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99 Music Workstations You are Going to Love


A HUGE list of Music Workstations for the elementary music classroom.  You are going to love these center ideas for pitch, rhythm, singing, composing, playing instruments and more.

I love using workstations in my classroom.  I wanted to share a list of some of my favorites, but I think I got a little carried away.  Here are almost 100 workstations that I love with links and explanations.  Enjoy!

Coloring

Color by Note  These activities are fun for students an allow them to show what they know by coloring their answers.  Some of these activities may take more than 10 minutes.
Writing Prompts   Perfect for workstations!  Students write an answer, a paragraph or a story based on the prompts.  Use regular paper or Chrome books and Google Classroom!
Composer Coloring Sheets  Although I often use these while listening to music, they work great in a workstation.  Even the big kids enjoy this!
Primary Writing Prompts   Younger students that may be pre-readers, need to be able to express their ideas with words and pictures.  These primary writing prompts provide space for both.
My Book of Mary Poppins. As a review after we have watched the movie (or portions of it), we color these books that highlight some key items in the movie.
Instrument Coloring Sheet This is probably pretty obvious.  Coloring sheets for instruments or for groups of instruments in their families are great for workstations.
Music Memory Book This is best when used at the end of the school year.  I usually have students work on the books for about half of a class period.  Next class, they finish them as one of the stations that I have set up.
Roll and Cover worksheets  Easy peasy.  Print and set in a workstation with some crayons and some dice.  Actually I use one BIG die and the group shares.  Fun!


Composing

I find that it is really difficult to complete a composing project in the small amount of time that students have in a workstation.  So, instead of doing an entire project, these centers allow students to compose by arranging.  Take a closer look:


Dynamics and Tempo

Candy Corn -Dynamics  This seasonal workstation is simple to do.  Students complete a candy corn puzzle that contains a dynamic term, symbol and definition.  Then, they copy that information to a chart.
A Dab of Music Learning - Dynamics and Symbols  I love dabbers and so do my students!  The set focuses on dynamics and music symbols.  I usually plan 2-3 worksheets for one center.
Dynamics Punch Cards  I have quite a few hand held hole punchers and they come in handy for this station!  Take a closer look by clicking on the link.


Instrument Families

A Dab of Music Learning- Instruments   Another dabber activity set.  This set focuses on instrument families and provides many opportunities for students to show what they know.
Instrument Matching Game  Use pictures of instruments or print this set to use to have students match pictures of instruments with the names of instruments.
Mystery Instruments  One of my favorite activities. I tell students to be sneaky detectives and not tell any other groups what instrument they think is the mystery instrument.  They fill out a "case file" that records the clues they discover. At the one of the center rotations I open the bag and show the class.  Using a different instrument, you could do this many times.
Clip It-Instruments Edition   Just add clothespins to these cards for an engaging workstation that reinforces instrument names and simple rhythm patterns.
Read It, Trace It, Stamp It  This station requires some letter stamps and an ink pad.  Get the washable kind of ink pads.  Trust me.
Dip Tray Family Sort  Using an inexpensive dip tray from the dollar store, this station is a breeze to set up.  Read more about it.
Instrument Coloring Sheets  Use these to reinforce your unit on instrument families.
Instrument Family Punch Cards  Which of these instruments is in the brass family?  Punch your answers with a hole puncher.  Fun assessment.
My Book of Instruments  These take a little bit of time to copy and assemble but are great for small group work or workstations.  Do one family at a time or all instruments at the same time.
Instrument Investigations  This activity takes 15- 20 minutes so you may need to plan a day of longer workstations to make this go well.
Misspelled Instrument Punch Cards  I think it is important that students learn to spell instrument names correctly.  I don't always feel like I have enough time during instruction, so I love adding these punch cards to a workstation rotation.


Movement

Yes!  You can do a movement center!  Set clear expectations and add music (or not) and these activities work so great in stations.  Student love them too.


