1/25/17: I added another version-this one plays a cello ensemble cover of "Let's Get Down to Business" from Mulan while the timer counts down. My middle schoolers definitely felt pumped for rehearsal after listening to this!
Using tuning tracks I downloaded from orchestrateacher.net, I created two tuning-sequence videos that count down how much time they have left to get ready and then cycles through tuning drones. You can download the video by clicking the icon in the bottom right corner of the video player.
Video #1: Tuning Countdown Only (no class transition time)
Video #2: Class Transition + Tuning Countdown
In the past I have used musicracer.com to drill fingerings, but I didn't like not having much control over which notes would be drilled for each instrument. I made some Google Form quizzes that can be used as a drill for the D Major scale notes for each instrument. Questions are presented in a random order. Feel free to share these links on your blog/website for your students.
If you would like a copy of this quiz that you can edit in your google drive, let me know! I will need you to provide the email you use to log into Google Drive in order to send the invitation.
I put together a "cheat-sheet" for my beginner (6th Grade) students to help them learn the D-string notes. I pass this out with a small packet of activities (note-reading, fingering chart worksheets, how to draw the clef on the staff, etc.). This way I can work with one section at a time and make sure that their hand is in the right position and help diagnose any posture/position problems.
On days when you have abbreviated class meetings or when you will be out, it's always difficult to come up with new and engaging activities to do without instruments.
I have been listening to NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" on my commute lately, and I stumbled across their concert featuring Flor de Toloache, an all-female Mariachi group. All of my classes are working on a Mariachi song for our latin themed concert in November. Today I gave them some information about Flor de Toloache and its members that they could complete while watching the concert. You can download the worksheet below the video.
Other podcasts that are music-related:
Soul Music (BBC Radio): Takes pieces of music with "powerful emotional impact" and discusses the background and history of the song. Songs range from classical to broadway hits.
Far too many of my students rely on writing note names/finger numbers beneath EVERY single note. As soon as I hand them a new piece of music they frantically begin writing in note names trying desperately to get all the way through the page before we start playing.
In order to help increase their note-reading skills we started doing a sight reading drill daily. I project the example up on the screen to prevent them from writing in note names (thankfully I'm in a classroom where my projector is mounted high enough on the wall that everyone in the ensemble can see, even while I'm standing on the podium).
Each PDF below has 25 sight reading examples for you to use. Let me know how it goes in your classroom!