First, I'd like to shout out to Graham Hepburn for creating "Quaver's Marvelous World of Music." What a musical treasure this interactive website has become in my classroom. I had the pleasure of meeting Graham a few years ago, when my school system introduced us to his interactive curriculum and purchased it for the entire county to use. I'm so overjoyed that my students at The Davis Academy get to meet Quaver as well! The resources are endless, the opportunities are amazingly creative, and the motivation to "see Quaver" is the possibly the best source of classroom management I've ever implemented.
It may look like a simple webpage, but this exciting sidewalk has a TON of sound effects, links, and places to visit that will lead students to the marvelous world of music. Once I've logged in, my very own avatar appears - with guitar in hand (Quaver still needs to get a ukulele in the program)! Sometimes we visit and even design aspects of my online music room, which has the same chair as my Davis music room!
In addition to my very own music room, I frequently take the students to Quaver's School of Music. My avatar gets on the school bus and goes to the school, where there is a large menu of music theory "classes," instrument families, composers and music history, and music styles. Each topic has a plethora of resources available - including a 10 - 15min episode with Graham himself starring in the show! There are interactive whiteboard activities, listening tracks, and so much more.
As a general music teacher, I see my students once (sometimes twice) a week, but no more than that. I've always wanted to implement "systems" in my room, like classrooms teachers have. I see classroom teachers have systems and procedures and the students know the room so well. They know where every item belongs and where to find anything they may need. Students are never as familiar with my room, as they don't visit it as frequently. But one thing always stays the same - Quaver. I LOVE that my students come to music expecting to see Quaver, asking about our Composer of the Month, and know how to be a good audience.
When I'm not hanging out with Quaver, I'm frequently on Teachers Pay Teachers, checking out the latest music lesson that someone has created. It blows my mind how many resources already exist. What a clever idea for teachers to create their own resources so that other teachers can use them! For teachers, by teachers - brilliant! A dear friend of mine, Shelley Tomich, has her own publication company - Pitch Publications - and has created some incredible lessons, games, and resources. She just resigned as a teacher, so she can work full time on creating resources for those of us that might not be as creative to create on our own. You can easily find her new lessons on Facebook and Twitter.
I think a huge source of inspiration is surfing my colleague's social media. I get more ideas from surfing Facebook late at night and seeing what my other music teacher friends have posted from their own lessons. Sometimes when I'm telling my husband about these lessons, he has his own set of questions... and I've come to realize that he's a great source as well. He's not a musician, but has a great knowledge of classical music. I get some of my greatest ideas from his questions and his own musical interests. I guess that goes to show that you can find inspiration where you least expect it!