Non-Pitch Percussion Instruments

Playing instruments is one of my students' favorite workstations and I understand why!  These station sets make playing instruments a pleasant and organized experience.  No, really.d


Pitch

A Dab of Music Learning - Intervals  These dabber activities are great for upper grades.
A Dab of Music Learning -Pitches   Drilling pitch names doesn't have to be boring.  These dabber activities are designed to be completed quickly.  That makes them perfect for workstations.  
Treble Clef Twister  There are many ways to do this, but essentially it requires a staff on the floor.  This could be one that you create with tape, one you already have on a rug or one that you draw on a plain shower curtain.  The link will take you to a sheet that I use as a spinner.
Musical Mneumonics  Another way to drill those pitch names is to have students create their own musical mnemonics.  
Bottle Cap Staff   I have collected hundreds of bottle caps from 2-liters of soda, water bottles, etc...  They make perfect note heads.  Take a closer look to see how it could work in a center.
Bottle Cap Pitch Sort  I also took some of those bottle caps and modge-podged some staves and notes on them.  Students sort them into piles based on their letter name.
Flashcards  - Yeah.  They are boring, but neccessary.  It seems that kids hardly ever use them anymore so maybe they will find them to be a novelty.
Worksheets   I know.  It sounds boring, but these worksheets are attractive and easily completed in the time that students have in a workstation.
Swat the Staff  Create a staff on the wall with tape.  Two students stand next to it, another calls out a letter from the musical alphabet.  The first one to swat the correct line or space wins!
Pitch Match Ups  Basically flashcards, but you match words spelled out by notes on the staff to the words.  Lots of fun designs.
Bop It/Simon Says  Melodic retention.  :-)


Reading

I almost always use my reading area as a stop in the workstation rotation.  Here are some links that might help you out with your reading area.
Classroom Library  Need some ideas for your reading area?  Check out this huge list!
Books for Primary Classes  This is a great list of books that your primary classes will love.
Men and Women of Jazz  Print and laminate the pieces of this bulletin board and include them at a workstation.  They contain short passages and students have time to read more than one during their center rotation.
Meet the Composers  Similar to the Men and Women of Jazz, this bulletin board set can become a reading station too.
Magazines - Do you subscribe to Music Alive or Music Express?  Leave a few copies in a crate and set it in the floor.  Instant workstation!


