Themes & Variations
Musicplay 1 Lesson - March week 2
How Much Time do you spend Lesson Planning?
Whether you are a first year teacher or a veteran with 30+ years experience, you probably spend a good chunk of time each week planning your lessons. Here's a lesson from Musicplay 1 for March week 2. With some modifications you can use for K, 1st or 2nd grade --- this week!  Like all Musicplay lesson plans, treat the plan like a menu:  choose the songs you want to teach, then choose the activities to do with that song.  I plan for two 30 minute lessons, so if you have your students less than that, reduce the content.  If you use Musicplay, much of the planning is done for you!  The new online resource is only $149.95/year (USD) - and that's for your entire school!  Create a new account to try it free for a month!
March - week 2:
Musical Concepts:   
  • beat  
  • practice  ta, ti-ti
  • so-mi and prepare do
New Songs:                                                  Concept:
78. Bee Bee Bumblebee                               smd
79. Bringing Home my Baby Bumblebee     fun
80. Lucky Leprechaun                                 St. Pat's
  • Rhythm - listen, clap and say activity in the Rhythm Practice section of
  • Solfa: echo sing so-mi-do patterns (Solfa Practice section
Action Song - Bringing Home my Baby Bumblebee
This is a silly fun song for kids. (Talk about how you'd never really squish up a bee!)
Singing Game - Bee Bee Bumblebee
Open the Concept Slide (shown here)
  • have the students read and clap the words of the song, phrase by phrase

1. Bee bee bumblebee
2. Stung a man upon his knee
3. Stung a pig upon his snout
4. I declare that you are out.
ask the students which phrases are the same (2,3)
  • which phrase is similar (4)
  • which phrase is different (1)
Sing the song phrase by phrase and have students echo.  If you are a non-specialist and aren't comfortable singing alone, play the song pausing after each phrase and have the children echo.  At you have the choice to play a lyrics movie, a notation movie or play the audio from the concept slide.
Play the game!
This is a passing game.  Choose one child to be a bee keeper.  The child takes the bee around the circle showing the beat on the outstretched hands of the children in the circle.  At the end of the song, the child that is “out” becomes the next bee keeper.  I found two bees of contrasting size.  One was a giant bee that we named “Buzzy.”  He sang the song in a very low voice.  The other bee was a tiny bee that we named “Buzzina.”  She sang in a very high voice.  Each time a child went out, we changed bees and changed voice levels.  For some children, this drastic change in voice levels was a huge help in finding their singing voices. There is a kids demo video of this game at  I want to make a new video of the game with a variation - whoever is out takes the bee and runs around the outside of the circle back to their place, buzzing like bee.
If you have not labelled ta and ti-ti, use the interactive rhythm activity at to label it.  If you have, this is great reinforcement and practice.  The first three activities given follow:
1.  Point to the beat as you sing the song
2.  Clap the words as you sing the song.
3.  Is it the beat or the rhythm?  Play the beat/rhythm switch game.  Make two cards that say beat or rhythm.  Sing the song.  If you hold up or point to the "beat" card, students step the beat.  If you hold up or point to the "rhythm" card, students clap the words.  Assess using this activity.  Can students differentiate between the beat (the steady pulse) and the rhythm? (the way the words go) .If you select the correct box, it goes green.
4.  Is it one sound or two?  The activity is given twice - first with icons, then with notes.  If your students have done this many times already, skip the icons and go right to the notes.
5.  Create a new pattern with creepy crawlies
(If you have two lessons/week, leave the last two activities until lesson 2 so you have time to play Lucky Leprechaun)

Choose body percussion or unpitched instruments to play your rhythm, and choose an activity
1 - use your rhythm as introduction or ending to the song
2 - use your rhythm as an ostinato while you sing the song
3 - sing the song as an A section and new rhythm as a B section 
If you have Orff instruments, teach the very simple Orff arrangement from the Orff Source and you have a lovely little performance piece.

