Whether you are new to the profession, new to teaching music, new to working in your particular school or have been around the traps but just want to improve your practice, here is a list of some must-have resources (just in time for Santa...or perhaps those Boxing Day sales!)
If I had a penny for every time I have drawn a set of 5 wonky lines on my whiteboard as a make-do stave, I'd probably have a music teacher's salary!
Seriously though, this can be a time-consuming and sloppy process. The solution is to have a section of your whiteboard permanently ruled up as a stave!
They can be purchased online through most large-scale office suppliers.
Stretchy circle band
I love using my stretch circle band in the early days of Prep music (or Foundation, or Kinder or whatever you'd like to call it) to help my kiddos learn how to quickly and easily form a circle.
I start most of my lessons with some kind of circle-based song & game and so being able to quickly organise yourself into a class circle is an important skill for my students to develop.
Something to consider is how and where your students will sit. Do you have the traditional desks and chairs, or perhaps something a little more varied?
Wobble stools, bean bags, toad-stools and crates have all been popping up in trendy classrooms around the Pinterest-sphere of late and can easily be achieved on a low budget (check out your local op shops or chain stores like Target or K-Mart).
I love using my one special hand-made toad stool as a Star Student prize - it makes it extra special for the kids who get to sit on it.
Music Room Rug
I used to struggle with getting students to sit still when working at the whiteboard or reading a story, until I decided to mark the area I wished them to sit in with a rug.
This one from Joy Carpets makes for a fantastic (and thematically appropriate) classroom rug and can also work as a teaching aid!
These mini whiteboards from Daiso ($2 store) are so much fun! The kids love having a chance to feel like the teacher and they are a quick, easy and environmentally friendly way of doing writing tasks (say goodbye to churning out three trees' worth of worksheets a week!).
They can also be purchased with these cute magnetic marker pens with a whiteboard eraser built into the cap. Plus, the whiteboards themselves come with magnetic strips on the back so you can line up several examples of student work on your larger whiteboard for class reading tasks!
This resource has brought about experiences in my classroom that have made me feel the closest thing to pure joy I have ever felt.
I've written about it a few times before, incorporating use of the parachute into the Nutcracker or Two Teddies on a Trampoline, but the parachute can be used in so many songs or even just as a high/low vocalisation exercise!
Now, I may be a little biased, but I don't know where I would be without my big ole' box of puppets! Someone from the box makes an appearance almost daily and I highly recommend building up a collection of your own for various teaching purposes (check out the rest of the blog for some more ideas!)
A class set of ukes, a class set of xylophones and a whole range of auxiliary percussion equipment like triangles, egg shakers, tambourines, claves, castanets and guiros make for a rich and varied music program.
An invaluable tool for accompanying your students, especially in choir rehearsals, make sure you allocate room in your budget for getting your piano properly tuned and serviced annually.
Access to (ideally) a class set of iPads, or even just half a dozen for group work can open up so many doors to great technology-based lessons. Take a look at my Top 10 apps list for some ideas on how to incorporate more music technology into your classroom.
Speaking of technology, have you tried Makey Makey? I was put on to the idea by the wonderful Anna V, who has often used it in her secondary classroom to help students show their understanding of chord progressions or the pentatonic scale. Really, though, the possibilities are endless! This kit is a great hands-on way for kids to engage with music creatively and for those teaching in transdisciplinary programs such as IB this is an excellent way to connect with the STEM curriculum!
A number of texts to assist with planning lessons and sourcing materials to use are absolute essentials for any music teacher. A few favourites of mine include Rita Klinger's "A Guide to Lesson Planning in a Kodaly Setting" and Hoermann & Bridges' "Catch A Song".
It's also worth building up a set of resources which are ready-to-use by any Casual Relief Teachers you may have over the course of the year. Setting up a Sub Tub is worth it on those days you've woken up with the dreaded lurgy and can hardly face the thought of sitting up enough to reach your phone and call in sick, let alone type up alternative lesson plans for your sub.
Finally, find blogs and online resources like this one to keep finding fresh ideas and make you keep thinking about your practice and striving to improve it. Don't forget to subscribe to the Kodaly Crafts mailing list for a few freebies (including a game, a sewing pattern and a few worksheets!) and take advantage of our Christmas sale on Teachers Pay Teachers and Etsy!