Rhythm

A Dab of Music Learning - Rhythm  Dab.  Dab. Dab dab dab.  Note values, musical math and more in this set.
Drawing Notes-lap packs  This link takes you to a blog post about Lap Packs.  I've used them with Kindergarten through high school.  For the littles, it is a great way to practice drawing notes.
Swat the Rhythm  We like swatting things in my classroom.  The link takes you to a few sets that I have created.  You can do the same activity with flashcards.  Lay them on the floor.  One student claps a rhythm that is on one of the cards.  The first student to swat the right answer, wins a point.  
Rhythm Blocks  Duplos and legos make great music workstations!  Check out this blog post to learn more.
Craft Stick Rhythms - Take craft sticks and use them to make quarter notes and barred eighth notes.  Students clap their "compositions" and then make more.
Roll and Cover  Roll and cover activities allow students to reinforce their knowledge of note names.
Musical Yahtzee  From Layton Music, this activity is great for small groups or workstations.  I laminate the score sheets when using them in workstations and add some music dice.  
Noodle Notes. I love pool noodles!  Learn about how to create noodle notes in this blog post.
Caterpillar Rhythms   Construction paper circles or paper plates become caterpillar bodies in this activity.  Add rhythm patterns or single notes on them and students build a caterpillar pattern.  The longer, the better!
Play Dough Mats  Laminate and just add play dough.  Students learn about notes and symbols through play.
Don't Break the Ice -take a Don't Break the Ice game and draw different notes on each block (quarter, half, barred eighths, 4 16ths, etc....).  Create a spinner with whatever note values you used.  Students spin and the tap out one block with that note on it until somebody breaks the ice.
Add it Up Rhythm Cards  Musical math!  This freebie can be used in many ways.
Note Value Punch Cards  This is another activity for hole punchers that can assess student knowledge.
Rap It Clap It Music Match It  This is an old faithful workstation for me.  Students match the syllables of themed words to simple rhythm patterns.  Perfect for a workstation.  I often do this activity with the whole group and use it in a workstation later.
Clip It Games  Clip it games require students to match words with a rhythm pattern that most closely matches its
Rhythm Pins w/Paint Chips  Cut the paint chips so that there are 4 boxes on them.  Draw single beat notes or rhythms on clothespins.  Students pin a measure on the paint chips, clap and repeat.
Candy Land (note differentiating)  Instead of using Candy Land for just color recognition, add music symbols, notes, pitches, etc... to the colors.  Fun!
Musical Jenga - Check out this awesome idea from the Music K-8 Idea Bank for creating a musical Jenga game.
Tracing Sheets  Get acquainted with notes and their values with these tracing sheets.  Great for younger learners.
Music Math Houses   I laminate these and use dry erase markers.  Students add up all of the musical math problems in colorful houses and check their own answers.
Note Knacks. These are great!  I have one student create a four beat measure and the others recreate it with the Note Knacks.  They are a little pricey, but worth it.
Dot Composing  This is a simplified way to compose using quarter notes, barred eighths or 4 16th notes.  Read more about it in this blog post.
Rhythm Blocks  Kelly Parrish from Rhythmically Yours makes these amazing rhythm blocks.  I use them for rhythmic dictation.  At a workstation, one student secretly creates a rhythm pattern and then claps it for their group.  The other students recreate that with their rhythm blocks.
Poison Rhythms. Using a lap top or table, I have students play poison rhythm just they way we do as a whole group.  FUN!  The link will take you to several different versions.


Vocal Stations

Vocal Explorations  -Vocalizations are a few workstation and let students be a little silly and creative.
Puppets and Books  Use puppets and some Wee Sing books at a station.  The goal?  SING!
Sticky Note Singing   Take a song that you are working to have memorized.  Cover part of it with a sticky note and try singing it.  Add another and try again.  Let your neighbor add the next one and try again.  It is a fun way to work on memorization and to get students singing at their center.
ABC Chart   This one is easy peasy to create.  Check out the blog post for a simple description of this activity.
Singing Sticks from Music Mom  These little singing sticks are great tools to reinforce Solfege or at my school to reinforce the pitch numbers of a major scale.  After using them with classes for a while, they can easily practice in workstation groups to sing patterns.
Singing Rocks   I love my singing rocks!  They really allow for improvisation and creativity.  After I have modeled this activity in class, students are able to do it in a workstation.  It is great to listen to them sing their imaginations out!
Blob Chorus - Ear Training  This is an app that is so fun that students don't realize they are learning!  Hurray!

STEAM

Xyloba   Engineer a marble run that plays a song with this awesome set!
Found Sounds  Collect some junk.  Put it in a box.  Let students become detectives, inventors and musicians.
Stikbot Animation  Animate a dance.  Choreography and green screen technology can create some amazing videos.
Spec Drums  There are so many ways to use Spec Drums in workstations:  exploration, composition, practicing simple folk songs and more!
Ozobots   Code these little robots to show the tempo changes of a piece of music.  Use the workstation time to have them practice creating paths that change speeds (or tempos!).
Makey Makey   My students always fight to be the first group at this station.  I add the instructions, a Makey Makey invention set and some random things for students to experiment with like fruit, play dough, hot dogs...whatever.  Students use these items to play a keyboard or drum on the computer.  I definitely recommend this activity!


Apps

There are SO many great music apps out there.  Here are a few that I think work really well in workstations.


