Elementary School Music

Music Educators’ Workshops for 2011-2012

Posted in Events, Prof. Development, Prof. Organizations by P. Conrad on November 2, 2011

The fall season always brings new workshops of interest to elementary music teachers. One series is presented by MEANYC and the UFT Music Teachers Committee:

On Saturday, November 19, from 9AM-1PM, Jim Frankel, a presenter from the Soundtree company will host a workshop on ways to Integrate Technology into Your Music Classroom, exploring new software titles, hardware, websites, and curricular resources across grades K-12.

On Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 4:30 PM-7:30 PM, Marisol Ponte-Greenberg will lead a workshop on Traditional Music of Argentina: Music Styles, Instruments, Folk Songs and Choral Repertoire for Children. Packets with transcriptions of songs, translations and teaching techniques will be available, and Ms. Ponte-Greenberg who teaches chorus and general music at the Abigail Adams P.S. 131 School in Queens, will give a PowerPoint talk on her recent research as a Fulbright scholar in Latin America.

For all the UFT/MEANYC workshops, there is a $10.00 fee with advance registration/$15.00 at the door, and refreshments will be served.

Other workshops in 2012 include “Music & Dance,” Musical Theatre, a New York Pops brass and woodwind workshop, and a presentation on the Little Kids Rock guitar program. Details will follow here.

All of these workshops satisfy hours of Professional Development Credit and the necessary forms will be available at the workshops.

Click HERE for a registration form to print out and mail in. For more information, visit the MEANYC or the UFT Music Teachers Committee websites.


NYC DOE Resources

Posted in NYC DOE Resources, Where-ever by P. Conrad on October 12, 2011

Teaching of music in NYC schools is supported and directed citywide by the The Office of the Arts and Special Projects, in the Department of Education’s headquarters in Tweed Courthouse on Chambers Street. Dr. Barbara Murray is the Director of Music Education.

The Office of the Arts and Special Projects is set up to support and enhance instructional programs in art, music, dance and theater, in grades preK-12. Each school receives a budget line for arts education based on pupil enrollment. How these funds are spent is determined by the school’s principal, in accordance with established guidelines. During the reorganization of the Department of Education, budgeting is a far more transparent process than it was in the past, and a great deal of information about how schools spend money is available publicly, on-line.

The OASP site is an on-line source for several critically-important documents:


the curriculum guide Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts (it’s a PDF file, heavy in color and graphics: not practical for downloading and printing). Note: The Blueprint “strands” on Music Education are also available in a more practical poster format (both are available for purchase; see below).

Getting the Blueprint:
Your school’s principal can order it through FAMIS: E-Catalog, search under the category “Internal Services” with the following item numbers:
TLAR10032- Music Blueprint Book- $7
TLAR10033- Music Blueprint Poster- $3
Include specific contact information on the purchase order for the delivery of materials. The necessary funds should be scheduled in Object Code 0998. For a free download of the Blueprint in a PDF file, click here.

The DOE’s brief Benchmarks for Music Learning can be examined online — a series of general statements that summarize expectations for children’s learning and abilities in grades 2, 5, 8 and 12.

In addition, the OASP page offers much valuable information on ArtsCount. This is the Department of Education’s program to ensure that arts education is not overlooked in the drive toward accountability in city schools (see post below). Components of this program include the Annual Arts in Schools Report, the Learning Environment Surveys, and Annual Compliance Review. Some of this information can be accessed on each school’s DOE-hosted website, if you click on the link to “Statistics” on the left column.

The OASP site offers links to many other valuable resources including grant sources and activities for students, including the Mr. Hollands’ Opus Foundation, and VH1’s Save the Music Foundation.

Learning Support Organizations

Each school is associated with one of the School Support Organizations (SSO). Music teachers should seek to contact the arts coordinator for their school’s SSO, and to be aware of any workshops or other SSO initiatives to promote arts education.

Citywide Professional Development for 2011-2012

Posted in Events, NYC DOE Resources, Prof. Development by P. Conrad on October 11, 2011

Two events are available for music teachers on November 8 (Election Day). One is listed below and the other can be found on the page for Teacher-Directed Staff Development.


As in the past, the 2011-12 school year offers a series of professional development events for music teachers in New York City public schools. There’s a cost for the series that must be paid for by the school at the pleasure of the principal, and participants must register on-at a dedicated website (CVENT). The cost of the series is $100 per elementary school participant for the full workshop series (3 days).

All workshops will be held at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, 35-12 35th Avenue in Queens, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, and then on Monday, January 30, and Thursday, June 7, 2012, from 8:30 AM — 3:00 PM.

This year’s series will provide “will provide practical, performance based strategies for articulating and demonstrating the ways in which music empowers students to ‘decode’ complex text.”

“These three sessions will focus upon one, specific aspect of the music specialist’s mission: to encourage students’ appreciation and participation in music thus developing their ability to read music-related text. In doing so, the goals and outcomes for our students contained within the Music Blueprint and Common Core standards are supported.”

