November 06, 2020

Yikes! I Need a Music Sub Tomorrow


Music Sub Plans - Yikes! I need a music sub tomorrow. That is the scenario that many of us run into when unexpected events in life occur for us. In an ideal world, we would be in our classrooms rehearsing, on stage performing or creating lasting relationships with our students. Sometimes family circumstances pull us away from our students. Other times professional development, training, or, school activities pull us from our classrooms. Despite these reasons, they all require us to scramble to try to find a music substitute.

Problematic Realism

In general, if I have an event that I know I am going to be absent, well in advance, I plan to acquire a music sub. I make sure I plan activities based on what the sub is capable of doing. Unfortunately, if I don't intend to be gone the next day, I don't typically have great sub-plan prepared. There have been times when I have had to resort to showing appropriate school movies in last-minute situations. Often, this is not looked at by administration favorably, and more importantly, the students don't get a meaningful musical experience.

Creating Solutions

Finding solutions for not having a highly qualified substitute is not always possible. Here are some recommended things you can do ahead of time to improve the chances your students will have a meaningful experience.

Firstly, create a clearly labeled substitute binder that your department members and administrator know where to retrieve. Next, include the following:

  • Emergency Drills (Maps and procedures)
  • A List of classroom procedures
  • Your Daily Schedule
  • A reporting summary and grade for how each class did
  • A list of materials students may use and their location
  • A seating chart
  • A list of student leaders that can take of certain specific tasks
  • A student roster for each class
  • If the school is 1 to 1 with computers, online theory, history or class objective oriented games assessments.
  • Schedule for activities
  • Student lead music games (with prior practice)

Subs with a Music Background

In some instances, you will have a sub that may not have rehearsal or interactivity skills; however, may have experience as a musician. In these situations, you may be able to arrange certain instructional music activities. For quick resources, check out TeachersPayTeachers or research Pinterest for great ideas.

Regardless if you have three months to prepare or an afternoon, it would wise to have a sub tub. The tub would be where you would have any sub oriented pieces of equipment such as boombox. I would also recommend preparing three sets of emergency sub plans that require no musical skills

Final Thoughts

Is there a way to be anxious-free knowing that your students will be well-behaved angels who are experiencing a meaningful musical activity? The jury is still out on that; however, at least you know that with some preparatory effort, you have set a measurable standard for what your students are capable of doing while you are away. Organization skills are the key to a well rounded and professional music educator who cares about what is most important - the children.



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