Miscellaneous

Music Interest Inventory Punch Cards   This is a fun addition to workstation rotations at the beginning of the school year.  You can learn a great deal about your students.
Talk About Tunes   I mean, they are going to talk anyway.  Why not make it musical?
Carnival of the Animals  -Use a day of workstations to review Carnival of the Animals.
Peter and the Wolf - This set lets you expand your Peter and the Wolf unit in some fun and creative ways.
Star Spangled Banner   I use this every singing year with 3rd or 4th grade.  It is a great way to learn more about our national anthem, help students memorize it, learn the vocabulary and more.  I always plan a couple of class periods to do all of the stations in this kit.


Whew!  What a list!  If you loved these ideas, PIN THIS for later!
A HUGE list of Music Workstations for the elementary music classroom.  You are going to love these center ideas for pitch, rhythm, singing, composing, playing instruments and more.



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5 Great Apps for Music Workstations


5 Great Apps for Music Workstations- My students love these apps for composing, arranging and practicing rhythms and pitch names.  Try them in your music classroom!

I love including technology as one of the centers in my music workstation rotations.  Here are a few of my favorite apps for 3rd through 6th grades.


Flashnote Derby
This app provides a fun way to practice naming the pitches of notes.  It lets you select the notes you practice too.  When I use this at a workstation, I leave instructions about which notes to select.  This is fun and students will play it over and over again.

Treble Cat
Another fun way to practice the names of treble clef staff, this app is great for 3rd through 6th grades.  The game starts as notes slide across the screen.  The goal during each round is to "collect" notes of a certain pitch.  Engaging and simple, this is definitely a winner for centers!

Rhythm Cat
My students love this app!  I demonstrated it to the class before using it in a workstation, but it is perfect for iPads!  Students see several measures worth of rhythm patterns.  A tune starts and counts down to when students play along.  Students play the patterns by tapping on the screen.  They score points for accuracy.  I love that the app uses varying tempos and genres in the background music.  The rhythm patterns get more difficult as students progress through them.

When using it in a workstation, I have students start from the easiest level.  This prevents students from sitting down and starting on a difficult level and getting frustrated.


Incredibox
This is my students' favorite app.  They could create with it for our entire class period.  This app lets you create music by "arranging" a cool and funky group of beatboxers.  Creating loops, making musical decisions and sharing these with friends is only part of the fun.  I love the musical conversations that happen around this app.  You can use the web version, but I prefer the app because there are more options.


Staff Wars
I know.  I know.  You've already heard of this one.  It is so easy to use and students are extremely engaged when they are playing this game.  Many of my students download this app to their own devices at home so that they can practice.  Teacher win!!!  In this Star Wars themed game, notes fly across the staff and you shoot them down with your space ship.


If you like these ideas, PIN this for later!


5 Great Apps for Music Workstations- My students love these apps for composing, arranging and practicing rhythms and pitch names.  Try them in your music classroom!
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Magical Music Classroom Reveal

Back to school time is so exciting!  This year I decided to use a magical theme for my music room.  Not exactly magic as in wizards and spells, but more of a celebration of mystical, musical creatures.  This year I've decorated with unicorns, gnomes, dragons, mermaids (and mermen) and narwhals.  It has been a lot of fun!  Take a peek at my room.

 This is the front of my room.  I used some stone wall paper to create a castle using the two bulletin boards and the space above my Smartboard.
 As you enter the room I have a small table set up for pencils, singing sticks and other odds and ends that we may use as the school year goes on.

Dynamic narwhals, tempo mermaids and unicorn ensembles are the perfect addition to my Magical Music room!  They come separately or you can get them in a bundle too.



I upgraded my crayon storage boxes this year.  For the last five or six years I've used plastic travel containers for soap.  This year I decided to go up to index card boxes.  I love that there is a little bit more room.  I also added a little reminder to keep the crayons in the box instead of dumping them out.

I love to have a reference board up for the lines and spaces of the treble clef staff.  This year it features gnomes.  Take a closer look.




