Top Tips

 TELL A STORY – Materials- Bag with 2 or 3  chosen Puppet Characters in and the corresponding magnets placed face down on the floor with the class sitting around them  . Some Words laminated to help the children with their Story telling ,i.e  Went Down,  Suddenly shouted, was afraid, laughed loudly, depending on their spelling and reading ability. Or you may like to laminate words that begin with the same Sound as the note character, Cross, crisps, cinema, Airport, apple, angrily, Furry, frisky, fudge  etc.  You will need your large classroom board and for an extension of this game some chime bars .


Ask a child to feel in the bag- who do they think they can feel ? ask them to describe what they feel . can the class guess who is in the bag ? – Its Ferdi the Fox !  todays story is going to be about Ferdi the fox . Ask another child to turn over a magnet – is it Ferdi ? keep going until you find him and the child that finds him puts him on the board in the correct room .

ask for a Start to the story or give them one – One evening Ferdi was fascinated by a funny sound he could hear …..

ask the children to begin to develop the story with a sentence or two and help them with your laminated words or sentences if they are stuck for ideas or use it as a reading and spelling exercises too and actually give them little sentences to read .

bring in the next Character by using your laminated words like – ‘then’ or suddenly’ or just after that ‘  and ask the next child to feel for another puppet – who is it ?

build a short story together. Example – One day Ferdi Fox heard a fascinating Sound. It  was a loud banging sound and it frightened him and he ran upstairs to find Elaine the Elephant who is big and strong . They listened together , it was quite exciting ,  Suddenly  Dunstan the dragon came into view outside  Dunstan was banging a drum and practising his marching . Elaine and Ferdi laughed , they ran Outside and joined in .

Lets listen to the tune our story has made – Play F,E D, and ask the children to sing the notes and show with their hands whether the note is higher or lower.

Lets March to get our coats on for home time …  bang a drum and the children can March, or put Here is a House song on and they can March to that.



MUSICAL FAMILIES – In preparation, laminate a variety of instrument pictures, and talk to the children about the different musical families. Introduce them to the sets of instruments – the string family, the percussion family, etc. You may like to play them some of the instruments too. Place pictures on the chairs randomly, then have half the children stand behind chairs, and half in front. When the music plays – the children walk around. Stop the music suddenly and call out “STRING FAMILY”, or “PERCUSSION”, etc. If they have a picture of a member of the string family on the chair they have arrived at – they sit down – if not, they remain standing. The children behind the chairs then put up their hands if the child in front of them has chosen correctly. If they have not chosen correctly – the two swap places with one another. Make sure that every one has a turn walking around. STAVE HOUSE PARTY – Seat all the children on the floor/chairs and label each one as a Stave House Character.  Then if their character is called they have to get up and swap with someone else of the same character. If “Stave House Party” is called then everyone moves. To make it competitive, the last child to swap and sit down when their character is called, is out until you have a winner.  To make it more difficult, the caller can call different characters at the same time.  Also the caller could signal the room number they live in, mime an action, mouth the word, use masks/puppets.  The children who have been caught out could call the next word READING RHYTHM – Put patterns on the board to play  as an accompaniment to the children singing “This old Man ”  let the children read and clap the patterns and give them ideas of patterns they can make themselves. . Divide the children into groups with a standard board and rhythm characters. Each group makes a pattern to play to the song.  Sing it for them whole they play or clap their pattern. Choose some children to play the patterns while the class sings. Aim to get the class singing and playing at the same time for coordination skills. patterns are  wai-t walk walk / walk walk wai-t/ walk walk walk walk /walk jogging walk walk /etc. “ARE YOU THERE?” A perfect song for reception children .Put the character puppets in a bag -before you start the class. Set up the large board . Let the children guess who is in the bag – or let them feel in the bag and guess which character they have in their hand .  When the puppets are all out – give out the magnets . The class sings the song and the child with the puppet sings the solo -“yes I am etc. ”  another child places the corresponding magnet on the board. This is a lovely song to turn into a puppet show. ART DISPLAYS FOR YOUR MUSIC ROOM – Involve your art department in creating  a Bass Clef ocean, A Seasearcher to sit in , or  Alto Clef Bay if your topic is the Seaside. GOODBYE SONG – This is a lovely tidying away song. Download the song from the sheet music section on the website. Put the puppets and magnets away as you sing it. The song teaches the descending scale so children not involved in putting note characters away can sing as move their hands down in steps for the notes of the descending scale. FERDI FOX SAYS … This is rather like Simon Says .  Make or buy a Fox mask . One child can be Ferdi Fox. Give out the boards and magnets. Ferdi calls out instructions i.e. ferdi Fox says Make the note A –   if he doesn’t say – Ferdi Fox says – then those that do it are OUT ! COUNTING CROCODILE –  Using a puppet crocodile – introduce the children to the feel of counting two three or four beats in a bar. tell them that the crocodile is swimming in the river. He is getting hungry . He comes up to catch his Dinner – SNAP ! then he dives back down to eat it it – swim swim . Snap swim swim Snap swim swim.( three beats in a bar )  The children  can make the crocodile with their hands . Sometimes he is very hungry and cannot wait very long between bites – Snap swim snap swim snap swim (two beats in a bar )  other times he waits  for longer while he swims around and works up an appetite.  SNAP  swim swim swim (four counts in a bar ) Help the chidlren to say the counts- !  when the crocodile snaps -two three as he swims etc. let the children guess  what the crocodile is counting  by watching him snap and swim . Let them take turns at working the puppet crocodile for the class to guess the counts.

