Elementary School Music

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).


Little Kids Rock

Posted in Band / Orchestra, Instruments by P. Conrad on May 16, 2010
Little Kids Rock is a national grant program that provides instruments and instructional methodology and resources for public schools whose populations are at least 50% eligible for free or reduced lunch.

To become a Little Kids Rock Teacher, you must:

. ………

  1. be a full-time public school teacher
  2. work in a public school with  50% or more students eligible for free or reduced lunch
  3. be able to attend the two-day workshop for your district
  4. have basic proficiency on the instrument for which you are applying
  5. be able to offer LKR classes at your school at least once a week.


Write this page . . .

Posted in Band / Orchestra by P. Conrad on May 16, 2010

school band

Jazz band, strings ensemble, winds, “school of rock,” full orchestra — this is an important category. However, this space will remain mostly empty unless a teacher volunteers to create the first post.
If you’re interested in doing it, you can use the other categories as a model. Post a draft and it will be edited and styled and set up with active links to any sites or resources you suggest.

picture © Lawrence Migdale

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P.S. 22 Chorus performances on YouTube

Posted in Choral Music by P. Conrad on July 23, 2009


Take a look and listen at some videos of the elementary school chorus at P.S. 22 in Staten Island, including the very strong solos by their young singers.

This is an example of a chorus that uses very up-to-date repertoire — without resorting to karaoke-style unison performances with a digital track.

They have a lot of performances available online at the P.S. 22 Chorus YouTube Channel, and also a blog. On SchoolTube you can watch their rehearsal of the Suzanne Vega song “Language.”

Technology, collaboration and music learning

Posted in Music Technology by P. Conrad on July 16, 2009

Classroom 2.0 is a site where people share and discuss their ideas for using Web 2.0 tools in school, and there’s a section devoted to teaching and learning music.

The term “Web 2.0” refers to the increased interaction between people who post material online and people who look at it, through forums and blogs, social networking, and through online tools for collaboration such as GoogleDocs

and images

For elementary-age children these can be effective ways to present and demonstrate their learning and their achievement, in ways that can be shared with a broad audience.

YouTube is not generally appropriate for all ages, but has some impressive work by the chorus at Staten Island’s P.S. 22.

Teaching the Groove

Posted in Band / Orchestra, Lesson Planning by P. Conrad on June 19, 2007

Two related websites present valuable resources and reading for music teachers. These are both creations of a veteran music educator and ethnomusicologist, Charles Keil, who worked for a long time in the Buffalo NY schools system, and now lives in Connecticut. Music Grooves describes itself as “an adventure in scholarly and personal dialogue.” Born to Groove is a full-length on-line book by Charles Keil and Patricia Campbell, with accompanying discussions.

Do not be put off by terms such as “groovology” or chapter titles like “From Wombdrum to Earthdance”: the book contains a great deal of very valuable material for teachers.

Some of the chapters in Born to Groove (which open as printable PDF pages on your computer) are heavy in philosophy and statements about the power of music and dance to heal the world’s wrongs. But if you’re looking specifically for teaching methods, you won’t be disappointed by “Section 4: Show Me How to Do Like You Do.” Or this audio segment on teaching Simple Samba by Charles Keil .

Keil and and his colleagues have worked extensively on the concept of the “groove” and on ways to teach salsa and samba rhythms to young people. The two websites contain a great deal of reading as well as audio, video and teaching resources, along with the discussion forums.

In Buffalo, Keil was a founder of an organization called Musicians United for Superior Education (MUSE), which (inevitably) also has a website.

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