For the last three years I have had some kind of growth mindset bulletin board up in my classroom.  It is such a great reminder to students and also to me!  This year I used dragons to help students change their mindset.  The title (which is a little tricky to read with the glare) says "Is Your Mindset Dragon You Down?"


On the side of my room I just used a bit of the stone wall paper to add some interest. 

Positive song lyrics!  My kiddos love these and I'll catch them "getting" what song one of the posters if from and smiling.  Love that!  See them here.

This bulletin board will hold the titles of Songs of the Month.  I'll start with the "Star Spangled Banner" in September.  The border and bulletin board pieces are from Creative Teaching Press.



In this corner I store my Orff instruments, steady beat swords, pool noodle ponies, Boomwhackers and right now, my piano.

My ukulele storage is actually a drying rack from Walmart.  I padded it will pool noodles and added numbers on the noodles and on the ukuleles so that students know where to put their ukes.  


I love these mermaid themed borders but didn't have anything mermaid to hang up.  I took an old bulletin board, Meet the Composers, and gave it a new title.  I think it turned out great.

This is my reading corner.  I added some sequined pillows that add some sparkle.  I decided to sort a few of my books into categories this year.  I think that I may use them during centers time. 


I hope you've enjoyed a peek at my classroom.  You can find most of the decor items that I'm using in my classroom this year in this bundle:

If you like these ideas, you might want to pin this post for later!

Music makes MAGIC happen in your classroom.  See some ideas for decorating your music room with unicorns, narwhals, gnomes and dragons.






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Poison Rhythms


Poison Rhythm is one of my favorite rhythm activities ever.  Students are so completely engaged.  They will read and perform dozens of patterns over and over without complaint.  Read on to learn more about this exciting game.

How to play poison rhythm:

  1.  Choose a poison rhythm and write it on the board.
  2. Have students practice this pattern by clapping and saying it several times.
  3. Explain that once the game starts that they can’t clap or say this rhythm.  If they do YOU get a point.  If no one in the class claps or says the poison rhythm, the class gets a point.
  4. Erase the rhythm and either show flashcards (that have a few copies of that rhythm in it) or clap the rhythm and let them decide from just listening while you echo.

I decided that using the flashcards was cumbersome, so I created a digital version.  That was SO much easier.  The play is pretty much the same except the PDF walks you through the beginning steps and there’s a theme for each set of games.  

Take a look at this video to see how I introduce/review this game with a class:


There are MANY variations to this game.  You can do a quick search on Facebook or Google to see the variations.


Instead of just clapping the rhythms, I like to mix it up.  Sometimes we will use buckets and drum sticks, tubanos, other non-pitched percussion instruments, Boomwhackers and sometimes we turn our chairs around backwards, sit facing the screen and use drumsticks on the back of our chairs. AWESOME!

If you are interested in using my digital versions (that you could also print if you wanted) take a look here:  Poison Rhythms.




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Rhythm Cards for Rockin' Repetition


Use these simple rhythm cards to establish routine and improve rhythm and steady beat skills in your music classroom.  In music education the simplest ideas are the best. Your students will thank you for adding this activity to your music routine.


I love creating a routine at the beginning of my classes.  It helps students focus and gives me a second to handle questions and get things ready to go.  For some classes this is a hello song, echo clapping or a movement activity.  In this post I'll share one of my favorites.  Rhythm cards are the perfect way to get students thinking and moving in music class.

The rhythm cards that I am referring to have 4 beats worth of notation.  I copy the same card on front and back so that they are easier to use. One card has 4 quarter notes.  Another has two half notes and so on.

When using these cards I am reinforcing note values and sharpening skills that we will use in other activities to compose rhythmic ostinatos or melodies.  Students are able to feel the duration and this makes a strong connection.  Using this activity at the beginning of each or during each class for several weeks in a row has been a great skill builder!  I like to call it "rockin' repetition".

