When you have a sub, a lot things may not go as planned. One of my subbing experiences (luckily for a band director!) involved sub plans for Google Classroom and nothing else. Except the entire school lost internet. But if I hadn’t been a music sub in a music class, it could have been disaster.
Not only can things go wrong but sometimes, districts won’t allows a sub to log into computers, or use technology. Here are some great ideas you can use with a sub that require no tech.

1. Children’s Literature

This is probably one of the biggest options for no-tech subs. A book with a musical concept, or about a composer or musician. There are so many books out there that you can use and you can use them so many different ways. Add a worksheet about a musician or composer, have students write a reaction to the book, tell their favorite part, design their own instrument or anything that goes with it. Not only that, but books can also serve for creative work. See #5 for more ideas!
If you are looking for a book, check out The Ultimate Music Ed Book List

The Ultimate Music Ed Book List has some great options for children’s literature for the music class. There will always be free access to this list.

2. Worksheets, coloring, individual work

No one likes leaving worksheets, but leaving them can help a sub control the class. They take up time, can help reinforce concepts students have been working on, and gosh darn it, will fill the time. I hate to say it, but it’s true. There are lots of great workshops available on TpT. You can check out all the worksheets in my store here.

3. Bingo Games

These can work, but may be a little tricky. If you are doing this with a sub, they have to be able to read whatever is being called for the game. Musical instruments or solfege where the notes are names of the notes are written for the sub would work. This version of Musical Instrument Bingo from my friend Chrissy at Hutzel House of Music would be great for this.

4. Sound Stories

Back to children’s literature, this would be a great lesson to leave if you trust the instrument situation. Have the sub read the book. Then students break into groups to create sounds that go along with each character, or action. When the story is re-read, the students play their sound for each character. Small classroom percussion is perfect for this. They can also add movements for different characters, Not only does this allow the students to have a creative experience, but going through the story multiple times allows for time to be filled.

My friend Sally just released a super adorable one to the story The Gingerbread Man. She even wrote a B-A-G refrain for the gingerbread man, and included an Orff arrangement. I got to preview it and I think it could easily be used with a sub and then expanded when you are back in the classroom.

5. Composing

If your students have done composing before, there are some great things you can leave them so they can have a creative experience with some parameters. They can compose with colors, shapes, or notation or combine any of those to create a work they are going to be proud of. They can even compose short patterns that they can combine with their classmates to create a longer composition. Check out the composing resources in my store with lots of seasonal or all year options.

Bonus: Low Tech Ideas

  • Listening reaction sheet
  • Composer/musician lessons with listening
  • Students create their own Move It to a piece of music (Experience recommended)
  • Students create their own folk dance (Experience recommended)
  • Find more sub resources from The Music Crew.
Melissa Stouffer-1

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