Creating ePubs in the Music Classroom

Book Creator is one of my favourite apps to use in my music classroom.

One of the advantages to using a general classroom app in music lessons is that the students already know how to use the app and therefore most times I do not have to spend time teaching them all the skills needed. On the flip side I have also worked together with their classroom teacher by introducing the recording side of the app in my classes while they have already learnt to write, type and insert images in class.

One activity my students love to do with Book Creator is make their own ePubs.

Below are 3 examples from my classroom that has served different purposes.

Whole Class ePub ‘The Animals in the Class’

First we looked at, and sang along to, a few nursery rhymes and songs that had been written into books e.g. The Wheels on the Bus, I’m a Little Teapot,  Old McDonald Had a Farm.

Next we rewrote our own version of The Wheels on the Bus using the title of ‘The Animals in the Class’.

Each student wrote and illustrated their own page on a piece of paper. Then in groups with a shared iPad, they inserted a photo of each students’ illustration on a separate page in Book Creator, adding their name. Next their group helped each person record using the ‘Add Sound’ audio tool in Book Creator, singing and playing instruments to their verse.

Each of the group Book Creator ePubs were then airdropped to my iPad and merged together into one class ePub.

Here is the result which they were extremely proud of:

Instrument Families ePub

To learn about the instrument families, My Year 1 (6 year old) students created an ePub showing each instrument family and recorded what each family sounds like.

Since the latest Book Creator update allows GarageBand files to be imported directly into a Book Creator page, this enabled my students to record their own track for each family using the virtual instruments in GarageBand and then inserting it onto the relevant page.img_1702

To save time I created a template for my students with the instrument family images already inserted and sent this to each child via airdrop.






I stepped the students through recording in GarageBand and then sending the soundtrack to Book Creator, inserting it as a button.

The students also took a screenshot of their GarageBand recording and inserted this from the camera roll.

Here is an example of their work.

Artist Project

One project I have done with my Year 6/7 classes is to review a song from their favourite artist.

The students inserted the lyrics of the song and then the song itself from their iTunes music.

The final task was to write a reflection on the meaning of the song, those that struggled with writing used video or audio to record their reflection instead.

Here is an example:

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Book Creator has allowed me to transform previous paper, pen and oral presentation activities into interactive projects, capturing my students performances into ePubs, creating an archive we can keep for years to come.

I hope these examples from my classroom inspire you to use Book Creator in your teaching too.



Teach to transform!


Music as Non Verbal Cues in the Classroom

Do you grab kids attention without having to speak?

music_teacher_poster-r58d48b53b63c41418316df56c0b436b3_w2j_8byvr_324As music teachers our voice is our instrument, we need to care for it and therefore we need to be diligent in finding ways we can communicate using non verbal cues to conserve the use of our voice. Not only this, but it lightens the mood in our classroom and creates positive behaviour cues.

before I get to the use of music here are a few VISUAL CUES I’ve found helpful:

  • hand in the air and count down from five using your fingers (my students know if they do not have their attention on me by the end they get a warning)
  • hands on heads
  • using actions – pat head, roll hands


Have you tried RHYTHM PATTERNS to grab attention?

  • clap a rhythm and the students repeat it
  • use an action song – without singing it e.g. Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • as students come back from grabbing instruments teacher plays rhythms & students copy until all students are seated every so often changing the rhythm or playing the side of the instrument or even stopping and placing mallets or instruments on head or shoulders and eventually on the floor in front of them to indicate it’s time to listen


My Favourite – use a MUSIC TRACK as a cue for a specific task

Sit Down Songs

To come back from a group activity play a song it could be any song that you have told the kids to listen for and when they hear it they need to be sitting on the floor by the end of the song or extract. For example:

