December can be a difficult month in the music classroom. Many teachers are busy marking exams and assessments and writing reposts. Music teachers have an added 'bonus' of preparing for concerts.

To top it off, students are slipping into holiday mode, making it more challenging to prepare lessons that will keep them focused and engaged.  

December is a month to be kind to yourself! Take a look at the music lesson teaching resources and opportunities December brought to you by MTR.


1 December is the start of SUMMER in the Southern Hemisphere

Warm weather, school vacation, and endless fun - there are just so many reasons to love summer! Enjoy music learning with these MTR Summer-themed resources. Click the image below to see them all!

Beach, Summer, Beach Ball, Sea, Vacation, Sand, Ocean

5 December is Little Richard's Birthday

Richard Wayne Penniman, known by his stage name Little Richard, was an American recording artist, songwriter, and musician.

Little Richard is one of the early rock and roll music creators of the 1950s. Along with Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, he was on the front line of a musical revolution.

In 1986, Little Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was among the first seven people to be added to the museum.

MTR has a Word Search and Research activity to help students learn more about Little Richard and his music. There is a printable and digital version! 
LITTLE RICHARD Word Search and Research Activity  LITTLE RICHARD Word Search and Research Activity for Use w


6 December is Dave Brubeck's Birthday

David Warren Brubeck was an American jazz pianist and composer who helped make jazz popular again in the 1950s and '60s.

Brubeck brought elements of classical music into jazz. His music employs unusual time signatures and superimposes contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities.

Have your students listen to two of Brubeck's most popular pieces. Both show his interest in and exploration of unusual time signatures.

1. TAKE FIVE. Brubeck co-wrote this piece with Paul Desmond, the saxophonist in the Dave Brubeck Quartet. The meter of 'Take Five' is 5/4.

2. UNSQUARE DANCE. Although based on a blues structure, 'Unsquare Dance' also has a distinct country and western feel.  A strong bass pattern drives Unsquare Dance and combines duple and triple meters.

Try this fun RHYTHM ACTIVITY with your students.

Learn more about Dave Brubeck and his music with these MTR resources.
DAVE BRUBECK BUNDLE of Music Listening Worksheets and Rese DAVE BRUBECK Music Listening Activities and Biography Rese  DAVE BRUBECK Music Word Search and Biography Research Acti 


7 December is Sara Bareilles' Birthday

Sara Beth Bareilles is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, and producer. Bareilles released her debut studio album, Careful Confessions, in 2004.

She received further recognition with the release of her second studio album, Little Voice (2007). The album included the hit single "Love Song", which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned her two Grammy Award nominations, including Song of the Year. In 2010, she released her third studio album, Kaleidoscope Heart, with its lead single "King of Anything" earning a Grammy Award nomination.

In 2011, Bareilles served as a judge in the third season of the NBC singing competition series The Sing-Off. In 2013, she released her fourth studio album, The Blessed Unrest, which earned two Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year.

Check out MTR's word search with research activity to learn more about Sara Bareilles' life and music.

SARA BAREILLES Music Word Search & Research Activity for G


8 December is Jean Sibelius' Birthday

Jean Sibelius, born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius, was a Finnish composer of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely regarded as his country's greatest composer, and his music is often credited with having helped Finland develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.

The core of his oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies, which, like his other major works, are regularly performed and recorded in Finland and many other countries.

Learn more about Sibelius using MTR's word search puzzle. It's not your ordinary word search game. It has a research/written activity based on the words hidden in the word search. Your students are not merely finding words in the word search - they are also learning about Sibelius by researching what these words had to do with his life and music.

SIBELIUS Word Search and Research Activity for Middle Scho


8 December is Nicki Minaj's Birthday

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born rapper in the United States. She is known for her musical versatility, animated flow in her rapping, alter egos and accents. Minaj first gained recognition after releasing three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009. Her debut album, Pink Friday (2010), topped the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Its fifth single, "Super Bass", reached number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified diamond by the RIAA. Minaj's follow-up album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), explored dance-pop. The lead single, "Starships", peaked in the top five worldwide.

Check out MTR's music resources to help you introduce her life and music to your music students.
Nicki Minaj: Music Listening and Research Foldables


12 December is Frank Sinatra's Birthday

Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer, actor, producer and director. He is among the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide.

Born to Italian immigrants in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra was greatly influenced by the intimate, easy-listening vocal style of Bing Crosby and began his musical career in the swing era with bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Sinatra found success as a solo artist after he signed with Columbia Records in 1943, becoming the idol of the "Bobby Soxers".

MTR's got several music resources to help your students learn more about his musical life.
FRANK SINATRA BUNDLE - Music Activities for Middle and Jr   FRANK SINATRA Research and Listening Activities for Middle  FRANK SINATRA Word Search and Research Activity for Middle


13 December is Taylor Swift's Birthday

Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter.

Swift rose to the top of the country music charts with her pop-infused tales of teen heartache. Her narrative songwriting, which often takes inspiration from her personal life, has received widespread critical praise and media coverage.

Taylor Swift is one of the best-selling music artists, with over 200 million records sold worldwide. Her accolades include 11 Grammy Awards and 28 Guinness World Records.

Learn more about Taylor and her music with these MTR resources:
TAYLOR SWIFT Music Listening Worksheets and Biography Rese  Women's History Month Music Lesson Activities and Workshee  TAYLOR SWIFT Music Listening and Research Foldables  Women's History Month Music Lesson Worksheets and Activiti  TAYLOR SWIFT Word Search and Research Activity for Middle  


16 December is Zoltan Kodaly's Birthday

Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is well known internationally as the creator of the Kodály method of music education.

The Kodály method, also referred to as the Kodály concept, is an approach to music education developed in Hungary during the mid-twentieth century by Zoltán Kodály. His philosophy of education inspired the method, which was then developed over several years by his associates. In 2016, the method was inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Check out MTR's interactive resources for Kodály. 
KODALY: Interactive Listening and Research Activity Foldables  Music Classroom Decor Set: Kodaly/Curwen Hand Sign Posters Set 1  Music Posters: Music Classroom Decor: Kodaly/Curwen Hand S  Music Classroom Decor Set: Kodaly/Curwen Hand Sign Posters Set 3


Download the 'DECEMBER Teaching Opportunities' as a PDF to keep in your files for quick access.

CLICK here for your copy.

See PART 2 of this blog post. 

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