About Denise Gagne

Denise Gagné is a music specialist with 40+ years of experience teaching band, choir and classroom music from pre-school to university levels. She has degrees in music and education, as well as Level 3 training in both Kodály and Orff. Her choirs and bands were winners of many awards at Music Festivals and  performed for local and national sporting events, on national radio and even for the Queen.

Denise has served on the boards of the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association, the Saskatchewan Band Association, and served for eight years on the board of the Kodàly Society of Canada.  Denise is currently managing editor of Themes & Variations, preschool music teacher and frequent visitor to Red Deer elementary school music classrooms.

She has been a workshop presenter in every Canadian province and territory and all 50 states. She presents regularly for Orff and Kodály chapters, music educators conferences and preschool and kindergarten conferences in Canada, the USA, Asia, Europe and Australia! Denise is currently the managing editor of Themes & Variations and the Musicplayonline curriculum website. Denise is the author or editor of more than 100 publications for K-6 music teachers including:

  • www.Musicplayonline.com
  • Musicplay Elementary Music Curriculum PreK-6
  • Action Songs Children Love, Volumes 1-3
  • Alphabet Action Songs
  • Singing Games Children Love Vol. 1-2-3-4
  • Sing & Play on Special Days
  • We Love to Move
  • Recorder Resource Kit 1-2
  • Holiday Songs for Recorder
  • Melody Flashcards
  • Rhythm Dice Games
  • Rhythm Flashcards
  • Songs to Read, Write, Sing & Play
  • Staff and Symbol Games
  • Listening Resource Kits Levels 1-5
  • Music Theory for Beginning Band
  • A Student’s Guide to Musical Instruments
  • How To Care for Your Instrument
  • Christmas Favorites
  • It’s A Magical Time of the Year
  • K-3 Christmas Idea Book
  • Slapshot Santa Scores Again
  • The Best Gift Ever
  • The Christmas Concert Idea Book
  • Santa’s Online Adventure
  • Survival Santa
  • The Best Pet Show Ever
  • We’ve Only Got One Planet
  • The Orff Source 1-2-3 and Holiday Orff Source
  • Composing With Boomwhackers, Teach Music Reading with Boomwhackers

Workshop Sessions for K-5:

Recorder for Beginners and Beyond:  Do you love teaching recorder or does it just give you a big headache?  In this session, we’ll make great music with recorders – with no headaches!  Denise will share tips and tricks that helped her students become amazing recorder players.

Bucket Drumming and Boomwhackers:  In this session, you’ll have fun drumming and making music with Boomwhackers and Bucket Drums. A sequential process to teach Gr. 1-5 students music reading skills will be shared.  You’ll play with and sing with pop music and music in many styles. 

Assessment Made Easy:  Quick, practical ideas and rubrics for assessment of skills, concepts, creating and ensemble playing in the elementary music classroom will be shared.   

Listening Fun:  Listening to all styles of music can be fascinating for students.  In this session, we’ll use active listening strategies including play alongs, dramatizations, movement and cup games to engage the student, and the critical analysis process to help them better understand and respond to music.

Beginning Ukulele Tips and Tricks:  Students love to play ukuleles and guitar!  Strategies to help with tuning, class management, and differentiation will be shared.   We’ll share a sequence of both folk songs and pop songs that has been successful in many classrooms!

Super Fun Folk Dances:  This session will take you on a trip around the world with folk dances that come from Europe, North America and South America.  Folk dances are a wonderful way to teach form, phrasing and they are FUN!  

Storybooks to Sing, Play, Create:  You’ll have fun bringing stories to life using songs, sound effects, instruments, and dramatization to enhance children’s literature.   You’ll create accompaniments for some of the children’s favorite story books.  These lessons are very engaging for your students and a great way to integrate music and literacy!

Classroom Instrument Fun:  Come have fun with shakers, tambourines, sticks, triangles and drums as you sing, create sound effects for stories, move, and dance. You’ll learn how to use the instruments without causing complete chaos.  Learn how to use instruments to help dramatize story books. Discover many different styles of music as you play along. Develop listening skills and create your own music – even if you’ve never taken music lessons.

