Play That Tune: Music Sites For the Classroom

from Educators' eZine

According to the National Association for Music Education, or NAME, the benefits of music education fall into four "success" categories: success in society, success in school, success in developing intelligence, and success in life (NAME, 2002). The Internet can serve as one accessible way to provide student and teachers with access to a variety of musical dictionaries and encyclopedias – reference materials not commonly available in classrooms (Thompson, 1999).

PBS Kids-Jazz

This site offers a number of learning opportunities for students. With sections such as "Jazz Greats," "Timeline," "Bandleader," "Meet A Musician," and "Join the Jazz Band" students can spend hours learning about Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and more.

New York Philharmonic-KidZone

This site can provide hours of music edutainment with a "Game Room," "Musicians' Lounge," "Composers' Gallery," "Instrument Storage Room," "Instrument Laboratory," etc. Students can build their own musical instrument virtually in the Instrument Laboratory and create and compose their own music in the Composition Workshop.


Although the site seems more dedicated to selling books and CDs, it does have some helpful advice, such as step-by-step exercises for students to learn how to improvise for both jazz and traditional styles. JazzKids will help student learn to hear and accurately perform swing and straight rhythms as well. One of the best features of the site is that it can help students to unlock their own creativity by learning how to invent their own music, while also developing their ear and reading skills. But be aware that it is also a commercial site.

This is a creative music environment for children of all ages. The site provides a place for kids to compose music, play with musical performance, and try music games and music puzzles. Student can also learn about music from different cultures.

This is an online creative music environment from the American Symphony Orchestra League to teach about orchestras and their music. Topics range from musical instruments to meeting musicians and composers. This interactive web on music has a number of engaging web activities for students to virtually put a violin back together, to naming a woodwind by sound, and much more.

SFS-Kids Fun With Music

From the famed San Francisco Symphony, this website allows students to spend hours learning everything from the basics of music theory to creating their very own music. One special feature is the Composerizer, which provides an interactive way for a student to apply the basics of theory and compose his or her own musical piece.

Smithsonian Jazz

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra provides a comprehensive learning experience on jazz, a uniquely American form of music. The site's mission is to enrich the public's historical understanding of jazz music by engaging musical performances and stimulating educational activities. Smithsonian Jazz provides a number of musical learning experiences that can enlighten the beginner and inspire the enthusiast. For the beginner, there's a section on the roots of jazz. For the enthusiast, there are audio clips of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Carter. Teachers can download lesson plans and worksheets to make learning jazz fun.


A fun and educational music site created by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, it includes both a teacher and student sections. Students can spend hours learning about musical instruments, the set up for an orchestra, and play games like Beethoven's Baseball and Composer Keyboard. There is also a teacher's lounge where educators can download lesson plans from a searchable lesson plan database, learn more about theory, and print sheet music. provides a number of excellent features to educate both beginner and the advanced musician. The site has interactive features such as chord calculator, staff paper generator and a matrix generator which can be printed for use in the classroom. There are also interactive games for students allowing them to practice learning musical notes, musical keys, and much more. is a teacher's one stop shopping website for musical theory.

Essentials of Music

A great place to refresh your knowledge of classical music. It provides information on six major periods of music: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century. Each era has historical themes, musical context, information on style, and composers of the time period. The website also provides a comprehensive list of composers in alphabetical order.


Lasko, E (2002). Music Education Facts and Figures. Retrieved May 5, 2007, from The National Association for Music Education Web site.

Thompson, K. P. (1999). Internet resources for general music. Music Educators Journal. 86, 30-36.

Email:Julia VanderMolen