Participants are expected to attend all three workshop days. The registration deadline for this workshop series is Tuesday, October 31, 2011.

The Fine Print: (more…)

Teacher-directed professional development for 2011-2012

Posted in Events, Prof. Development by P. Conrad on October 11, 2011

Music teachers Craig McGorry (who teaches at P.S. 35 in the Bronx) and Katie Traxler (P.S. 51 in Manhattan) are again hosting a special PD day for elementary and middle school music teachers on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, from 9:00am – 3:00pm.
Colleagues around the NYC area are invited to come and share ideas for best practices in the classroom including repertoire, engaging activities. 

Read about the original non-DOE PD day here.                            Read about the 2010 event here.

Where: PS 35x, The Franz Sigel School, 261 East 163rd Street, in the Bronx (between Grant Avenue & Morris Avenue)

Directions: Take the 4, B, or D train to 161st/Yankee Stadium. Walk away from Yankee Stadium, up the hill on 161st Street, and cross Grand Concourse.

Contact Craig McGorry at musicteachermcgorry@gmail.com for more information.

Performance Videos

Posted in Video by P. Conrad on March 1, 2011

YouTube is not easy to use in the classroom. However, some sites offer high quality videos of orchestral music and opera (as well as dance and drama) that can be streamed or downloaded in the classroom. One of the best is on P.B.S. , on its Great Performances website
The Redwood Symphony in the San Francisco Bay Area is just one example of a local symphony that hosts its own on-line performance videos.

Or see the flashmob videos linked on this page.

Could one of your students go to Juilliard?

Posted in For Kids, NYC Arts Partners by P. Conrad on February 27, 2011

The Juilliard School of Music at Lincoln Center has an extraordinary outreach it calls Music Advancement Program (MAP), which offers Saturday lessons for New York City public school students who show exceptional promise.

For the past twenty years, Juilliard’s program of Saturday instrument-instruction and mentoring has targeted students ages 8 to 14, from New York City schools, who may be under-represented in the performing arts, including black or African American, Hispanic of any race, and Native American students.

Tuition for the program of Saturday lessons is $1500 for the first year and $2500 for the second year, but there is substantial financial aid available.

Advanced-beginning students take classes for three to four hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., while students in the advanced-intermediate course follow an extended schedule, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (including lunch). Students who do not have access to their own instruments are loaned instruments by The Juilliard School. Obviously, the program requires families to be fully-committed to the Saturday attendance (and 30 minutes of practice per day).

This year, auditions for the program will be held May 14, 2011

Music Websites for Students

Posted in For Kids by P. Conrad on February 27, 2011

Here are some music sites that are great for kids who just want to explore music, symphonies, jazz . . . and have fun.

  • kidzone Kidzone courtesy of The New York Philharmonic

(Note: you have to fill out a complicated on-line registration form, in order to access the site.)

  • DSO Kids MusicRoom courtesy of The Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Playmusic courtesy of American Symphony Orchestras
  • Sphinx_Kids Sphinxkids courtesy of Sphinx Organization (Building Diversity in Classical Music)
  • sfkids SFSKids courtesy of The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Classics for Kidscourtesy of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Hip-hop drum sounds triggered by the computer keyboard.

World Music Drumming workshop

Posted in Events, Prof. Development by P. Conrad on February 13, 2011

On Saturday, March 5th, 2011 from 9AM-1PM, the UFT’s NYC Music Teachers Association joins with Music Educators of NYC in hosting a workshop on “World Music Drumming: Transforming Lives — Building Community” led by Dr. Will Schmid.

This is a hands-on session demonstrating the World Music Drumming curriculum, which is designed for grades 3-5 and middle school / HS students.  Participants should bring a hand drum if possible.  The event is presented in conjunction with Hal Leonard Corp., publishers of Dr. Schmid’s World Music Drumming Curriculum.

The workshop is $10.00 with advance registration, $15.00 at the door and it includes pastry, fruit and coffee served at 8:30 AM. For advance registration, download a registration form from the UFT site and mail it in.

This workshop satisfies 4 professional development credit hours; forms will be available at the event.

Choral Music

Posted in Choral Music, Repertoire by P. Conrad on February 13, 2011

choral practice

The Choral Information Site offers a lot of useful material for directors and teachers.

The Internet Center for Choral Resources serves all choirs (adult, children, church).

The Choristers Guild serves primarily church choirs. Their catalog offers literacy materials and videos, including some on the master teacher Helen Kemp. Kemp’s video, Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice is sometimes hard to find.

At Musicanet, browse through 143,000 choral works available for download, for free.

Singers.com is a wonderful site primarily for a capella singing, and it offers a ton of print resources in its sections on “Teaching  Kids How to Sing.”

Young People’s Chorus of New York City


  • Teaching Kids to Sing by Ken Phillips (Wadsworth, 1996).

  • Teaching the Elementary School Chorus by Linda Swears (Parker, 1985).

  • Choral Music Experience by Doreen Rao, Vols 1-5, (Boosey & Hawkes, 1987).