Sensational Singing Games: Children everywhere love singing games. Teach rhythm and melody reading using your student’s favorite games! Teach social skills, multicultural material, and more through games! In this session, you’ll participate, play and have fun learning about music.  This session can be planned for PK-6 or for specific age groups. ie. PreK-Gr. 1 or Gr 1-2-3 or Gr. 4-6

Exploring Cultures through Songs and Games: Children learn music, social skills, and about cultures when playing singing games. Play singing games from around the world that children really enjoy. Singing games provide excellent opportunities to teach and assess musical concepts. In this session you’ll sing and play the games and learn ways to use for teaching and assessment.

Centers in the Music Room: In this session, participants will get to try activities that work well as centers in the music room. Activities to teach rhythm, dynamics, tempo, note names, recorder, composing and listening will be included in this session. You’ll see how children can be engaged and directing their own learning.

Reproducible Choral Repertoire: Purchasing quality choral music in octavo format can be almost impossible for schools with large choirs and limited budgets. This session will present quality choral repertoire from a variety publishers that is reproducible. This is a choral reading session with a decided difference!

Jazz it Up!:  Introduce jazz to your music class! In this session you’ll learn how to get your students improvising, scat singing, singing the blues, creating blues compositions, moving, and dancing to jazz. Teachers will be provided with an overview of resources available for introducing jazz to students, but the focus of the session will be on actually singing jazzy pieces for elementary students, dancing to jazzy music and playing jazz music on recorder.  This session is suitable for K-6 music specialists.  You’ll have fun when you jazz it up!

Early Childhood Workshops:  

Early Childhood Favorites: Songs, rhymes, finger plays, singing games and musical activities for the preschool, daycare, and PreK-Grade 2 classroom. In this session you’ll take part in activities that will help kids develop their singing voices, steady beat, learn musical and curriculum concepts and have FUN! Denise will demonstrate how you can use the music in this session to teach early literacy skills.

Music – Literacy – Learning:  The integration of music and language arts can have a powerful impact on the learning in both areas. Use a child’s musical intelligence and love of movement to help develop phonemic awareness, reading ability and other basic skills. Use children’s literature to develop children’s creativity, expression and musical ability. This session will include songs, puppets, movement and use children’s literature to engage children in literacy learning.

Wiggle While You Learn:  Movement and music are powerful teaching tools. Use actions songs to teach colors, numbers, healthy habits, safety, self esteem, social skills, alphabet, phonics, themes and more!  All the songs used in the session will be included in your handout, so you can use them next week at school!  This is a very practical workshop with many great ideas for using the child’s desire to wiggle for positive purposes.

Workshops are available in-person and virtually!  To view many of Denise’s webinars visit https://www.youtube.com/c/Musicplayonline

Contact Denise re workshop availability through support@musicplay.ca or sales@musicplay.ca.

101 replies on “About Denise Gagne”

I am starting to work on the 2013 AOSA Conference Book and I am checking to see if you would like to place an ad? Ad reservation close is September 15th and ad materials are due September 22nd.

Attached is the rate card for you to look over. If you have any questions please let me know.

Right now the cover 2 spot is available along with the 4 divider pages.

Despite my name, I’m not Francophone. (Long story) . However, we are working on translating as much as we can in the next year. I’m very fortunate to have a young francophone editor on staff! The first translations will be posted next week at http://www.musicplayonline.com

Hi Denise. I have been using Music Play 3, your music program, for years, Sadly, my CDs are scratched and need to be replaced. How and where would I buy another set?

Best way to get replacement CDs is to call our office: 1-888-562-4647 . We do sell replacements. You might consider using http://www.Musicplayonline.com as an alternative to CDs. So wonderful to be able to type any song title in the search bar and it’s right there — and then there are interactive activities, concept slides to help you teach and kids demo videos!