June 18th: MINIBEAST CURRICULUM (3 of 3) Use Class board, Notebuilder magnets. Room characters, Picture cards etc Revise Graphic score – revise Robin (bird) card as silence equivalent to a minim rest. Class set up = Work in pairs. Copy pattern from board – one child to point one to play. 1 player and one pointer.

  1. Snail  (Minim = wait) Sea searcher C
  2. Tuned percussion – Spi-der – (2  Crotchets =  walk walk) –  use D D – Dunstan
  3. Shakers – La-dy-bird (Quaver,quaver Crotchet = jog-ging walk)   FF    F
  4. Claves –  Ca-ter-pil-lar (Quaver, quaver ,quaver ,quaver =  jog-ging jog-ging )…. AA AA

Demonstrate making pattern on class board (reversed) using picture cards. Explain use of syllables 1, 2, 3, 4.

 Snail  Spider  Ladybird Caterpillar

Then create a different rhythmic pattern. Mix up pattern. Children are reading a score. Children could be given +, =, or – depending on:

  1. Can they work in pairs? One pointer – one player?
  2. Can the children accurately follow the graphic score? Conduct/point accurately for their partner ?
  3. Can they hold a steady pulse when playing? (Check for two beaters being used on tuned percussion)

June 11th: MINIBEAST CURRICULUM (2 of 3) Use Class board, Notebuilder magnets. Picture cards etc Revise Graphic score – revise Robin (bird) card as silence equivalent to a minim rest. Class set up = 6 groups on diff mats, folders with 16 cards – areas instruments ready – 5 children per mat. 4 players and one pointer.

  1. Mini tamb – Snail  (Minim = wait)
  2. Tuned percussion – Spi-der – (2 Crotchets =  walk  walk) –  use F
  3. Shakers – La-dy-bird (Quaver, quaver crotchet = jog-ging walk)
  4. Claves –  Ca-ter-pil-lar (Quaver, quaver, quaver, quaver =  jog-ging jog-ging )

Introduce idea of silence (rest) using Robin (bird) to ‘eat’ the minibeasts – whisper ‘bird’ to demonstrate the idea that silence has a ‘time’… Demonstrate making pattern on class board (reversed) using picture cards. See below Revise use of use of syllables 1, 2, 3, 4 to create patterns.

Snail Ladybird Snail Caterpillar
Spider Caterpillar Ladybird Spider
Snail Ladybird Spider Ladybird
Caterpillar Spider Caterpillar Snail

Pack of 16 cards plus Bird ‘silence’ cards to produce a group graphic score. Then create a different rhythmic pattern.–mix up pattern. Children are reading a graphic score. Children could be given +, =, or – depending on:

  1. Can they work co-operatively as group?
  2. Can the children accurately follow the graphic score? Conduct/point accurately for their team?
  3. Can they hold a steady pulse when playing? (Check for two beaters being used on D)

May 27th: MINIBEAST CURRICULUM: WORDS TO COMPOSE GRAPHIC SCORE (1 of 3) Use Class board  (reversed)  Notebuilder magnets. Minibeast picture cards (Can be used for any topic) Class set up = 4 groups/areas instruments ready.

