Teaching Music Made Easy for the Classroom Teacher

If you are a classroom teacher I understand how teaching music can be very daunting but I can tell you that I was in your shoes 10 years ago.

Without having any university training in teaching music I just happened to be the closest there could be to a Classroom Music Teacher in my rural school because I had learnt Piano, Clarinet & Saxophone in High School. To make things easy on myself I went about finding a developmental curriculum that was easy to use and understand with minimal background in music teaching.

Musicroom_Book7_cover_300I stumbled across a fantastic Australian resource ‘Music Room: A developmental classroom music program‘ by Bushfire Press. At the time they had only published level 1 & 2, now seven years later we have 7 levels in the series and Book 7 was awarded ‘The Best Primary Teaching Resource’ at the Australian Educational Publishing Awards 2012.

This program has been a saviour for many classroom teachers & starting our specialist music teachers to help us teach music across the Primary Years. Many experienced Music Educators also use it compliment their program and as a relief teacher resource. I know from personal experience my relief teachers always comment how easy the resource is to use and that it puts them at ease because of the simple layout & instructions.

I a previous paragraph I used the word ‘we’, this is because six years ago I contacted Bushfire Press when I got an Interactive Whiteboard in my classroom and asked them if they were putting Music Room into an interactive resource or if they knew of anyone who had. I had started creating some presentations using their books to try and streamline the resources so…

  1. I didn’t have fiddle with a CD player, DVD player & Data projector to project the charts
  2. I had some interactivity in my lessons and didn’t waste the $8000 resource hanging on my wall

Out of this question to Bushfire Press birthed my 3 publications ‘The Interactive Music Room: A classroom music program for the interactive whiteboardEasy Teach MR1 COVER Levels 1, 2 & 3 (Level 4 will be out early 2014 and 5-7 to follow).

My aim with these publications, apart from the 2 reasons above, was to make the resource even more easy for classroom teachers to use and to capture those hard to engage students. The comment from my Principal at the time when he saw my published work was “Cheryl I think you have actually put yourself out of a job, this resource is so easy to use”.

Have I achieved engaging those challenging students? YES!

I recently have taken parenting leave to allow me time to focus on my children while keeping up with a publishing schedule. I have been shocked by the number of students who have approached me asking when I am coming back because they miss my music lessons and what breaks my heart is when I tell them not until the end of 2014 their faces drop. However the best part in these situations is that over 50% of these students have been the ones we struggle to engage with in the classroom – and these are the moments we live for as a teacher.

I’d like to encourage you to check out my resource and the rest of the great curriculum resources we have for Music and The Arts at www.bushfirepress.com.



Teach to transform!


A great read if you are implementing the use of iPad’s in your classroom

I’ve just read this article on my favourite website Edudemic (it’s now set as my homepage!).


the part I love the most about in this article is where it talks about the use of technology and the shift we as teachers need to grasp in moving from enhancement to transformation in our teaching. This is explained using the SAMR model below.


This SAMR model really spoke to me because it is what I strive for when creating my lessons for publishing The Interactive Music Room. It started off with creating for the interactive whiteboard BUT now while writing/creating level 4 I am now constantly thinking of how I can redefine the activties to flow across all platforms… data projection, interactive whiteboards & tablets. When I say redefine I don’t just mean something that looks pretty and is “cool” to use BUT an activity that is going to increase the scope and opportunity for students to focus more on being creative than a gimmick of using a piece of technology in school.

This is the challenge we as teachers need to take on in redefining the methodology we use when implementing technology in the classroom.



Teach to transform!


But I don’t have an Interactive Whiteboard!

have no fear… there are other ways around it!

In the current school I work at I do not have an interactive whiteboard in my room.

Having just invested in an iPod I came across an app called Air Display which allows you to control your computer remotely from your mobile device, trialling this by using one of the school’s iPads I then invested in an iPad myself.

I now successfully run my lessons with my laptop attached to a data projector and pass my iPad around the class for the students to interact with the screen.  The students love this and I feel it is just as interactive as if I had an IWB. In fact I like it better as my students remain seated and I take the iPad to them.

computer attached to data projector, iPad mirroring the computer through 'Air display'.
computer attached to data projector, iPad mirroring the computer through ‘Air display’.
student manipulating the computer screen via the iPad
student manipulating the computer screen via the iPad

below is a handout I wrote for my Interactive Music Room presentation at MTEC in Melbourne in April.

air display handout



Teach to transform!