The following ideas may be used to facilitate virtual music instruction.
Complete Virtual Choral and Classroom Kits
Complete Choral and Classroom Kits are now available and come with a pdf of the choral, mp3’s for pps, performance and accompaniment mp3’s as well as streaming, synchronization and recording rights:
One of the easiest ways to teach 2 part choral singing in a virtual setting is by using Partner Songs! A classic partner song has everyone singing melody number one, everyone singing melody number two, and then the third time, dividing into 2 parts singing both melodies together. Since all the singers will then be conversant with both melodies, they should find it much easier to maintain their parts when asked to divide into harmony. If you have a combination of very strong singers and ones that aren’t quite as confident, be sure to divide the parts up in a way that places your strong singers on both parts. Teaching these melodies in unison also provides excellent opportunities to fine tune intonation, dynamics and singing with expression. There are a host of partner songs and collections on our website:
The following videos are just a few of some excellent examples of how you can utilize traditional choral music and musical plays written for choir or theater education performed successfully and creatively in virtual and remote settings.
Celebrate the Differences
Youngsan International School of Seoul, Ms. Sommer director.
Ode to Peace
Music Academy of the West, Sing Program-Daniel Newman-Lessler director.
Video starts at 20’21
Holiday Around We Go
Seattle Girls Choir-Jaci Cummings, Director
Happy Xmas-War is Over
Chor KameLeon and Luto Singers Children’s Choir- Mokotow, Poland
Citi of Belfast Staff Health and Welfare Choir United Kingdom
Ugly Christmas Sweater
Il Coro Della Bella Voce-Carroll County Children’s Chorus-Rachel Morgan Im, Director and Videographer
Columbus Middle School Vocal Tech Columbus Public Schools, Columbus, Nebraska
Fenton Community High School Swing Choir, Bensenville, IL
Barack Obama Magnet School of Technology, DeKalb, GA, Vickie A Jones, Director
Kiltie Chorus, Mt Pleasant High School, Providence, RI
Franklin Elementary, MA, Janie Barrett Music Teacher
On a Starlit Night
Calgary Music Makers, Canada
McClure United Church, Edmonton, Alberta
Southside Community Choir, Edinburgh, Scotland
Performed by DMR Adventure directed by Ray Smith, Stania Shaw and video production by Nina Donville.
Bada Bing it’s Spring!
Rice Elementary School,Tyler Texas
Oakdale Elementary School, Dedham Public Schools, MA, Christopher Molinaro, music teacher.
Story Theater provides an excellent opportunity for you to incorporate into your music program other areas that can be found throughout the curriculum. There are a wealth of musical plays that address topics such as ecology, history, geography, science, character education etc. etc. Once you’ve chosen a musical that corresponds to a topic being taught by classroom teachers, assign speaking parts and either teach the songs to all the students, or play the music for the students as a listening lesson. Be sure to encourage children to read their lines with expression and if appropriate, gestures. For your virtual performance, have each student recite their part interspersed with the musical selections. Children can choose to dress up in costumes, or not and obviously no additional scenery, props or staging is required. It is a wonderful way for students to experience theatre in a safe and simple way.
Sing and Learn
“Our Sing and Learn” series is comprised of cross curricular subjects taught in an entertaining musical format. Dino Soaring, Singin’ in the Rainforest, Oceans of Fun and Sing and Play About the USA, all are collections of songs with simple rhyming scripts for performances. These collections contain puzzles, crosswords, fast fact sheets and supplemental materials that can be shared with the classroom teachers or distributed to the students as a do at home activity.
You can add interest to your choral performances by choosing selections that have simple hand motions, signing, or choreography. Many chorals come with movement suggestions and if you are comfortable teaching the choreography, wonderful! If not, there are many videos on “YouTube” that have choral groups performing choreography that you can use as a guide. This is very adaptable to virtual teaching. We have several on our website , including “Mambo Italiano”, “Funga Alafia”, “Vela Sikubone”, etc. Musicals such as Off Their Rockers centers around dance though the ages and provides wonderful ideas for adding choreography to your play. You can find excellent examples on YouTube for additional ideas.
Educational Videos and Documentaries
There is a wonderful wealth of educational music videos and documentaries. Before sharing them with your students carefully review their content to determine appropriate viewing based on age, grade level and maturity. Several would also work well for substitute plans.
Please be sure to review each one before sharing with your students!
