Making the Mundane Musical

Rhythmic Behavior Management

I’m excited to be embarking on a new blogging project, writing for Minnesota Public Radio’s music education website. My first article, “Making the Mundane Musical,” is about finding ways to better utilize time in my elementary music classroom by making the details of classroom management and lesson structure into lessons about music. Please check it out!


The Okee Dokee Brothers, Justing Lansing and Joe Mailander, with their well-deserved Grammy.

It seems that all Minnesotans are celebrating the Grammy win of the local kids’ bluegrass duo, the Okee Dokee Brothers, but none more than my students.  Ever since the Okee Dokee Brothers visited my school last spring and performed a concert, my students have been obsessed with their music.  They beg to listen to “Bluegrass for Breakfast” every day.  They regularly ask me when the band is coming back to the school.  Any time they hear a banjo, someone will comment that it’s the instrument that Justin plays.  So in honor of their victory, we held our own version of the Grammys in my classes. Continue reading


This week, third grade was studying the solar system in science.  I decided that this would be a good opportunity to introduce them to Gustav Holst’s composition, The Planets.  After a short introduction to each of the Roman gods who the planets are named after, I played the first movement and asked the students to try to guess which planet the music was describing.  In every class, the first student I called on answered correctly with Mars.  And in every class, students were able to name off all of the right clues that led them to that answer — lots of brass, drums, “makes me feel like marching,” etc.  They enjoyed it so much that some students requested that they try a movement every day and then have a listening test at the end! Continue reading