Monthly Archives: September 2019

Dance Unit

The newest unit at is a dance unit.  (Resources are also available as print/disk or download!)
Start by logging into your MusicplayOnline account and head over to the Units section. When you click on the button you’ll see Festivals & Holidays is the default unit. 

At the top of the page you’ll see four large buttons: Dance, Festivals & Holidays, Instruments, and Theory. Click on Dance to go to the dance section. 

 This section is organized by grades. At the top you’ll see four tabs: PreK- Kindergarten, Grade 1-2, Grade 3-4, and Grade 5-6. Each section has three different types of activities: Choreographed dances, movement activities, and creative movement activities.

 We’ve organized all the choreographed dances from the
Musicplay program into these two boxes. You’ll see Grade 3 Dances in the left box and Grade 4 Dances in the right box.  Don’t hesitate to try a dance in a higher or lower grade!
Click on a dance title and the link will bring you right to the song so that you can view the kids demo and the teacher instructions.

Choose Notation or Lyrics to teach the students to sing the song. The Kids demo is valuable to help you teach the movements.
Dance Directions are in the song activities:  
Form a single circle, boy-girl, boy-girl or with pairs of students. All the students join hands and perform the first two verses as the words suggest—circle right, then circle left……

The Dance Unit includes a few selections from other Themes publications. You’ll find Hunt the Cows, Danish Dance of Greeting, Kinderpolka, and La Raspa from our popular Primary Dances and Singing Games collection. If you like these, you can find 20 more dances in Primary Dances and Singing Games!

Hunt the Cows

Danish Dance of Greeting




The Unit also includes three selections from our new Super Fun Folk Dance collection: Seven Jumps, Sasha, and Chimes of Dunkirk.  The recordings for these dances was done with authentic instruments and are wonderful!  You can find eight more dances in the book Super Fun Folk Dance

Kids demos make the dances easy to teach!

Projectable directions with embedded audio are really helpful when you’re teaching the dances.

Download a PDF with the directions.

You can find these dances and eight more  in the book Super Fun Folk Dance! 

For all of these dances, you’ll see the kids demo, a teaching slide with audio, a teacher’s guide PDF, and a link to the product to use offline. You can order the product as a printed book/disk or a download.
If you scroll down a little farther you will see Movement activities and Creative Movement Activities. Movement activities are primarily singing games with movement options.  In Grade 4, we’ve included Pizza Pizza (street game), J’entends le moulin (French singing game) and Happy is the Miller (singing game).  These all involve movement but are not what I’d describe as choreographed dances.
Creative Movement Activities are instrumental selections or songs that would be great to have kids (maybe with teacher assistance) choreograph.
All of the songs are organized according to grade but don’t be afraid to try a selection with upper or lower grades.  We hope you’re having a great start to the school year and that you’re moving through it joyfully! 

Super Fun Folk Dances

– live recording with authentic instruments
– videos of every dance
– projectable PowerPoint/PDF with information/worksheets about countries
– FUN dances your students will love!
Order print/disk or download

Primary Dances and Singing Games

– 27 fun singing games and dances
– seasonal games and dances 
order print/disk or download


We love to know how you’re using our materials!!!  Share how you’ve used the Dance Unit in the Musicplay Teachers group on Facebook!  If you don’t do Facebook, share in the forum at Musicplayonline.  And of course, if you send us kids demos that we can use of your students using the Boomwhacker section – or any section of Musicplayonline, you’ll receive a month free.

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Name Games and Activities to start the school year

Some music teachers teach more than a thousand students each week and it can be very difficult to remember the names. Starting your first classes with a name game will help you to remember those names – at least for this music class!  If you go the Back to School Unit in Units at, there are many name games AND mixers to get your school year off to a great start.