Here are just a few:
1. Quincy - Documentary about the rise and success of the iconic musician and producer Quincy Jones. 2 hours
2. David Foster, Off the Record - Music and story of one of the most successful composers and producers of our time. 1 ½ hours
3. The Bee Gees - How Do You Mend a Broken Heart- story of the rise and careers of these amazing brothers. 2 hours
4. Blackpink: Light Up the Sky - Documents the struggles and meteoric rise to success of phenon Korean girls Rock group Blackpink. 1 ½ hours
5. How An Opera Gets Made: A behind the scenes look at a Philip Glass Opera at the Met. 10 minutes
6. Every Little Step - A Chorus Line Documentary about the revival of “Chorus Line”, from auditions to performances. 1 ½ hrs
7. Twenty Feet From Stardom - Academy award winning documentary about talented back-up singers for some of the greatest stars, who vocally were just as talented! Emphasis is on the contributions of black singers! 1hr 40 minutes, Netflix
8. 20th Anniversary of Broadway Annie Auditions - Behind the scenes look at the auditions for “Annie”. 47 minutes
9. Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened - Documentary about “Merrily We Roll Along”, the one musical written by Stephen Sondheim that flopped on Broadway. 1 ½ hours, Amazon Prime, Netflix
10. The Wrecking Crew - Documentary about studio musicians who performed on the recordings of some of the most celebrated rock stars of the day. 1 ½ hours, Amazon Prime
11. My Favorite Broadway, the Leading Ladies - Concert from Carnegie Hall featuring some of the greatest ladies of the stage including a performance by Anna Kendrick as a child star. 2 hours.
The following are a list of movies for teachers to watch. They are not meant for students, but meant to educate and inspire as many of them are based on true stories.
1. Fisherman’s Friends - A group of singing Fisherman in a small Cornish town revive the tradition of singing sea chanteys.
2. The Sapphires - True story of a family of Aboriginal natives who become famous pop stars.
3. The Clark Sisters, the First Ladies of Gospel - Wonderful movie about the trials and struggles of these amazing sisters as they rise to stardom.
4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom - A look into the life and music of this blues legend.
5. The Music of Silence - Based on the autobiography by Andrea Bocelli.
6. Searching for Sugarman - Academy Award winning film about Sixto Rodriguez, known as Sugarman, and what really happened to him and his music.
7. Sing Street - A boy from Dublin escapes his strained family life and forms a boy band.
Pop Culture, Opera, and Broadway Videos
1. James Brown and Andrea Boccelli It’s a Man’s World (approx 5 min)
2. Freddie Mercury [Queen] and Montserrat Caballe singing Barcelona (approx 5 min)
3. 22 Musicals in 12 Minutes: James Corden, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Emily Blunt (approx 13 min)
If you’d like more suggestions, please email us at:
Rhythm and Movement
It is possible to utilize both rhythm and movement activities in a virtual setting. Many collections have musical games where all the directions are contained within the lyrics of the song or just require very simple explanation by the teacher. This is a wonderful time saver and also an excellent way to save your voice! Simply ask the students to be good listeners and listen to the words of the song. They will then know just what to do. Songs from collections such as “Strike Up the Rhythm Band”, and “The Rhythm Band Strikes Again”, have many games that teach rhythms, dynamics, etc through clapping, tapping, playing rhythm instruments and don’t require being in a group setting [see “Body Percussion” under the Free Section]. Movement games such as “The Color Game” and “Hand Jivin” from “Rhythm, Rhyme and Move in Time” are great fun for students and work perfectly in remote or virtual classrooms. "A Hip Hop , a Skip and a Jump” has a host of these activities for the younger grades.
Virtual Dance Party
A wonderful way to end each class would be to have a 3-5 minute virtual dance party. You could choose selections from suggestions the students email you [have a grab bag and choose a different selection each day that you have cued up in advance] or you can select from a wealth of great dance tunes. Invite the family to join in as well. Be sure if using songs suggested by the students be sure that you have previewed them in advance for appropriate content! It is a great way to end your classes in an energetic and inspiring way without worrying about getting them too energized as you simply sign off after the song ends!
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Do Your Thing - Basement Jaxx
2. Conga - Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
3. Livin’ in America - James Brown
4. September, from Trolls - Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick
5. Rock and Roll Music - The Beatles.
6. It’s Still Rock n Roll to Me - Billy Joel
7. Lovely Day, from The Secret Life of Pets 2 - Lunch Money Lewis
8. Happy - Pharrell Williams
9. Can’t Stop the Feeling, Trolls 2 - Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake
10. Get On Your Feet - Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
11. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing - Tori Kelly
12. Hip to Be Square - Huey Lewis and the News
13. The Heart of Rock n Roll - Huey Lewis and the News
14. Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
If you need more suggestions email us at:
Virtual Talent Show
Host a virtual talent show for your school. Invite students to send in a video of their performance in advance making it possible for you to preview for appropriate content. This also gives you and your students the option of performing live or using the video. Family members may also be encouraged to participate. In order to eliminate background chatter, you can mute everyone in the zoom meeting except the performer. This activity can be a wonderful unifying event for the entire school community.
Zoom in with the Gallinas!
Plan a private Zoom or FaceTime session with Jill and Michael Gallina on any of the following topics:
1. Fine tuning your musical play. Doing one of our musicals? Specifics will be offered regarding staging, dramatization, costumes, creative interpretation, etc.
2. Compose Yourself! Guided by Jill Gallina, your students will compose a finished piece in 30-40 minutes!
3. Ask the Gallinas! 30 minute interview, question and answer session, with questions, designed by you and your students.
4. You Choose. Topic area of your request for 30 minute session with the Gallinas.
5. Commissions. Commission Jill Gallina to write a choral piece designed to meet your special needs or requests. See other commissioned works here:
In the event that you have used any of our materials in the course of conducting “remote learning” lessons, please take a moment to share your approach or videos with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be happy to post some of them in our next email newsletter!