Hi Denise!!! I am so excited to have found a website with online resources. My teaching partner and I are putting some resources together for our kindergarteners and I wondered if you would approve for us to attach your music from Alphabet Action for their learning? I am available at twright@hpedsb.on.ca Thank you so much for your expertise and sharing your wonderful talent!! We love your work!

I can’t find where to purchase the complete musicplay curriculum for kindergarten and grade 1 in London Ontario. I need this as soon as possible and haven’t been successful searching for it! Thanks!

Obviously I should be checking my blog comments more often. You can order from http://www.musicplay.ca and we ship anywhere in Canada and the USA. St. John’s music and Long & McQuade will order materials for you, but they don’t keep the curriculum in stock as a rule.

Hi Denise,

My name is Kailee am book sales rep for the West Australian Orff Schulwerk Society (WAOSA). We recently ran a levels course in Perth where Susie Davies-Splitter was a presenter. She brought some of your books with her and I am interested in ordering some of your resources for the book stall.

Am I able to order then directly through you or would you be able to pass a contact on to me?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,


Hello Kailee – I’m sorry that I’ve been so slow to reply to your question. I’m not a very good blogger! Yes, you can order resources from Themes & Variations. Our website is http://www.musicplay.ca and the contact info for ordering is tvinfo@telus.net Leanne will give you a discounted price on any resources you want to sell through your Orff book display, and she’ll get a quote on the shipping cost.

Many are singing A Christmas Wish tune but on different lyrics. A Wish for Peace. May I ask when did you publish the song? We have a songfest and I wish to sing A Wish for Peace for my students.

Hello – I’m sorry for the delay in answering this question. Several schools have changed the words to this song. One school changed it so that they could use it any time of year. “I wish for all these things for every girl and boy” instead of “I wish this Christmas time.” I thought that was a great idea. The other change was made by a school entering the Glee contest and they won $10,000 using the song – very exciting!

If you purchase the single song kit for A Christmas Wish, you are welcome to change the words – I think it’s a great way to use it as a peace song any time of year.

Hello Denise,

Last year our school choir sang your song In Flanders Fields using the performance track. It is such a beautiful song. I am wondering if you have the piano sheet music for this and/or Just One Candle.

Thank you!!!

Hello – We have all of these available in collections or single song kits at http://www.musicplay.ca
Go to song collections, then select single song kits. Just One Candle is from Musicplay 1, so the piano music is also available in the Musicplay 1 Piano Accompaniments.

In Flanders Fields is in the collection Songs of Peace. There’s a second arrangement of it in the collection We Remember. I like both, but think the second one is a little easier. The collections include the piano accompaniment. Just One Candle is a single song kit. Go to http://www.musicplay.ca, song collections, single song kits.

Dear Denise.

I am trying to find your contact details, please? I have bought your “I wish for peace” song, thank you very much, it is beautiful!
I would like to ask if it would be possible for me to exchange a few words in the lyrics to give it a Christian message on top of the peace message? I would be delighted if you woudl give me permission to do this, please. I teach in Cayman Islands at a local Government school (very small school, so my options for putting together a choir are rather restricted).

Many thanks in advance.

Kind regards,
Stephanie Louw

Hello Ms. Gagne,

My name is Kayln and I work for a non profit organization as an coordinator.
We have been searching for a Canada National Anthem that we can use for our opening ceremony, we came across the one you have created and it is perfect for our seniors residents to follow along. I am writing in hopes to have your permission to use your ‘O Canada’ video at the opening ceremony. We hope to hear from you very soon.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Warmest Regards,


Hello Kaylin – Of course you have permission to use our O Canada video. I hope this reaches you in time! I’m terrible at answering comments/questions on this blog.

Hello –

I used to own a copy of your “How to Care for Your Musical Instrument.” I can no longer find a copy of this since it is out of print. Can I get it directly from you? If so, please let me know how much it would be and how we can go about this.

Thank you!

I didn’t realize it’s gone out of print – I’ll contact the original publisher and find out if we can now take over the publication of it.

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