Free Lesson Plan for Your Music Sub

Free Lesson Plan for Your Music Sub

There are few things worse than unexpectedly needing a sub. It often begins with an unexpected circumstance that upsets your routine, followed by the realization of what the consequences will be for your classroom. You’ll miss rehearsal time with your students, your sub may or may not have music experience, and you might not even be able to contact them beforehand.

The worst part is you may not have a plan prepared for a sub. It’s starting to look like your students are going to spend valuable class time watching Mr. Holland’s Opus. Again.

Preparing for a sub ahead of time means that your students will actually learn about music even if the sub isn’t a music teacher. There are some great resources to help with this. For example, you might check out Daniel Glass’ From Ragtime to Rock. This DVD introduces students to popular music history with a focus on listening and musical analysis. It includes an in-depth teacher guide, complete with discussion questions and worksheets for students to complete. The included film, From Ragtime to Rock, is 90-minutes long and can be shown in a single setting, or divided into 14-stand alone units.

Daniel has kindly shared two excerpts, from segments on the big band era and the early days of rock and roll, for you (or your sub) to use. Of course, you’ll still need a lesson plan to make sure these clips and accompanying activities address standards and meet learning objectives. To help, we’ve created a free substitute lesson plan that uses these free clips. The plan is fully editable, so you can fine-tune it for your program. Plus we include downloadable videos in case you are unable to access YouTube in your classroom.

Enter your email address to download a free lesson plan for your substitute:


In addition to a number of Common Core standards for literacy, this lesson plan covers the following national arts standards:

National Core Arts Standards (NCAS)

  • Anchor Standard #10—Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
  • Anchor Standard #11—Relate artistic ideas and words with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

  • Standard #9—Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

You can also apply the lesson to a number of state standards. For example, in New York, the plan covers these standards:

  • Standard 3–Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
  • Standard 4–Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts

The plan includes step-by-step activities. There’s also space to enter your state’s standards and classroom procedures to help your sub.

Of course, there’s more to preparing for a sub than just having a lesson plan, but having the plan taken care of means you know your students will still be learning about music while you’re away.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By viewing or browsing our site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More Information