  1. Mini tamb – Snail (Minim = wait)
  2. Tuned percussion – Spi-der – (2 Crotchets = walk  walk) –  use F
  3. Shakers – La –dy- bird (Quaver,quaver Crotchet = jog-ging walk)
  4. Claves – Ca-ter-pil-lar (Quaver, quaver ,quaver ,quaver = jog-ging jog-ging )

Introduce idea of silence (rest) using Robin to ‘eat’ the minibeasts – whisper Rob-in to demonstrate the idea that silence has a ‘time’…. Demonstrate making pattern on class board using picture cards. Explain use of syllables 1,2,3,4.

Snail Snail Snail Snail
Spider Spider Spider Spider
Ladybird Ladybird Ladybird Ladybird
Caterpillar Caterpillar Caterpillar Caterpillar

Then create a different rhythmic pattern – mix up pattern. Children are reading a graphic score. Swap groups – each group to have a turn at each pattern Play patterns using loud and quiet, fast and slow. Make connection between Rhythm family characters and the graphic score. (Check for two beaters being used on F ) Children could be given   +, =, or – depending on :-

  1. Do they appear to understand the graphic score?
  2. Can the children accurately follow the graphic score?
  3. Can they hold a steady pulse when playing? Always use two beaters?

April 20th: A GAME TO END THE LESSON You can use this as a lining up game at the end of the session or  a sitting down game if everyone needs a bit of movement during the session. Everyone stands up – Teacher says: :: If your name begins with the note that lives in room number three – you can sit down.(or line up ) :: If the letters in your name add up to a dotted minim – you can sit down (or line up), etc. Make it harder by using the Bass Clef for older children.

April 9th: ALL ABOUT BEE This is a super lesson that you can keep very simple or extend depending upon the age of the children. Be Careful, Be confident, Don’t BE a bad loser, etc. The reprise says – I can BE anything I’d like to BE but the very best thing I can BE is ME! And we start the lesson talking about the things the children would like to aspire to be good at, or, Be like. The rest of the class prepared their motto’s by working out the rhythm for the sentence, and then writing it out on laminated music – they could choose to play their tune using tuned percussion on B, E or a combination of both notes.

March 5th: STICK OR CHANGE One child selects a rhythm character and decides whether it’ll be placed on either a bass or treble clef board. The child then places the rhythm character as the class take turns to decide what note is on the board. The first person to get it correct then gets to choose whether to stick with the current clef or change it. After which, they then choose a rhythm character and the process is repeated. Take turns in doing this.

February 26thBRINGING THE NOTEBUILDER SONG TO LIFE Create a ladder on the floor with tubes (boom whackers are good if you have those)  and then act the story – climbing up the ladder rung by rung. You can use the big board too as a visual for the class as an actual stave. Plastic hard hats are also great to add to the Children’s interaction. Games can be played, such as:

  1. The note builder is going somewhere beginning with the note sound… D. The children then pretend to climb the ladder to the correct place.
  2. Children with hard hats choosing a rung to ‘stand’ on whilst the class then have to decide which note they are making.
  3. Ask a child  to put the notebuilder on the board on a run  of their choice – the children with the hard hats then had to do a charade of the note builder doing his specific task on the ladder .

And of course, sing the song several times !

February 19th: TEACH THE PENTATONIC SCALE Make C major scale – then take the notes away to make the pentatonic scale. Let children take turns changing the major scale to a pentatonic scale… Give out laminated rhythm cards either using standard notation or Stave House characters. Let the children work in groups to make 2 bars of four crotchet counts. Use rests as well. Teach them to say happy new year in Chinese. Set those syllables to rhythm. Rest, Walk, Walk, Walk, Wait-234. The children can fit the words to their own tune.

Jan 21stSEMIQUAVERS & TRIPLETS Download the free pictures of semiquavers and triplets from our resources page here. Print and laminate, then make sets of playing cards for your class – using the familiar characters such as father crotchet as well as these new children. Tell the stories about the triplets and semiquavers – you can find them under videos and you can download the worksheets from LCM step 1 and 2 theory worksheets in the shop. Make up sequences to clap and play with tuned percussion.

