Interactive Music Staff & Music Note Display

Interactive Music Staff & Music Note Display

This year my husband and I created interactive staff displays for both our band room and our choir room.  Here’s our “how to” blog post for creating this great simple classroom tool.

Interactive Staff Display Step 1

Step One: Print out or make a staff and note heads.

You can buy my printable staff & notes HERE. This includes treble & bass clef and it comes with appropriately sized notes for fitting properly upon the staff. There are 4 different types of note heads included: Boomwhacker colors with letters, Boomwhacker colors without letters, B&W with letters, & B&W without letters.

Print out however pages of staff you want (I usually use three). Trim the edges of the page so the black lines will line up, then tape them together. Cut out the note heads. I would recommend laminating everything to make it all more durable.

OR you can absolutely make a staff and notes out of construction paper or whatever else!

Interactive Staff Display Step 2 – Make it interactive.

Idea One: Magnets
If your whiteboard or chalk board is magnetic – OR if you have a large cookie sheet or ANYTHING magnetic in your classroom! I purchase small round magnets from the local department/craft store or here’s an Amazon Affiliate Link to a small bunch.

I use hot glue to attach the magnets to the note heads (you HAVE to laminate them if your using this method!). Tape the staff up against the magnetic surface and you’ll be able to place the note heads anywhere on the staff. This will allow you and/or students to make brief melodies, do some note name quizzes, work on proper note placement – etc!

Idea Two: Hook & Loop
Apply hook & loop dots to the note heads & the position you want them placed on the staff.  You can purchase these at almost any department store OR – I have had great luck with this budget off brand (Amazon Affiliate Link) – You get a TON of dots for SUPER cheap, and they work exactly like the brand name ones! I use the clear dots ON the staff itself so they are less visible when not labeled, and the white/softer dots on the back of the note heads (so you won’t see the white).

This method will give you less flexibility with the overall display as notes will only be able to be positioned in the places you put the hook & loop on the staff (not anywhere like with the magnets). Maybe that is your goal though, to help students understand where the notes are properly placed! If so – this method should work well for you!

How can I use this in my music classroom?

This can be used for SO MANY things in the music classroom.  One of my favorite activities is to do a bell ringer as students are entering the room. I randomly pass out notes to students and before they sit down they have to place their notes in the correct position on the staff. Super simple! Brief composition activities – short note name quizzes – word of the day activities – really anything you can think of!

Hopefully you can find some uses for this in your classroom! Thanks for reading!

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Music Note Manipulatives & Music Note Activities for Early Music Learners

Music Note Manipulatives & Music Note Activities for Early Music Learners

Music Note Manipulatives

Music Note Manipulatives for Early Music Learners

Here’s a really quick way to make some easy, durable, and cheap music note manipulatives. I used craft foam sheets – you can find multicolor packs in most craft aisles or here’s an Amazon Affiliate Link to some to order!

Craft Foam

Music Note Manipulatives for Early Music Learners

I cut out note shapes out of the foam using the colors as close to Boomwhackers as I could. I only used note heads as my goal for this activity was a VERY basic intro to composition and learning to read lines from left to right. There was no need for stems or flags as I’m not focusing on rhythm concepts at this time. We will do our best to play our songs with a steady beat, however! The notes don’t need to be perfect, and as you can see, mine are a bit rough – but they do the job!

Freebie Music Note Manipulative Product on TpT

Another option – I made a quick Freebie of manipulatives you can print and cut out. Music Note Manipulatives Freebie Link

Personally I prefer the foam cut outs because they are more durable, unless you laminate the printed version.

But if you do download this free product, do me a favor and leave us a review on our store if you found it useful!!

Music Note Activities for Early Learners

Placing music note manipulatives.

I use these with my own 3 year old toddlers to do some very basic composition and note reading activities. We take turns picking what color comes next, typically they want to just put them in rainbow order ūü§£. Again, my goal for this activity was a VERY basic intro to composition and learning to read lines from left to right. I have varying degrees of success with my three year olds, but I don’t expect a ton from them at this age. This activity can work well for pre-school, kindergarten, and even the first few years of grade school!

