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”

Hi Denise. I attended your workshops at the MMEA conference at Tan-Tar-A this January. From what I understood you to say, the papers that had our email addresses on them would be used to send some kind of permission via that email to us teachers to allow access to your musicplayonline site for 3 months. I was really looking forward to trying out all the specifics of your site, but have never received an email. Have I somehow missed it? Let me know if there is something I need to do.
Thank you!

Hi Karen – I’ve sent codes to all the participants. The email might have ended up in a spam filter. I’ll check and resend to you. Denise

Hello Denise. I am teaching an undergraduate music education course. I have a question about this song. The lyrics are…there are one, there are two, there are three little angels, etc and that section ends with…ten little angels in the band.
My question is … did you compose the tune to that, or did you find it somewhere, and if you did, do you know the tune’s origin. Thanks for the answer!

I was wondering if you might have “Old Joe Clark”- from the MusicPlay series, available in the key of G? I am interested in using it as part of an orff performance, and looking for an already made score, and accompaniment. I love your work.

I wanted to contact you because I will be going to the NDMEA conference in Bismarck this month and I saw you are teaching a session on beginning ukuleles. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to that session but I was wondering if you would be willing to forward me some of the information you have from that session? I would greatly appreciate it!


Sara Whipple

Hi Denise,
I’ve been trying to play your listening lessons on Musicplayonline.com. I made an account, but I can’t seem to get to the videos. I was able to do it one time at home while planning. Is there a direct link to the fast/slow, loud/soft…videos with the matching cards? I don’t have a website.

Hi there. We are interested in doing your musica l The Best Gift Ever at my school this year. I live in New Brunswick. We have the guide but how long would it take to receive the performance CD that goes with it? We would be able to pay for express shipping if necessary. Also, what is the cost of the whole manual along with the CD.
Thanks for your help.

I am interested in using your recorder books for my classes this year. Most people are not using CDs. Is there a way I could pay for the CD/book and get the recordings online?
Thanks for considering it.
Joy Hughes
Christ Church Episcopal School
Greenville, SC

Hi Denise,

I’m wondering if there is a way to purchase the recording for SANTA (to the tune of B-I-N-G-O) from your kindergarten curriculum. I am wanting to add this to my kindergarten winter concert this year but I no longer have access to your curriculum. I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

You can purchase the collection it comes from: K-3 Christmas Concert Ideas. It’s $20 and less if you download. Go to http://www.musicplay.ca and select Canada or USA then search for the title in the search bar.

Hi Denise- I’m happy to report that your rendition of Trot ol’ Joe was my number one song played on Spotify in 2019. My 2 year old daughter is absolutely in love with your song!! About 300 plays and counting 🙂

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