Creative Sequence Music Teacher is Here!

We are proud to announce that the Creative Sequence Music Teacher app has been released into the iOS App Store this weekend. For $9.99, you get unlimited, quick lesson plans that are synced online, shareable with other CSMT users, and convertible to PDFs for sharing at school or printing.

CSMT is a universal app, and one purchase allows you to use it on your iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Future features, including daily planner, monthly calendar, and grade book will be a free upgrade to those who purchase the app now.

Visit for more information.

How to insert a score into a Google Drive lesson plan

Many Creative Sequence users enjoy the online Google Drive lesson plan templates. Being able to access and share lesson plans anywhere, from any device, is certainly handy. However, there are some limitations to Google Spreadsheets. One major limitation is images. If you paste an image into the spreadsheet, it floats over top of the form, and does not stay where you want it.

To insert a score into the “repertoire” cell, use the following formula in that cell:


However, this assumes you have a url (web address) for your image. If you have the score image on your computer, how do you upload it to a url? Well, if you have a Google Drive account, then you also have a Google+ (plus) account (all Google offerings are now linked together in one account).

To find Google+, look for the square of nine little squares in the top right of your Drive window. Click on this, then choose the “g+”. If it’s your first time in Google+, you may have to answer some setup questions. Once through this process, look for the “Home” button on the top left. Click this to open a menu, then choose “Photos”. From here, there is an “Upload Photos” button, or you can drag and drop images from your computer.

Once you have a score saved on Google+, open the image, then right-click (ctrl-click on Mac) and choose “Copy image url”. Finally, go back into your Lesson Plan spreadsheet, and replace “” with the copied address. Once you hit “enter”, you will see your score in the cell! Resize to make it fit better, and you’re done.imageexample

So…one more question. How do we make those scores in the first place?

Creating a digital score with Noteflight

Creative Sequence users have seen many clean, simple scores for folk songs and other children’s music. These scores have been created with Noteflight. Noteflight is an online music notation software, that allows you to create, edit, and retrieve scores from any device, at any time (similar to the way Google Drive works with documents and spreadsheets).

If you are new to Noteflight, you will have to sign up for an account. It is free for the basic membership, but there are limitations to score options and the number of files you can save. Full access is about $50 per year, relatively inexpensive compared to desktop notation software.

Once you have created a score, the simplest way to save it as an image is by taking a screenshot. On Windows machines, use the Snipping Tool (you can search for the tool, it’s location varies depending on your edition of Windows). On Mac, press alt-shift-4. In both cases, this will bring up crosshairs that you can drag around your score, and quickly snap an image. Once you find where the image is stored, you can upload the image and use it for your online lesson plans.

National Core Music Standards Online Template

To celebrate the launch of Aligning Your Creative Sequence to the Core Music Standards, our new book with 18 lesson plans aligned to the National Core Music Standards, feel free to try out our Google Drive template, complete with drop-down lists of the new standards! You must be logged into Google to view this link below.

If you like this resource, you can also purchase Creative Sequence: Teaching Music with Flexibility & Organization, which comes with an access code for more online templates!

Recorder and National Core Creative Sequence Books Now Available!

We are proud to announce the publication of two new titles.

Recorder: A Creative Sequence is the second media supplement (following Xylophone & Other Barred Percussion) to the Creative Sequence Series. Written by Alan Purdum, this volume covers every detail of using the recorder in your creative music classroom. Lessons follow a melodic sequence, and can be adapted to any upper elementary grade. $30 Print

Aligning Your Creative Sequence to the Core Music Standards is a guide for beginning and veteran teachers to understand and adapt the new National Core Music Standards. There are 18 broad lessons, which touch on every single standard for K-5 Music. Also included is background and analysis of the new standards and their impact. $30 Print

Both volumes will also be available shortly from major music education retailers.

Xylophone book now available in Digital Editions

Xylophone & Other Barred Percussion is now available in iBooks and Kindle formats, in addition to the color print edition. You get the same 44 lessons, complete with zoom-enabled scores, and working links from one part of the book to another.

Color Print, 162 pages: $35

iBooks (iPad, iPhone, iPod): $16.99

(Due to Amazon royalty contracts, the Kindle version has been split into two volumes. Notice that this is still an incredible discount compared to the print edition.)
Kindle Edition, Part I: $8.49
Kindle Edition, Part II: $8.49

Xylophone & Other Barred Percussion

We’re pleased to announce the first supplemental volume to Creative Sequence, Xylophone & Other Barred Percussion. This volume provides a complete sequence of 44 melodic and harmonic barred percussion lessons, from mallet exploration and so-mi patterns to diatonic modes and functional harmony. It also includes suggestions on creating your own lessons, and incorporating barred percussion into your existing curriculum. Available online now, and will be in stores soon!

Iowa and Ohio Lesson Plan Templates

Creative Sequence online templates now include state-specific lesson plan templates for Iowa and Ohio teachers! The drop-down lists on these templates have removed NAfME standards and 21st Century Skills and replaced them with state standards and guidelines.

If there are active Creative Sequence teachers out there in other states that would like a specialized template, please leave a note in the comments!

New Google Drive Templates Added

Since the Creative Sequence lesson plan template on Google Drive was popular, we have now added interactive templates for Elemental Concepts (Full Scope & Sequence), Yearly Elemental Map, Planning Calendar, and Repertoire Collection! Click on the Template Files to access these new templates. You must be logged in (code available with purchase of Creative Sequence book) to access these resources.

New National Core Music Standards

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards ( has opened the new draft Core Arts Standards for public review between now and July 15. Please visit their website and partake in the public review!

While the standards are still in draft form, it is a good time to start thinking about how they will align with and impact our current curricula. To help you with this process, here are some ideas about aligning the Creative Sequence components with the new music standards.

Artistic Processes

The new music standards are organized into three Artistic Processes:

  • Creating
  • Performing
  • Responding

At first glance, these align nearly perfectly to the Creative Sequence Process:

  • Experience – (Aligns with Performing)
  • Analyze – (Aligns with Responding)
  • Create – (Aligns with Creating)

However, when we delve into the underlying standards, we will see there is more to each of these than simply process.

Process Component & Anchor Standards

Under the three processes, there are thirteen Anchor Standards. While these are written as complete sentences, they can also be summed up by the Process Components that align with them.

Below, after each process component, we will list the Creative Sequence Process step that aligns.

  • Creating
    • ImagineCreate: Experiment
    • PlanCreate: Improvise, Compose, Arrange
    • Make/Evaluate/Refine – Create: Improvise, Compose, Arrange
    • Present – Create: Improvise, Compose, Arrange, Notate
  • Performing
    • SelectAnalyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Read, Describe
    • AnalyzeAnalyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Read, Describe
    • Interpret – Analyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Read, Describe
    • Rehearse/Evaluate/Refine – Experience: Perform; Analyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Describe
    • Present – Experience: Perform
  • Responding
    • Select – Analyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Read, Describe
    • Analyze – Analyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Read, Describe
    • Interpret – Analyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Read, Describe
    • Evaluate – Analyze: Explore, Identify, Label, Describe

As you can see, the new National Music Standards align heavily with higher-ordered thinking processes, especially analysis. Unfortunately, they seem to practically eliminate the necessary skill-building. The National Standards in their current draft form do not focus on ElementsRepertoire, or Media. Therefore, at this time, it is not possible to align these components with the new standards.

More will be posted as the review process continues. For another look, check out Tim’s blog post on the subject.