Write out a tune with the color notes.

Another activity I do with my toddlers is to “write out” a melody they know. So I’ll place the notes in the order of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then play it for them and work on melody recognition.

Other good songs to do: Row Row Row Your Boat, Mary Had a Little Lamb, This Old Man, etc.!

Thanks for reading!

I hope this can be useful in some way to you in your classroom or with your own children! I’m hoping to do some more activities like these in the coming months so if you liked this be sure to follow us on our socials (top and bottom of page) to stay updated. Thanks!!

The 5 Minute Challenge A Music Classroom Activity

The 5 Minute Challenge A Music Classroom Activity

The 5 Minute Challenge a Music Classroom Activity

The 5 Minute Challenge is something I do with my students K-12, though mostly with K-8.  We use’s Note Identification Exercises.

You can customize them however you would like in the top right corner.

 I give the students 5 minutes to get as many correct answers as possible. We make a loop around the classroom and students go up to the screen, select the answer, then move along the loop. This can also be a great break when students need to move a little bit. BUT it is still reinforcing concepts!

If management becomes an issue, I simply bring a halt to the loop movement but the timer continues!

I have each grade do an exercise that is appropriate for their level.  For these scores, my Kindergartners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders did ONLY the treble clef notes.  3rd and up did the entire grand staff!  As you can see, third grade is a little slow – but they are accurate!  7th grade is currently leading the challenge. You can really use any sort of quick paced review activity for this challenge!

This is just a great activity to promote a little healthy competition among my classes.  I will say, that my high school choir does not do this very often, so please don’t judge me for their lower score!  As you can see, they don’t even have a regular spot on the board!  We’ve been swamped with contests this time of year, so they rarely get to do the 5 Minute Challenge.  Also – Kindergarten is on the bottom because they originally weren’t in the competition, later when they started learning the notes of the treble clef (yes, they CAN do it!) they joined.

I keep track of my scores on the white board.

Creating the tracker for The 5 Minute Challenge Music Classroom Activity

Your tracker can be as simple as you want – you don’t even need to track if you don’t want to! I personally think a little healthy competition can be a good thing! All of the materials I used to create my tracker can be found easily at your local dollar store or craft store.  I have provided some links to Amazon resources if that works easier for you!  These are affiliate links so I will receive a small bonus if you buy through them!

I created the chart on the main whiteboard in my classroom using painters tape. I used a foam sheet to create the arrow marking the current leaders, and hot glued a small craft magnet on it so it’s easily movable.

This is a great activity to give students a break from whatever you’re doing. It gets the moving but they are still LEARNING and/or reviewing in the process! Here’s some other fun activities for music classrooms! Including my FREE dynamics posters shown in the picture above!

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Music Classroom Tour

Music Classroom Tour

I have a bit of a unique classroom – it is half of what used to be one HUGE room. ¬†A few years before me, teacher situations changed. ¬†They took the music room, cut it in half and made separate band and choir rooms. ¬†So, to get to my choir room, you actually have to walk through the band room – it’s a little different but it works! ¬†Also, when I took these pictures we were prepping for a concert, so I had risers out in my room. ¬†Typically I have chairs set out in rows. ¬†But here is my classroom!


Music Classroom Tour Continued

I love my back wall! ¬†My mother-in-law let me borrow her Cricut a few summers ago. ¬†I cut out a ton of music notes. ¬†Several of them didn’t survive the first year, but the ones that are still up have been on the wall for about 2 years now – not bad! ¬†I also love my Boomwhacker storage (velcro on the wall, small strip of velcro on each boomwhacker – works great).


Here is the front of my classroom. ¬†This is where I spend quite a bit of time (the piano, the Smart Board, etc.) ¬†You can also see our tubanos which we just got this year through a big Donor’s Choose project! ¬†I leave the left side of my board dedicated to keeping track of our 5 Minute Challenge Scores (read more about that here!) ¬†On the left side of my white board is my dynamics display. ¬†These are great to have front and center in the room to help forgetful students. ¬†Purchase them from my Teachers Pay Teacher’s Store HERE!


