Favorite Books For Class

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    What are some of your favorite books that you use to supplement your main series, if you use one. Please include what series or method that you mainly teach with.


    We have the Share the Music series in our district. I mix in Kodaly and Orff, but consider myself a classic/fundamental teacher that will use any mode that gets my students to read music well but also be able to express themselves. I am not sure if you are asking about favorite literature books or method materials but my favorite books are the “Jeff and Randy” books. They teach in Clark County (Las Vegas) and their entire collection is quite easy to use and fun for all students with instrumentation, form, and so many good concepts in each lesson. You can’t go wrong with getting their books in my opinion.

    Another one to consider if you are teaching the pre-school children who are in special education would be “Babies Make Music, Too.” I use some of the pieces in their with even my Kindergarteners and my 1st grade classes. Plus, it can give you some good inspiration for different things to use with the older kids–as I read through some of the techniques it inspires me to think about how to adapt it at an older age to get some of my special education students/strategies students who are mainstreamed in my classroom involved in the lessons with differentiated instruction.

    I have a lot of literacy books that I use as well such as “The Jazz Fly” to get my students into learning about jazz and “Gobble, Quack, Moo” to teach verse/refrain, “Rap a Tap Tap” is great for rhythm as well as a great history lesson on Bojangles. Of course, everyone should have “Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin” and other ones like “I Know an Old Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello.” The list of literature that is out there for music teachers is endless…but there certainly are many favorites of mine.

    Hope this helps you get a start. Good luck!


    Artie Almeida’s Mallet Madness has a lot of ideas for incorporating picture books into your music class. I have used and like her ideas for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Click-Clack-Moo: Cows That Type; Caps for Sale; and Mortimer.

    I also use some awesome books to teach my students about musicians or songs. Most of these happen to tie into Black History Month and/or April’s Jazz Month, but you could use them anytime. There are tons out there, like:

    Duke Ellington, by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
    Ella Fitzgerald, by the same authors
    Satchmo’s Blues, by Alan Schroeder (kinda long-winded though)
    Rap A Tap Tap, Think of That! by Leo & Diane Dillon (Mr. Bojangles; from Mallet Madness Strikes Again)
    Follow the Drinking Gourd, by Jeannette Winter
    Moses, by Carole Boston Weatherford (I pair it with the spiritual “Go Down, Moses”)
    Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, by Chris Raschka (he also has a Giant Steps book that I gave as a gift to my dad but haven’t used in my classroom… yet)
    Peter and the Wolf, by Chris Raschka (nice to show the pictures to the students while we listen)
    The Star Spangled Banner, by Amy Winstead
    The Composer is Dead, by Lemony Snicket (Our local symphony played this for their free children’s concert a couple years ago and it’s awesome. The book comes with a CD and it’s a good sub plan for intermediate because all the sub has to do is play the CD and show the book. Lemony Snicket himself reads the story and the San Francisco Orchestra plays the music. It’s so fun!)

    My principal loves that I’m reading to classes, and I love reading almost as much as I love music, so it’s fun to share that with the kids. They almost universally love being read to, and it’s a more stimulating way to introduce them to the history behind songs and musicians than just lecturing.

    And finally, I can second how great the Jeff Kriske and Randy DeLelles books are. I have their GamePlan curriculum for 1st grade, and it’s a great jumping off point, although it’s expensive (which is why I only have 1st grade), and I supplement it with some other activities and folk songs. They have the Thyme for a Rhyme book which gives some ideas for methods of using nursery rhymes and songs in Orff-y ways. There are two more books after that one, but I don’t think they’re as good.

    For Pre-K, K, and 1st grade, Feierabend’s First Steps in Music is a good curriculum you could look into.

    Edited to add: We have Share the Music from like 15 years ago in my district. One of my colleagues uses it sequentially for K, 1, and 2, and not as much in intermediate. I use it sometimes to find ideas for songs and activities, but don’t use it sequentially much at all. I have found that the second grade Share the Music is the “best,” in that the songs and activities are appealing to the kids, sequenced pretty well, and aren’t too cheesy to me, either. But I still don’t go through the whole book in order, I just have found that I like a lot of the stuff in the second grade book.

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