Lesson Plans

Looking for the right lesson plans for your music class?

NAfME members can use the My Music Class® library to find teaching ideas and resources. For almost 20 years, NAfME has been building a database of lesson plans. (You can search the archive here.)


With the new 2014 Music Standards, we’re relaunching and expanding that database. Members with great ideas for Standards-Based teaching can log on to My Music Class® to share their ideas with colleagues around the nation. The system will take you, step-by-step, through the way the standards are laid out, making it easy to post your lesson ideas. In the meantime, your Association is working on reclassifying and transferring the nearly 900 lessons already in the system. So, contribute to our profession! By sharing all our creative ideas as music educators, we can help focus programs for all our students. Log on to My Music Class® to contribute an idea and search the library of lessons as it grows.

Log on here to post a lesson plan.


With the My Music Class® tool, you can sort by subjects like chorus, orchestra, or mariachi and find your age group and topic. 

  • Martha Kallenbach

    I am looking for procedures for a Young 5’s general music class. These children are very active and can be a bit of a behavior issue. I thought a routine would be good but cannot find resources for that.

    • Betty R Wilson

      John Fiereabend’s First Steps in Music is a great curriculum for active 4 and 5 year olds. It is structured, yet very active and interactive. Children are constantly singing, moving and playing.

  • Judy Davis Turner

    I am looking for Middle School General Music plans for a sub that are not busy work!

    • Angela Reimer

      I have had my kids do music theory.net on their ipads/chromebooks and do the exercises namely note identification or key signature identification. Doing that for 45 minutes and then the sub can go around and get their scores.

    • Jenna M

      I recorded all the individual clapping rhythms for Lavender’s Rhythm Bingo on an interactive white board, and put the “key” on a second sheet so students can check their answers after the examples are played by the sub 3 times. Even if this means some students may not hear/mark the correct rhythm because they will be shown the answer, they still have to compare what they see on the board with what they see on their sheet. I have them work in pairs or trios. I would do level 2 with middle school or level 1 for students grades 3-5 (or later in the year grade 2). This is a great 20-30 minute activity that doesn’t require a sub with musical knowledge, but if you do get a music person, s/he can omit showing the key and can help guide their listening. Recording all 24 rhythms took about 20 minutes tops.

  • Audrey Carballo

    You can do one of two things. Have the sub read a story to the class. First, have each child fill out a grid of 9 squares, just like a bingo board. Yes-the students are going to play bingo but the have to listen to key words in the story. The sub writes 8 words from the story up on the board and has the kids fill out their own boards making sure the middle square is the “FREE” space.
    The sub reads the story. You have already underlined or highlighted the bingo words. Scatter the words throughout the story so the kids have to listen. You can have more than one winner. Each gets a pencil, candy, no homework pass, extra credit A-whatever you want to give as a prize.

    The second suggestion is to give out a blank gridded paper to all students. Have them make their own word search with words the sub puts on the board. Then, they fill in the rest of the blanks with letters. The sub collects them and re-distributes them to the class so no one gets the one they were sitting next to. They have to solve the word search. Remember, a word search isn’t busy work-it’s vocabulary reinforcement and higher order thinking. Students have to imagine the word backwards and vertically.

  • Marji Eldreth

    Along the lines of Audrey’s post; You can play musical bingo. I pick 5
    genres of music (or you can let the kids decide the genres; depending on
    their experience and grade level….). I list the 5 topics across the
    top of my board. I then ask for 10 songs, composers, and/or performers
    that correspond to that genre. I usually have a scribe for the board
    (someone with neat hand-writing!) and another 1 or 2 volunteers to write
    down every category and name on a piece of paper that they will cut up
    into strips to put in the hat. The kids love coming up with 10 things,
    and it shows you what they know about the genre. (This takes up a good
    bit of time, but it is a lot of fun for the kids!). After the list of 10
    is posted on the board, I give each student a blank piece of paper and
    have them form a grid of 5 by 5 squares with enough room at the top of
    the paper to write down each category for the columns. They then choose 5
    things from each category to put in their squares. Then we play bingo;
    but I call it ‘music!’. Instead of markers, I have the kids draw a
    symbol in different corners of their board for each game (this time, put
    a heart in the bottom left corner of your boxes…)

  • Samuel Gaetano Balistreri

    Hello everyone. I am a student in college trying to get my teaching liscensure. I was wondering if any one has taught clave rhythm to elementary grade levels before. If so, what kind of lesson plans did you create for that?