 Singing Game for St. Patrick's Day - Lucky Leprechaun
Game Directions: Have the class form a circle. Choose one child to be a leprechaun. The leprechaun marches around the inside of the circle. At the end of the second phrase the leprechaun stops in front of a child. They join hands and they “jig” - left heel forward, right heel forward, etc. The children in the circle should do a “sailors horn pipe” at the same time. (Fold arms and jig in place) Now two children march in the inside circle. They choose two more partners and jig again. Continue with four, then eight, until the whole class is chosen. If one or two are left out, they become the new leaders.  There's no kids demo movie for this song yet, so if you have a video of your students playing the game, please send it to!
Download Musicplay PreK Part 1 - Canadian Site
USA Site - Download Musicplay PreK Part 1
Easy Ukulele Teacher's Guide - C tuning      
Join the Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook - you'll get the earliest notifications about additions to the website
LIKE our Musicplay Page on Facebook - another way to get notices of workshops, and new activities on
Sing Canada's History - Canada Site
American teachers - if you want to do a multicultural musical about one of your neighbouring countries, this is a great collection to use to learn about the history of Canada. USA SITE
 This is a great resource to use in a performance for Canada's 150th birthday!
$10 Recorder Packages, Recorder Kits, Accompaniments & More!
a Handel or a Yamaha Recorder, The Recorder Resource Student Book AND CD - order 10+ Packages and we pay the tax and shipping.  
Link to $10 Package - HANDEL GERMAN RECORDER 
Link to $10 Package - Yamaha Baroque Recorder
Recorders, Books and other packages are available! Visit and select Recorders.
USA Teachers - Link to West Music Recorder packages
Recorder Resource Kit 1 with PPTS:  (Canada)
Recorder Resource Kit 1 with PPTs: (USA)
Recorder 1 Orff & Piano: (Canada)
Recorder 1 Orff & PIano:  (USA)

Learn and Play Recorder App has all the songs in the Recorder Resource Kit!    
Recorder App ITunes .         Recorder App Google
Recorder Fingering Charts:  (Canada)
Recorder Fingering Charts:  (USA)
Combined Classes?  Do you have combined classes?  For teachers with Grade 4/5 combined classes, we've created duet parts for the Recorder Resource 1.  If you have an older version of the kit, I'm happy to give you the duet parts.  Send a photo of the teacher's guide from the Kit to to request the free duet parts.
LINK to FREE RESOURCES:  Jan. 25 Free Recorder Resources!
The Recorder materials are also available as part of our online resource: .  For a limited time, new subscribers will get 1 month free!  It's a great time to try out the site!
The Musicplay K-6 Curriculum is sequential, affordable and aligns with state and provincial curriculum from Texas to Ontario!  To learn more about this curriculum view our webcast:
While Musicplay is affordable, we realize that some schools have no budget at all except what the music teacher can fundraise for!  Apply for a grant to assist with the purchase of Musicplay!
Our new online resource: is an amazing resource and complement to the teacher's guides.  Try it free for a month.  If you or your entire school district would like a longer trial period, email to request a longer trial.  If you have zero budget, email to request a discount code to help you subscribe to the site.
8th Annual Artie and Denise Music Symposium - July 2017, Las Vegas
We're still confirming locations, but hope to have the 8th annual in Vegas, on or around July 25-26th.  Details will follow in the Musicplay Newsletter, and the Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook.
Canadian Office
#2-4664 Riverside Drive
Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6Y5
US Office
PO Box 309
Danville, WA, 99121
(real people answer our phones!)
Denise Gagne does many workshops each year.  She's just completed the following sessions at the Missouri MEA:
- Special Ed Students in the Music Class (new session)
- Reading Music is Easy!
- Engaging the Early Learner (new session
At the Ohio MEA she presented these sessions:
- Listening Fun with Scarves, Ribbons and Tennis Balls
- Sensational Singing Games
Upcoming Workshops:
North Central Teachers Convention
- Sensational Singing Games
- Rhythm Instrument Fun
- Listening Fun with Scarves, Ribbons and Tennis Balls
Central Alberta Teachers Convention
- Super Fun Singing games and Activities for K-2
- Super Fun Singing games and Activities for Gr. 3-6 classes
Calgary City Teacher's Convention - Denise will be at St. Mary's High School for a full symposium - 8 fun sessions on Thursday and Friday
Super Fun Lessons for K-2 Music Classes
Super Fun Lessons for Gr. 3-6 Music Classes
Rhythm Instrument and Reading Fun
Ukulele (and Guitar)
Listening Fun with paper plates, parachutes, tennis balls and more!
Music Around the World
Recorder and More
Rounds, Canadian Folk Songs and Choral Music,
GETCA - Greater Edmonton Teachers Convention
Ukulele Fun - with Alan Choromiac
Listening Fun with paper plates, parachutes, tennis balls and more!
- Sensational Singing Games
Mighty Peace Teachers Convention
Denise is presenting 3 sessions, and Christie Noble and Tracy Stener are presenting 3 amazing sessions using the Making Music Fun series.
For Workshops with
Denise Gagne
Christie Noble and Tracy Stener - 
Dan Fee - 
What else is new at Themes?