  • maybe the latest popular song like Katie Perry’s “Roar”
  • The theme song for the lesson you are teaching – “12 Bar Blues”
  • A ‘sit down’ song  you establish for the school term. Some examples could be:
  1. Stand Up, Sit Down” from Roar Like A Lion by Patty Shukla
  2. Stand Up, Sit Down” from Action Songs: Wiggle and Shake by Tumble Tots

Pack Up Songs

Havin fun with Bert & ErnieAt the end of my music lesson I have a pack up song: “Put It Away” from Havin’ Fun With Ernie & Bert – a 1972 children’s classic. It goes for 2min20sec and the kids love it – and are always finished packing up by the end & sitting down singing along. Unfortunately this song is extremely hard to get hold of and I picked it up on Ebay as a cassette. It is not available to download in mp3 so I converted it from cassette to mp3.

some other songs you could use instead are:

  1. Clean Up, Pack Away” from Let’s Learn by Debbie Doo
  2. Pack Up Time” from Cave Baby by The Mudcakes

How to cut an extract from a song

I use a free software called Audacity:

Audacity is available for both Windows & Mac it is a fantastic tool which I use all the time to edit songs.


It’s features include

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

learn more about it:

You could also use other programs like Garage Band on Macs & Apple devices.

Have some fun creating non verbal cues for you students and see how it brightens your classroom.



Teach to transform!


Combining Garage Band & iMovie in the Music Classroom

midi keyboard setupOn a student free day last year my son inspired me to combine Garage Band and iMovie as a fun way to fill a rainy day spent inside.

It started off as any normal day teaching Oscar his piano lesson until he decided he wanted to record the song he was practicing ‘Icecream’ in Music for Little Mozarts Book 2 (we have a KeyControl 49 XT MIDI controller keyboard attached to my iPad though a camera connection kit and played through the Apple App Garage Band) .

So we had a few practices and then hit record, thankfully for a 6 year old he has a pretty good understanding and grasp of beat because it took only 2 to trys and we had a recording of him playing the melody we were happy with.

I then taught him how to add himself singing the song with the audio recorder and then showed him how to add loops in.  I can not claim to have helped him choose because as any mother of a 6 year old will tell you, you are not allowed to offer suggestions… “MUUUUMMMM I can do it myself!”

This is the result of what he composed: oscar garage band song

  • Classical Grand Oscar played & recorded himself on the keyboard
  • Kit & Elec Guitar are loops he chose fom Garage band library
  • The Audio Recorder is him singing

Now he was quite chuffed with his result but oh no it wasn’t finished there… now we had to do the music video so I sent him to to organise his props & dressups and to practice performing, by now his little sister, Natalia, had joined in the fun and Oscar decided she was to be his backup singer.

I filmed them performing and then Oscar helped me design his music video using iMovie and this is the result

*The Icecream Rap by Oscar

(*he wanted to call his arrangement “The Icecream Rap”. The original is ‘Icecream’ from Music for Little Mozarts by Barden, Kowalchyk & Lancaster (c) MCMXCIX Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.).

I have just started a project similar to this in my music classroom this week and it is working really well.  I won’t show you the outcome as I don’t want to post images of my students online and you get the idea from what Oscar & I did. The project is based on Bushfire Press’s Music Room: a developmental classroom music program, Book 6 Module 3 Pacific Harmonies Lesson 4.

I have split my Year 6/7 class (of 18) into 2 groups, one is creating video & still shots for the opening credits of a Hawaiian movie using iMovie, the 2nd group will record the background music in Garage Band. They will be using a backing track supplied by Bushfire Press and then adding their own recordings; a glockenspiel harmony, bongo beat and instrumental/non-instrumental sound effects and maybe some loops already available in Garage Band.

This is part of their IB PYP Unit of Inquiry into performance and will be shown at their end of year concert. What is fantastic about this is that all students are actively engaged in a project and those that are not all that enthusiastic about music are enjoying being part of the project in another way.

I hope this inspires you to not only use Garage Band in your music classroom but combine it with iMovie to broaden the classroom experience.



Teach to transform!