Use these simple rhythm cards to establish routine and improve rhythm and steady beat skills in your music classroom.  In music education the simplest ideas are the best. Your students will thank you for adding this activity to your music routine.


I wish this simple but brilliant idea was mine, but I actually learned about it from Kristin Lukow, music educator extraordinaire on the Music K-8 discussion list.  I've incorporated it into lessons for many years now and my students are better for it.  Thanks Kristin!

Here's what I do:
I choose a song with a medium to fast beat (which are much easier than slower songs) and start it as students are walking into music class.  They clap the pattern as an ostinato until I change the card.  That's really it!

Use these simple rhythm cards to establish routine and improve rhythm and steady beat skills in your music classroom.  In music education the simplest ideas are the best. Your students will thank you for adding this activity to your music routine.


This activity works great with my drums, classroom percussion instruments and different kinds of body percussion instead of just clapping.  Often we will do this with tennis balls or basketballs (if I can borrow some).  When we use balls with the cards here are the movements:

whole notes - count as you move it around your waist, back and then to your front.  Think of it as traveling around the world.
half notes - bounce so that the first part of the note is when the ball hits the floor and the second is when you catch it
quarter notes -same as half note but on each beat.  It helps to be closer to the floor for this one.
eighth notes-hot potato!  We pass it from hand to hand in rhythm.

Since this activity is used many times during the school year my play list is pretty diverse and always growing.  I include songs that I'll use with tennis balls, basketballs and with body percussion.  I can choose faster pieces for body percussion than the others.  Some student favorites:

"Can't Stop This Feeling" by Justin Timberlake
"Song of the South" by Alabama
"The Star and Stripes Forever" Sousa
"Best Years of Our Lives" by the Baha Men
"I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbit

You can check out my entire playlist for rhythm cards here:  Rhythm Cards Playlist on Amazon Music.

I know this is a simple idea, but once you've implemented it I think that you'll find it  is helpful not only for establishing routine, but for improving rhythm skills and steady beat with your students.  I'm so sure it will that I want you to have a copy of the cards for free!  Print out two copies and laminate the same pattern back to back.  Get the cards here: Rhythm Cards for Rockin' Repetition




Use these simple rhythm cards to establish routine and improve rhythm and steady beat skills in your music classroom.  In music education the simplest ideas are the best. Your students will thank you for adding this activity to your music routine.




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Pass the Chicken - A Game for Reviewing Anything

Looking for a quick and easy review game? Try Pass the Chicken! Great for any classroom, this blog post shows you how to play the game and gives you a free list of music themed categories to use. FUN for music class or any classroom.

Pass the chicken is one of my go to games when I need to review something or even when I just have a few spare minutes with a group.

Here's how to play:
1.Have your class stand in a circle.
2.One student holds the rubber chicken (or whatever object you want to pass).  
3.You say one of the categories from the included list.  
4.The student immediately pass the chicken to the left and the others continue to pass it as the one who was it says five things that fit the category.
5.If they name 5 whoever has the chicken when they finish is the next person who is it.  If they don’t, they have to come to the center of the circle and do the ”Chicken Dance”.  
6.They hand the chicken to the person on their left who is now it.  The play repeats.

When we are reviewing instrument families my categories for the game might be:
Brass Instruments
Percussion Instruments
Instruments with strings
Instruments that start with T
Instruments that have a reed

Sometimes I've planned a lesson that doesn't take as long as I think it will.  Other times I'm stuck with a group waiting for their teacher to pick them up.  Pass the Chicken is a great way to see what they know and keep them focused.  I keep a list of different musical topics near my desk so that I can refer to it when I can't come up with any ideas.




 Like this idea?  Pin it for later!
Looking for a quick and easy review game? Try Pass the Chicken! Great for any classroom, this blog post shows you how to play the game and gives you a free list of music themed categories to use. FUN for music class or any classroom.



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