Band Substitute Lesson Plan (for a non-music sub)

Do you need a band substitute lesson plan for a general substitute to use?  All you need for this is the ability to show on-line videos and printouts of the worksheets provided below. Have the links ready to go.  They can link to them all from this post, but be sure you can easily access this website from school.

Suggested Band Substitute Lesson Plan for a 50 minute class period with more than they can get done just to be sure there’s no time left at the end. Click here to download a printable PDF. It includes the substitute instructions as well as the worksheet.

Attendance (2 minutes)
As the students enter please tell them they will need only a pen/pencil and a hard surface to write on today.  No instruments. Please have students sit in their normal seats. Take attendance.

Pass out worksheets (1 minute)
Please give each child a copy of the “What I Learned in Band Today”  paper. Please have them put their names on them and tell them that we WILL be looking at them when we return.  We expect thoughtful and engaged answers.

Show Video #1 – How to Read Music  (6 minutes)
Answer Video #1 questions (2-3 minutes)

Show Video #2 – How Brass Instruments Work  (4 minutes)
Answer Video #2 questions (2-3 minutes)

Show Video #3 –How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain  (5 minutes)
Answer Video #3 questions (2-3 minutes)

Video #4 –A Different Way to Visualize Rhythm (5 minutes)
Answer Video #4 questions (2-3 minutes)

Show Video #5 – A-rhythm-etic – The Math Behind the Beats  (6 minutes)
Answer Video #5 questions (3 minutes)
Allow students to get into groups of 4 to create their own group rhythm patterns DEPENDING on how well they are acting.  If they can not handle free group work (your call) simply continue on to the optional portion.

Time Permitting Optional Video (It’s fine if they get to watch part or all of it but not answer questions.)

ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL Video #6 – Music and Math the Genius of Beethoven (4 minutes)
Answer Video #6 questions (3 minutes)

WHEN THE BELL RINGS – please collect papers as the students are leaving.

Here are the questions for the videos – also available in the PDF download here. The formatting here is not correct – we highly recommend you print from the PDF download.

Video #1 – How to Read Music  

1) The left/right axis on a staff tells a performer:
      a) the rhythm   b) the beat   c) the pitch   d) the clef

2) In music, the letters A to G describe:
      a) the rhythm   b) the beat   c) the pitch   d) the clef

3) Which time signature tells a performer that there are four half note beats in each bar?
      a) 2/4    b) 4/2     c) 2/2     d) 4/4

4) What kind of music inspires you?  Why?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5) Name 3 things in this video that you already knew because your band directors are awesome?  _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Video #2 – How Brass Instruments Work

1) Brass instruments create vibration from ____________:
      a) being plucked or bowed   b) being struck   c) the mouth (lips)  d) air against a reed

2) The brass instrument capable of playing the lowest notes is the:
      a) tuba  b) trombone   c) trumpet   d) clarinet

3) What did the video mention about the importance of the use of air? Do you think this is true for woodwind players as well?  What about percussion?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4) Explain how a brass musician can create various pitches with his/her instrument.  If you are not a brass player, explain how your instrument is able to create various pitches also.


Video #3 – How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain 

1) Neuroscientists are excited about watching the brain functions of musicians because…
     a) musicians brains are cuter than average  b) musicians brains have green polka dots  
     c) musicians use more parts of their brains to simultaneously complete tasks

2) Learning a musical instrument has been found to assist in our memory abilities.  How does your capacity to remember facts, ideas, things you have seen and heard, impact your ability to learn?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3) What are some things you get to do in band that use your brain in a different way than your other classes at school?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Video #4 –A Different Way to Visualize Rhythm 

1) A rhythm requires:
     a) a beat   b) a pitch  c) a vowel   d) a beat with a distinguishable offbeat or backbeats

2) Name one of the styles of music he showed in this video that you liked.  Which one made you want to tap your foot or dance?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3)Sketch 2 examples of a rhythm circle
you think would sound cool. Make one

4) How are the layers of rhythms and the layers of instruments in a band similar?  (hint: how do many different parts to the music fit together?)


Show Video #5 – A-rhythm-etic – The Math Behind the Beats 

1) What does Cameron call his style of rhythm?
     a) a-rhythm-nation   b) a-rhythm-etic  c) a-beat-bop-a-rhythm   d)rhythm-math

2) Cameron compares the beats in a measure to the amount of _________
a) quarters in a dollar   b) pennies in a nickel   c) nickels in a dime   d) all of these

3) In your own words, explain how music is mathematical…

4) Do you think Cameron practices a lot?  Do you think he feels like it’s worth it?  Does he seem to enjoy playing his instrument?

Video #6 – Music and Math the Genius of Beethoven 

  1. Name 2 things from this video that you ALREADY knew:
  1. Name 3 things from this video that you did not know (but you do know now):

Bonus – What are your 2 favorites thing we do in band class


Links to all videos:

How to Read Music – Great for any class – specifically for beginners.

Music and Math the Genius of Beethoven – More advanced than the others.  Best for upper middle school or high school.

How Brass Instruments Work  – Perfect for beginning brass classes.  However, some of the information applies to other instruments and overall it is interesting enough that any student would enjoy it.

A-rhythm-etic – The Math Behind the Beats – Very engaging!  Your percussionists will drool over it, but all the students will be tapping along to this one. (I’d save this for last – it may be their favorite.)

How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain – Show this to every student in your program!  It’s good for them to realize all the ‘brain benefits’ of music.

A Different Way to Visualize Rhythm– Interesting way to look at rhythms from around the world.  Great for any class.

We hope these band substitute plans make your life easier and help your kids have a productive and educational day.

Don’t forget to download the READY TO PRINT pdf copy of this entire lesson plan here! It’s FREE!

Related Reading:
4th/5thGrade Substitute Lesson Plan (more general music focused but works for band as well)
How to Have a Student Led Band Class When you have a Substitute
Teaching Clarinets to “Roll to A” Isn’t Enough
Band Seating Chart in 3 Minutes(Free Template)

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