  • Choral Music for Children. (MENC, 1990).

  • We Will Sing! (Boosey & Hawkes, 1994).

Books for Music Teachers

Posted in Books for Teachers, Where-ever by P. Conrad on February 13, 2011

The following lists are not at all complete. Most of the following titles are either song collections or texts written for teachers of music. In addition there are trade books that illustrate a traditional song.

Check the on-line catalogs of the NY Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library for availability of these books and others. Typical call numbers for Music Education begin with 372. or 780.

To purchase books, see the mail order companies listed at the bottom of the Purchasing for Schools page. In many cases, clean used copies of texts can be found at very low prices on-line by checking at amazon or another online bookseller.

Song Collections:

Bradford, Louise Larkins. Sing It Yourself: 220 Pentatonic American Folk Songs (Alfred Publ., 1978) ISBN: 0882840622.

Choksy, L. & Brummit, D. 120 Singing Games and Dances for Elementary Schools (Prentice-Hall, 1987) ISBN: 013635038001.

Locke, Eleanor G. Sail Away (Boosey & Hawkes, 1988).

Johnson, Richard. Folk Songs North America Sings (1984), dist. by Hal Leonard.

Jones, Bessie and Bess Lomax Hawes. Step it Down (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1987).

Rao, Doreen. We Will Sing (Boosey & Hawkes, 1993).

Kenney, Maureen. Circle Round the Zero (MMB, 1975) ISBN: 0918812089

Erdei, P. & Komlos, K. 150 American Folk Songs to Sing, Read, and Play (9th printing, (Boosey & Hawkes, 1989) ISBN: 0913932043.

Trinka, J. (1996). The Little Black Bull and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games, and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 4 (CD and book), Folk Music Works. ISBN: 1-888895-41-1.

_______. (1989). John, the Rabbit and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games, and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 3 (CD and book). Folk Music Works.

_______. (1988). Bought Me a Cat and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 2 (CD and Book). Folk Music Works.

_______. (1987). My Little Rooster and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games, and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 1 (CD and Book). Folk Music Works. (ISBN for the 4-volume set is 1-888895-04-7.)

Some Books About Music Teaching:

Choksy, Lois. The Kodály Method I and II (3rd edition, Prentice-Hall,1999).

_______. Teaching Music Effectively in the Elementary School (Prentice Hall, 1991). ISBN 0138927049

Choksy, Lois, Robert M. Abramson, Avon E. Gillespie, and David Woods, Teaching Music in the Twentieth Century (Prentice Hall, 1986). An overview of Orff, Kodály, and Dalcroze.

Eisen, Ann. & Robertson, Lamar. An American Methodology. (Sneaky Snake Pub.,1996) by two Louisiana-based Kodály master teachers.

Forrai, K. Music in Preschool, 2nd edition, translated and adapted by Jean Sinor. (Brisbane: James Ferguson,1998). ISBN: 0958629706.

Frazee, Jane. Discovering Orff (Schott, 1987)

Houlahan, Michael. & Tacka, Phillip. Sound Thinking: Developing Musical Literacy, Vol. I and II. (Boosey and Hawkes, 1995) ISBN: 0913932531, a teacher’s guide for Kodály-based instruction.

Phillips, Ken. Teaching Kids to Sing (Wadsworth, 1996). ISBN 0028717953. Indispensable.

Rozmajzl, Michon, and Boyer, Rene C. Music Fundamentals, Methods, and Materials for the Elementary Classroom Teacher (with audio CD), 4th edition, Allyn & Bacon, 2005) ISBN: 0205449646.

Rozmajzl, Michon, and Castleberry, Rosalie. Rhythm and Melody Concepts: A Sequential Approach for Children (Pencil Point Press, 1995) ISBN: 1881641139.

Shehan-Campbell, Patricia, Carol Scott-Kassner. Music In Childhood, 2nd (Schirmer, 2001).

Steen, Arvida, Exploring Orff, (Schott, 1992)

Swears, Linda. Teaching the Elementary School Chorus (Parker Publ., 1985) ISBN 0138925143

Valerio, Wendy, H., Alison M. Reynolds, Beth M. Bolton, Cynthia C. Taggart, and Edwin E. Gordon. Music Play. (GIA Publications, 1998) Provides a basic understanding of Edwin Gordon’s ideas.

Weikart, Phyllis. Teaching Movement and Dance: A Sequential Approach to Rhythmic Understanding. (5th ed., High Scope, 2003) ISBN 1573791326

Wiggins, Jackie. Teaching for Musical Understanding. (McGraw-Hill, 2001).

Trade Books:

Basal Series (textbooks):
Major textbook publishers have their own graded textbook series for music education, and some teachers find these very useful. Each of the following series has a publisher’s website packed with learning materials, and teachers resources that anyone can access. Click on the title of any of the series listed below, to visit those sites.

Spotlight on Music (Macmillan, 2005).

Share the Music (Macmillan, 2003).

Making Music (Silver Burdett Ginn) SBG’s website is especially rich in resources and links of value for music teachers.