I’ve made so many revisions with it.


The sheet music above is really a good one that I’ve found and used over the years. It’s plain to see that the lyrics are direct and easy for primary kids to absorb. Although the notes are not the ones that I would use in teaching recorder, the lyrics are really wonderful!

Here is the following process that I would like to suggest:

  1. Teach students to sing the lyrics by rote. Accompany student’s singing on the piano or mp3.
  2. With the help of the recorder as reference, teach the note fingering while singing the notes in melody. Do so in one bar phrases where the students repeats it after the teacher.
  3. Ask the students how many notes are being used in the song and they should answer you 6 notes e.g. B, A, G, C, D’ and low D.
  4. Repeat Step 2 a few times until students are fluent in reciting the note names while demonstrating the fingering.
  5. Allow students to work in pairs or group to practice.
  6. Reassemble the students as a whole class and sing the note names while playing note fingerings.
  7. Allow students to play the recorder in phrases while teacher recite the bar phrases. Do this at least two times to internalise the melody notes.
  8. Allow students to work in pairs or group again to practice.
  9. Reassemble the students as as whole class and play the song together while teacher recites the bar phrases.
  10. Play the whole song together with accompany on piano or mp3.
  11. Assess students development/improvement by having the students to play in group while teacher accompanies the song. This allows different groups of students to rest or assess others playing.

I find the students assessment method at the end of the process very useful as I can identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students in small groups. In this way, time is not wasted too. Such group assessment also allows weak students to feel less intimidated and they feel that they can blend in the group if they can play some of the easier passages.

The weakness of this process is that the students do not learn to read the music.

Hence, I would like to suggest the following after finishing the process above:

  1. Write out each bar of the music in separate pieces of A4 paper.
  2. Place them in the middle of the classroom floor like pieces of jigsaw puzzle and have the students stand around them.
  3. Instruct the students to identify and arrange the music according to the Ode to Joy melody. Give them some hints that some parts are similar or repeated in different phrases. [At this point, the students should already know how BAG notes look like on the music staff. ]
  4. Check the arrangement of notes and have the students play and read the notes. They should be more aware now how the music look like and they will feel motivated to read and play the notes.

After this, music appreciation and history studies can be introduced to supplement the Ode to Joy studies.


Music Pitch: High Sounds & Low Sounds


The following lesson on music pitch is suitable for KS1 and maybe KS2 if they have no exposure to it at all.

I started off giving students a vocal experience by teaching them the Rent chant. I have modified some of the words to make it rhyme better.


Villain[low voice]: You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent today!

Lady[high voice]: I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent today!

Villain[low voice]: You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent today!

Lady[high voice]: I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent today!

Hero: I’ll pay the rent! I’ll pay the rent!

Lady[high voice]: My hero!

Villain[low voice]: Oh no…

While doing this chant, you can use your hands to form a ribbon or you can make a paper ribbon to go with it.


The kids really do get tickled by this as they get so amused with the teacher’s fluctuating voice pitch.

Discuss with students what happens to the voice at this point when acting out the different characters.

After which, I proceed to tell them another story about Mr Brown and Mr Green. I have modified such that the story can be told in beat or like a rhyme.

Mr Brown & Mr Green are very good friends.

They live on a big, high hill.


One day, Mr Brown decided to go visit his friend Mr Green.

He opened his door & popped out his head & close his door again.

He went up & down & up & down until he reached Mr Green’s house.

He knocked once (knock), he knocked twice!

But no one was at home.

So, he went up & down & up & down until he reached his home.

He opened his door & popped in his head & close his door again.


Next day, Mr Green decided to go visit his friend Mr Brown.

He opened his door & popped out his head & close his door again.

He went up & down & up & down until he reached Mr Brown’s house.

He knocked once (knock), he knocked twice!

But no one was at home.

So, he went up & down & up & down until he reached his home.

He opened his door & popped in his head & close his door again.



The very next day, at the very same time, they both decided to visit again.

So, they open their doors & popped out their heads & close their doors again.

They went up & down & up & down until they finally met!

They happily talked, talked and talked until it’s time to go.

They waved each other goodbye (Goodbye!) and then they parted their ways.

They went up & down & up & down until they reached their homes.

They opened their doors & popped in their heads in & close their doors again. The End.

Refer to reference 1 for the actions with hands and it gets more interesting when using xylophones or keyboards.

To continue the story of the the friends travelling up and down the hill. I taught the students to sing “Someone Standing”. Also available in Reference 1.

To include some Orff elements and to introduce Mi-So-La solfeges, I taught the students the following ostinato.

It relates to the story of the song and chant and hopefully it will encourage students to learn improvising Mi-So-La later on.

As a performance, during the storytelling, a bass ostinato can be played in the background. At the same time students play up and down the keyboards/xylophone. After the chanting, they can start singing “Someone Standing”, continued with the melodic ostinato and improvise their voices on Mi-So-La.