More Music Classroom Tour

Up next is one of my students’ favorite parts of my room – Dave, the minion! ¬†I drew the minion and colored him in by hand (much cheaper than a big print). ¬†This is another Pinterest find!


This isn’t the prettiest part of my room – but it is definitely practical. ¬†Here is the obligatory folder rack. ¬†I get so much space and function out of this beast! ¬†Choir folders, microphones for jazz choir (keeps them organized and protected), and my elementary folders. ¬†Each class has a color folder (K=Red, 1st=Orange, etc.). ¬†Each student has a folder with a number. ¬†When my students need to get their folder they go to their slot number and find their color folder. ¬†So each slot will have 5-6 different colored folders in it. ¬†It let’s them find their folders quickly without taking up a ton of space!


This is my “stuff” wall. ¬†We have all our ballots from contests throughout the year, pictures from our events, our calendar, and our classroom rules. ¬†You can purchase my classroom rules from my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE!


I can’t remember where I came up with this next idea – maybe it’s my idea originally – who knows! ¬†On the back of my door I keep all of these little signs to tell my students what they need to bring when the come in to the classroom. ¬†I put the signs I need on the opposite side of the door, they take a look and grab what they need for class without me having to say a word. ¬†Works like a charm!¬† I now just use a whiteboard and write what the students need to grab when they come in the room!


Only a few stops left!  This is my word wall and solfege display.  Sorry for the glare in the pictures!  Purchase my solfege display from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!


Our last stop is on our way out the door. ¬†I have the students line up at this door before they leave. ¬†If they’ve had a good day – their behavior was “Grand” and they get to move up in the staff. ¬†Read more on my Grand Behavior system on my other blog post by click HERE!


That’s it folks! ¬†Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoyed!

Grand Behavior Music Classroom Management

Grand Behavior Music Classroom Management

Music Classroom Management Tool

We have all seen the “NOISE” post on Pinterest (when the students are making noise – they lose a letter).  I’ve taken that and combined it with a behavior chart!  I call it “Grand Behavior”.  It’s perfect because it also teaches the students about the grand staff!

When a class is misbehaving, or their behavior isn’t “grand” – they lose a letter at the whiteboard (bottom picture).  If later they show me behavior that is “grand” they can earn a letter back.  At the end of class time, if they still have all of their letters they have had “Grand Behavior” and they get to move up a spot on the grand staff.  I have them all start at the lowest line of the bass clef.  When they get to Middle C, they earn an incentive (center day, treat, game).  When they get to the top F of the treble clef, they also earn an incentive (similar).  After that, they have to start all the way back down at the bass clef. I usually get a little healthy competition among the classes!

Removing a letter from the whiteboard is a huge visual that all students notice without you having to use your voice.  As music teachers – we all know our voice is precious!

Creating this music classroom management tool.

All of the materials to create this can be found easily at your local dollar store or craft store.  I have provided some links to Amazon resources if that works easier for you!  These are affiliate links so I will receive a small bonus if you buy through them!

I created the chart using a whiteboard, painters tape, colored foam sheets, small craft magnets, and wooden letters. The foam sheets make very durable items.  I attached magnets on the back with hot glue.  These have lasted 2+ years.  I spray painted the letters black , and hot glued magnets to the back of them.

This is a wonderfully simple visual cue for classroom management that I found to be a very effective tool for elementary music classrooms! Here are some other great resources for elementary music classrooms!

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American Folk Songs for the Modern Classroom

American Folk Songs for the Modern Classroom

American Folk Songs for the Modern Classroom
A collection of 20 folk songs and sing-along audio files to be used in any classroom.


Hello readers!  I received a grant from the Mary Chilton DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Foundation to create a songbook of folk songs to be used in the modern classroom.  American Folk Music is an integral part to America‚Äôs culture and heritage.  Sadly, many of these songs are no longer being taught as they are seen as ‚Äútoo old,‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúnot standards aligned.‚ÄĚ  These songs are a huge part of our culture and used constantly within other compositions.  Students are missing out on the experience of them simply because they do not know them!

Check it out at my Teachers Pay Teachers page.  It is my featured free download.

These files are 100% free to you and ready to use.  Simply download and enjoy!

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