Jan 14th: CLASS COMPOSITION 2 Give the Children a theme and ask them to compose a 4 bar tune together using the boards – each board can represent 1 or 2 bars. Find a piece of classical music that also expresses this theme. Talk about the composer, the piece, and have a look at the original music to see if they can identify and recognise some notes/rhythmic values. Compose little tunes by putting the boards together and either write a song or a poem to fit the closer rhythms. You could put all the boards together (3 groups of 3 or 4 boards). Copy the finished piece out, or get the children to do this, then play your own class composition from the music. Extend it with percussive effects or movements, and record your composition!

Jan 5th: CLASS COMPOSITION Give out the small boards and magnets and let the children work together in small groups – Explain how music is divided into ‘boxes’ and that we call these boxes ‘bars’. You can explain time signature as well at this point and show examples of different time signatures. Tell the children that their board is one bar. Give them tasks – 4 crotchets to a bar, 3 quavers to a bar, 3 minims to a bar, etc. Now, choose a time signature (preferably something easy to count, such as 3 or 4 crotchets to a bar) and ask the children to make a bar of that time signature using the rhythm characters. Then make each beat a different note. Put 4 groups together to make a new tune of 4 bars. The children need to decide which order sounds the best. For example, it maybe satisfying to end on a longer note rather than having a feeling of an unifnished tune. When they are happy with their composition, they cane:

  1. Clap/Play on untuned percussion
  2. Play on tuned percussion
  3. Give their piece a title
  4. Write words for each bar

You can tie this in with a school topic – write words that compliment the topic.

December 4th: NEW GAME IDEA Group of 30 – singing I can clap in time song – get all students into lines of 5, one person in each line stands up with a character from rhythm family – showing it to their line- revise the note character name and value and clapping pattern of each. When we sing about their character, ONLY the line who holds that character claps the rhythm. This gets the children to focus on their character and we can hear more clearly if they are clapping the correct pattern. Recommended materials include: Small board & Magnets

November 16th: PLAYING TIPS

  1. Using tuned percussion: before you ask the children to play their tuned percussion, get them to hold the beaters in the air like umbrellas – one in each hand. Practice in the air -left right left right.
  2. Playing practice: get the children to hold out one hand as though an imaginary Chime bar was sitting on it – play with the beater on the hand in time to the song that you are going to play together.
  3. Good songs for this are: – I can play in time – The shepherds Counting song

Finding the chime bars: tell the children whose note sounds they are going to play – ask where to put the magnets on the board –  find the matching  chime bars. With the shepherds counting song we just play on the count – 1234 1234 – we then stop and sing the next line etc. We have two groups of children – one playing A one playing D. The children like to be the one that leads their group in playing in time. Point to the correct note on the board as you sing – if you are playing rhythmic values – tap with your finger each time on the magnet. Recommended materials include: Small board & Magnets, chime bar beater

November 13th: HELP MAINTAIN PRACTICE (for older and private music students) To help maintain practice over the Christmas Holidays – make a list of the most helpful videos for the stage your student is at. Make sure your students all have their own boards to work with at home and suggest that they log on to and give them a list of videos to watch and join in with to reinforce the bass clef, intervals, key  signatures, etc, or even the earlier steps and songs  -that way- they will have a little break from the normal practice routine and will enjoy using their computer – but will still be reinforcing their learning. If you have not yet supplied boards to your students – we suggest you invoice the students – and then make a bulk order from us –  which will entitle you to a discount which you can keep as commission. Recommended materials include: Small board & magnets

November 9thBASS CLEF NONSENSE SONG We have found this song extremely popular with year 3 and 4. They love to think of ridiculous words beginning with the same letter as the bass clef note they have chosen. We use a toy for each character – guppy, eel, crab, anemone. We sing the song and throw one of the characters for a child to catch – that determines the note they are going to sing about – it’s their turn to choose the word – For example – Crab ONLY think about things beginning with C – chocolate cake, climbing, cooking, etc etc. It’s an extremely good literacy link for them. You can have another child placing the bass characters on the board. It’s a lot of fun and gets everyone laughing but reinforces the spaces of the bass clef excellently. A taster of the song can be heard on the home page if you press the music button – and the sheet music is available as a download from the shop. Recommended materials include: Puppets, small board & magnets