Easy Music Theory is a music theory book for beginning band, choral, general music classes or for teachers who teach private lessons.  A class set of 25 is only $100 - $4 each.  You can't photocopy a set of theory worksheets for $4!  The teacher's guide includes multiple choice tests that correlate to the sections of the student books - your assessment is done for you!
Easy Guitar Songs - Teacher's Guide and Student Books

The Easy Guitar Teacher's Guide and Student Book  
is a great song collection to teach young beginners to sing and strum on the guitar.  The teacher's Guide includes introduction to guitar, music, lyrics, chords and chord charts. It includes 25 folk songs with perf/acc CD, Digital Resources.  Kids want to play pop songs - so we've included  links to 25 very easy pop songs on YouTube that your students can play with.  Order a classroom kit for $100 that includes a teacher's guide and 25 student books.  The student books/CD are only $5  ~ you couldn't copy the book/CD for that!
Know Your Note Names
Learning the letter names of the notes is a very helpful skill for students who are beginning the recorder.  

Includes 50 reproducible pages of kid-tested activities to help your students learn their note names in the treble and bass clef. A wide variety of reproducible activities are included: create a word, matching, silly stories, crosswords, games and flashcards.
We've created five great apps for iPad or Google devices.  If you have a class set of iPads, volume purchasing is available for these apps.

Vocal Warm-ups for Singers or Choir
This app is based on the warmups book, "Strictly Warmups" by Kerry Heisler.  The warm-ups in this collection are organized into five sets.  Each set includes a physical warm-up, breath awareness, then five minutes of a variety of mid-range warm-ups. 
Vocal Warmups - ITunes
Learn and Play Recorder has everything that you need for your beginning recorder classes.  
Recorder App ITunes
Recorder App Google

Rain Rain Story -  is a sound story book that uses the Rain Rain Go Away song, and a poem for students to accompany.  This app includes ear training activities and instrument exploration.   Rain Rain Story app  (iTunes)       Rain Rain - Google
Note Name Match Game -  10 levels of Memory to match notes with their letter names.  Great for recorder students, piano lessons, beginning band.
Note Name Match Game (iTunes)                 Note Name Memory (Google)
 Learn and Play Recorder 2 is now available for iTunes and Android devices!
This app gives your recorder players 24 songs for two part soprano with optional alto.  Naming notes is reviewed, now with interactive practice!  Counting music is reviewed, with an interactive name the note value activity.
The full score with both regular alto and transposed alto for teachers to project is included.  
 Learn and Play Recorder 2 App (iTunes)     Google Play- Learn Recorder 2
Note Name Smash: Kids love to break things.  In this app, choose the notes to practice in treble or bass clef.  Every correct answer smashes a hole in the wall!
Only .99 for an engaging way to practice note names on iTune or Google devices. 
Themes & Variations  •  #2-4664 Riverside Drive  •  Red Deer, AB T4N6Y5
Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Preferences    Send to a Friend    Report Spam
Powered by MyNewsletterBuilder
Share on Facebook Bookmark and Share