Tips & Activities for Teaching Music Online

We'll take as much info as we can when it comes to online teaching am I right? This is new for everybody and we are only in the first steps of figuring this out. I have been using zoom, so most of the set up advise I give is for zoom but I am sure there are similar settings for Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams. Here is all I've found so far!

Ways Zoom Meetings Can be Set Up 

Make sure it is clear between you, your work and the parents how the meeting will be set up. 

• Parents might offer to host the meeting on their account 

 • You could schedule a meeting on your account 

Note that if this is the case, you really only have to set up one meeting and you can submit and boot off students as you go. This is much easier than setting up 20 different meetings 

• Your work may host the meeting on their account 

in this case make sure you have the login info and you should see your scheduled meetings on the side bar.


• Links vs ID's & passwords 

make sure you have or give the correct information so that both parties can log on promptly. I recommend using both links and the ID's & passwords incase one or the other doesn't work. 

Audio Quality 

Make sure you adjust some of the sound settings before you get started. Turn on "original sound" and switch off "automatically adjust microphone volume". Heres a video that talks about it in further detail and heres a picture of what some of your settings should look like.

Also don't forget to generally balance the sound of your instruments. If you have an electric key board or guitar, turning it up louder won't actually help them hear better, it will only muffle the sound. I would say dial those things at about 5 o'clock - just under half. For singing, keep some distance from your lap top and use your control/middle voice unless demonstrating for belting or projection techniques.


Screen Share - is amazing! I use their notation practice a lot which allows students to guess notes - kind of like virtual flash cards only they can hear the pitches when guessed correctly! You can adjust settings like clefs and note range to change the difficulty level. There are also other tools like ear training, intervals, key signatures, chords, scales and even fret board identification!

Screen Share - Virtual Instruments 

Sometimes it's hard for students to see what your doing. Screen sharing virtual instruments is a great way to make demonstrations more clear. 


• Acoustic Guitar   or  Classical Guitar 

unfortunately I haven't found any good ukuleles yet! Let me know in the comments if you know of one. 


Screen Share - PBS Music Games (3 - 6) 

I would only recommend this for ages 3 - 6, but there are some interactive games on here where students can create instruments and play with characters, as well as some fun singing games.

Other Games/Activities 

• Secret Message 

Tell younger students to turn out the lights and that you are trying to get into an abandoned castle, but need to figure out a series of secret knocks to enter. Than knock rhythms on a hard surface and have them repeat after you. Once they "unlock the castle" play a magical sounding song on the piano and turn the lights back on. 

• Repeat the Melody 

Pick 2 - 5 keys on the piano depending on the students difficulty level. (I usually start with CDE) Make up melodies and have them repeat after you. Than allow the student to make up melodies and you copy them. You can do this in guitar scales too. 

• Fire on the Mountain 

Have 5 stuffed animals, toys or dolls ready with you and show your student/s. Tell them to go find five of their own. When they return, tell them to place their things in a circle. Tell them "All of our friends are on a great big mountain, but Oh no! theres a fire on the mountain. Lets see who survives!" Instruct them to point at each object as you sing the song. I got this idea from Bryson Tarbet (@thatmusicteacher) and he made a video to demonstrate 

• Simon Says 

This could work with any instrument. Simply just make up something such as "Simon says play middle C"  or "Simon say drum on your ukulele" than after a while let the student/s try being Simon. 

• Freeze Dance 

Play a song on your instrument and eliminate anyone that moves after the music stops. Than let the student/s try being the music maker. 

• Listen & Draw 

Play a song and have them draw to it. Suggest drawing things like instruments they hear, the lyrics, what it reminds them of or the mood. This is a primary form of a Listening Log. 

• Music Terms Hangman 

If you screen share you can enter your own musical terms and play hangman. 

• New Found Sounds 

Find 3 items for you self that you can shake, hit or scratch than tell the student/s to find 3 of their own (make sure it's nothing that mom wouldn't want broken)  Than sing and play some percussion to a song. 

• Make up the next line 

Songs like "down by the bay" are a great example where you can allow the student to improvise lyrics. 

• Virtual Field Trips 

Believe it or not there are many music museums that allow you to explore virtually. I personally haven't tried this because I think it's more suited for Elementary music. However YouTuber Becca Davis would suggest The American Jazz Museum or The Motzart Museum 

Screen Share - Worksheets 

For Mac at least, You can "Markup" PDF's. This is great for worksheets, you can ask the students for answers and type it in. I try to type in whatever they say, without suggesting if it's right or wrong until they are done. You could also just send files over chat if there is a parent near by to download & print it. 

Example Markup of "spelling Bee"

Theres lot's of worksheets that would work, you just have to get creative and find more on Pinterest or teachers pay teachers . 

Good luck on this new endeavour and who knows how long it will last! (hopefully not long)

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