Alphabet CardsMusic Mind Games” (Michiko Yurko, Warner Bros Publications) is an outstanding resource for any music educator, especially so if you’re planning on teaching any aspect of music theory.

With its emphasis on cooperative learning, hands-on games and ‘joyful learning’ the simple, focused and fun games can be used to teach everything from the basic music alphabet through to advanced triad building and interval recognition.

A simple resource mentioned is the alphabet note pack. These are typically small square cards printed with the letters A-G and available in a variety of colours. Michiko utilises them for a variety of games, including ‘Snake’ where students simply place them in order from A to G to learn the musical alphabet. I’m using them for recorder lessons, sight-reading and composition activities.

The attached resource is a printable pdf of cards. Each A4 sheet has six note squares. The 100mm cards are big enough for small hands to manipulate and  make efficient use of space on the page when printing. Note that the seven letter alphabets “wrap around” to the following sheet. Printing off the seven pages will give you six complete musical alphabets.

Music Alphabet Cards Download

Printing hint: Print out at 100%. You’ll lose a little of the cutting lines on the left, top and bottom margins but the cards will only require four cuts to create your cards.

Of course, if you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase them from the Music Mind Games website.

Socrative screenshotI saw the Socrative student polling app demonstrated at the Music EdnetDaytime‘ music conference.

Socrative is free (basic use) and consists of a teacher module where quizzes, questionnaires and resource materials are assembled and a class module where students logon (via the website or app) to take part in the poll.

Our demonstration had us answering questions about our music-technology abilities and our involvement in courses focusing on scoring for movies.

The app worked flawlessly, updating voting / scoring in real time.

Once home I tried out the teacher app (on iPad) and found it to be easy to use if perhaps a little bare-bones.

Socrative should prove useful in any curriculum area and could be used to gain student feedback, test basic concepts or administer assessment tasks.

The app provides a range of reports and the option for responses to remain anonymous. The help facilities are impressive, with a free pdf manual to make operation and quiz creation painless. Personally I liked the idea of the ‘Space Race’ the best; students are placed in teams which compete to race across the screen. Huge fun!

Socrative Website Blog Article

Socrative Manual Blog Article

music_overviewFirst term is program writing term. With existing courses in desperate need of alignment, I used the information on the Australian Curriculum site to create a short, easy to read summaries of the relevant Music Skills & Knowledge and Drama Skills & Knowledge. The summaries are in pdf format; contact me for the editable Word documents.

download R-8 Drama Skills & Knowledge

download R-6 Music Skills & Knowledge

Maverick Musicals My good mates at Maverick Musicals (who publish my musicals) have just updated their website and what a beauty it is!

Now, I must admit to nostalgia for the old site, after all, I designed and coded it, learning FrontPage, asp programming and design along the way.

But there was no easy way to bring this very 90’s looking (and functioning) site into the 21st century. And I was the first to admit that it was beyond my abilities, especially the web-payments side of things.

But Queensland web designers Fig Creative have risen to the challenge and delivered a crisp, clean, modern and easy-to-navigate website that’s a delight to use.

Maverick have always had a reputation for great customer service and the new website reflects this totally. If you’re a school looking for a show to put on, you won’t find a better range anywhere.

Just like before, you can download free samples of every play, musical, theatre-restaurant and classroom resource. But now you can order direct from the site for immediate dramatic-gratification. Play information is more readily accessible and there are clear descriptions of copying fees, royalties and performance costs on each page.

The old site did us well for many a year, but I’m so proud to see my musicals up on such a fantastic site.

Well done guys!


Here’s the latest songbook file.

orange-downloadCompass Rose Songbook

Compass Rose and the Birdnesters (Poster)

Compass Rose and the Birdnesters

Printable papers website screenshotPrintable Paper is a top resource for teachers – and students – with a huge range (1300+ and counting) of paper templates, graph paper, lined paper and music paper.

It’s all free, it’s all organised beautifully (just don’t click on the occasional ‘Start Download’ ad links) and there’s no registration needed.

Try these pages:

Graph paper – imperial and metric measurements.