Name Games:
K.149 Chickamy
K.8   Cookie Jar Chant
K.12 Hickety Tickty Bumblebee
1.36 Cuckoo
3.2 Number Concentration
4.9 Jolly Rhythm (another good one to do with the numbered paper plates)
5.2  Concentration

1.68 I LIke You
1.66  Rig a Jig Jig
2.73 Hot Cross Buns
4.5 Good Morning
5.33 Green Sally Up

For your olders:

Number Concentration

Give every student in the class a number on a white paper plate or index card.  (You may want to organize a seating plan, and give them the number that they will have in the plan.)  The teacher sings a number, and that student sings back his/her name. As you sing, tap a beat with one finger. Each time that a student forgets to sing on his/her number, choose a new tempo.   When the students are familiar with the game, you can play this as an elimination game—if you don’t respond with your name after your number is sung, you go out.  Invite students to be leaders and sing the numbers.  The paper plate idea was suggested by a teacher from a district where she has really large classes.  The paper plates help her students to remember what number they’re given and has made the game really successful for her.

Number Concentration is a simple reading using just so-mi-do and ta, ti-ti, rest.  If your students can read the rhythms and pitches, have them learn the song by reading it.  If they aren’t there yet, just read the rhythms, and teach the melody by rote.

Because it’s a simple reading song, it’s an excellent opportunity to review beat and rhythm with your students using the interactive rhythm tools and/or the matching worksheets.  Use the interactive tool to model how to create an ostinato, B section, or introduction/ending for the song.  The game is fun, and can be extended in many ways!

Go to Interactive Rhythm section, and select Word Rhythm Composition:

Model how to create a rhythm composition with the words “Number” and “Name”.  Choose two kinds of body percussion and perform your new pattern. Try other ways of doing the body percussion and decide which you like the best.  Transfer the body percussion to unpitched instruments and decidewhich you like the best.  After modeling, give the students sets of “Number” and “Name” cards made up from the Printables in this section and have small groups of students create their own rhythm composition.

Students lay their pattern out on the floor.  They choose 2 kinds of instruments and play the pattern.  Use the song as the theme, and student compositions as B, C, D, E sections and create a rondo.  Do a group practice.  Ask them to refine their composition – maybe add some dynamics, or add some movement.  Perform.  Ask groups to think of what they “noticed” and “wondered” about their performances.  (reflect on performance)

Many additional extensions are possible for the game – there are 11 worksheets given, and matching interactive activities so you can teach or model how to label beat and rhythm, then practice and reinforce.

Here’s a link to see how the Word Rhythm Composition might sound.

For your littles:

Hello Beat Chant

Source: Rhythm Instrument Fun, and in Musicplay PreK
I’ve had this in other newsletters, but I can’t recommend it enough.  It just works and is awesome to learn names AND to experience/review all the basic concepts.  Using this beat chant establishes a routine, introduces the term “beat” and will help the teacher remember all of the names.

1. Say the chant, patting a steady beat as you speak. Say hello to the students using different kinds of voices:  high/low, loud/quiet, fast/slow, speak/sing/whisper/shout, singing voice using a variety of solfa patterns.  After you say the name, the class echoes, saying the name just like you did.

2. In the next lesson, instead of patting the steady beat, play the beat on a non-pitched instrument. Ask the students questions about the instrument
you’ve chosen to play.
* What is this instrument called?
* What is it made out of?
* How is the sound made on this instrument?

3. Demonstrate how to hold the instrument and how to play it before playing along with the chant. You may want to have the students play some instruments. If you have a tambourine or hand drum, you could hold it, but have the children tap it. This is an excellent way to introduce all of the non-pitched
instruments that you have in your classroom.

Looking for more ideas and icebreaker games for your classroom? MusciplayOnline has a plethora of songs you can use with your new and returning students! Search terms like “Name games”, “shakeups”, “brain teasers”, “openers”, “warmups”, “organizers”, and “cumulative”.

We love to know how you’re using our materials!!!  Share the name games that you’re using in your classroom in the Musicplay Teachers group on Facebook!  If you don’t do Facebook, share in the forum at Musicplayonline.

Follow #musicplayonline on instagram, twitter, Pinterest