Music paper – grand staves, tablature, chord charts and SATB

Handwriting practice paper – huge variety of line spacing, orientations

Calendars – monthly, weekly, perpetual

Templates – doorhanger, CD cover, postcards

Paper games – battleships, hangman, dot game, word ladder

Comics pages – three panel;, top action, grids

Storyboard template – small, medium, large, 4:3, 16:9

Teacher resources – attendance, grade book, lesson plans



As a music teacher, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that my singing voice is most definitely not up to scratch.

In fact ‘scratch’ is probably a fair assessment of the tonal range and pitch qualities!

I’ve tried a few iPad apps in the hope they might – at the very least – provide me with a little more accuracy when singing. Of the several I’ve tested, one stands out from the pack; ‘Erol’s Singers Studio.

Data. data and more data

To improve my singing accuracy I need feedback on how I’m going, and Singers Studio provides that in spades.

Match your pitch to the blue notes.

Match your pitch to the blue notes.

Vocal exercises feature standard music notation plus a ‘piano roll’ style display with a graphed line of your vocal (in realtime) and notes that turn gradually greener according to your accuracy.

Each exercise  ends with a percentage score for each note. Top scores are recorded as a point value: overall percent for an exercise multiplied by the number of octaves covered.

A ‘range’ graph gradually solidifies as you progress with the exercises.

The green 'blob' shows your (hopefully) widening vocal range.


A solid range of exercises are included in the app. I started on the ‘Beginner Program 1′ and there was enough material to keep me going for three weeks, until I changed to ‘Beginner Program 2′, an in-app purchase.

By this time I was so enjoying the app I bought all the in-app purchases, which still totalled less than one decent lesson!

It’s worth a hunt through the users manual in the help section, as you’ll probably discover a few things you didn’t realise the app could do, such as being able to slow down exercises, or set a key.

It’s also worth while reading the comments on the different sections from users, which range from ideas for improvements through to questions of technique and progress.

Best of all is reading Erol’s replies; thoughtful, helpful and professional. Just what you need in an app that is a teaching tool.

Singers Studio is brilliant, Erol is brilliant and although my voice isn’t brilliant, it’s not as scratchy as it used to be.



App: $14.99

  1. Ear Training for Singers – $3.99
  2. Beginner 2 – $0.99
  3. Intermediate 2 – $1.99
  4. Advanced 2 – $2.99
  5. Advanced 3 – $2.99


At its most basic, a drumkit rock rhythm can have just just four components: a snare drum hit on beats 2 and 4, a bass drum hit on beats 1 and 3.

The pdf  poster features eight variations on this idea, each adding a slightly more complex hi-hat pattern or bass-drum variation.

The bass drum is coloured red, the snare green and the hi-hat blue.

Small groups of students can play these patterns together. Allocate one student to the bass / snare pattern and a second to the hi-hat pattern. The hi-hat pattern can also be duplicated on the ride cymbal and (lightly) on the bell of the crash cymbal.

Before playing the patterns on the kit, have students practice using their hands and feet while sitting on chairs. Rehearse the counting patterns, particularly for the two last rhythms with the more complex bass pattern.

Download Button

Download Basic Rock Patterns Poster

My students love Advent calendars, especially the ones that include chocolates behind each door.

This year, for our End-of-Year Christmas Assembly, we’re performing an advent calendar song called ‘Christmas Countdown‘. No chocolates, but lots of fun anyway.

Christmas Countdown has six verses and six choruses. Each chorus proclaims the date and the number of days to go until Christmas. Each verse describes what is ‘hidden’ behind each door of the calendar. There are four ‘doors’ in each verse, making for a total of 24 items. (There’s lots of Maths at work here; ordinal numbers, counting up, counting down, summing to make 25 and more. What patterns can your students find?)

We’re performing the song as the interludes between other Christmas items (six verses does go on a bit…) but it’s the perfect song for involving lots of kids on stage. We’re making giant paintings to hold up showing each day but you could just as easily create a PowerPoint or act each ‘door’ out live. Puppets would be a good alternative too. Let your imaginative students ideas run wild on this!

There are four resources below. The PowerPoint is useful for IWBs but you can print out the lyrics  from the Word document. The piano score can be used for performing live or just to check how the words fit. (Some verse are a bit tricky matching the syllables to the notes.) The mp3 has all six verses with a small pause between each one.

Have fun and let us know how it all goes!

Resource list: