Workshops with Denise Gagne


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Workshop Sessions 

Denise Gagne is a music specialist with 40+ years of experience teaching band, choir and classroom music from pre-school to College levels. Her choirs and bands won many awards at Music Festivals and performed for local and national sporting events, on national radio and even for the Queen. Denise has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, a Diploma in Music from the University of Auckland (pending), and a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts (Kodàly Level 3) from the University of Calgary with Lois Choksy. She has completed Orff Level 3 and additional Orff training with Cindy Hall, Jay Broeker, Jos Wuytack and Donna Otto.

Denise has served on the boards of the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association, the Saskatchewan Band Association, and served for eight years on the board of the Kodàly Society of Canada. Denise is currently the managing editor of Themes & Variations, a preschool music teacher, and a frequent guest teacher in elementary school music classrooms.

Denise is the author or editor of more than 100 publications for K- 6 music teachers including the Musicplay and Musicplayonline curriculum. She has been a workshop presenter in every Canadian province and territory and all 50 states. She presents regularly for Orff and Kodaly workshops, preschool and kindergarten conferences in Canada, the USA, Asia, and Australia! Her workshops are fun, practical, and activity based!




Sessions for Music Educators: (60-90 minutes)

Back to School ~ Setting the Tone

In this Denise will share strategies to help you set the tone for a successful start to the school year in the music room. She’ll share fun and easy games to learn names and to get to know your students. You’ll learn ways to turn music room rules into an ostinato lesson, a body percussion lesson, or a lesson with bucket drums. She’ll share behavior reflections, Bravo notes, and Oops notes so that you can start the year with ways to promote positive behaviors and manage the difficult ones.

Movement Fun, Games, and Dances

When children play singing games, do movement songs, and folk dance they become better musicians. Moving to music teaches beat, rhythm, phrasing, form and many more concepts. In this session, we’ll move, dance and play singing games that teach musical concepts in fun and engaging ways! 

Music Theory That's Fun

Worksheets can be great tools, but many kids learn the most through games, manipulatives, and centers. In this session, we’ll have fun learning to read and write music using a variety of strategies. You’ll play note name and rhythm games that are easy to set up in your classroom and FUN for kids of all ages and abilities. Children who are musically literate are given the tools to become lifelong music makers. In this session, we’ll explore fun ways to teach theory: games, ball bouncing, bean bags, and many activities!

Sing, Play, and LEARN!

Singing games combine songs, movement, and social interaction in an authentic musical experience. When children play singing games, they sing and hear many repetitions of a melody laying the foundation for learning multiple musical concepts. Denise will share new singing games - and some new ways to play old favorites! You’ll play games from many cultures including Toss and Catch, Tap and Grab, and more! You’ll get many ideas for engaging ways to teach kids music reading, writing and listening through singing games.

Listening for FUN - Listening to LEARN

Develop students' musicality through active listening by moving and responding to music. In this session, you’ll explore engaging activities for all ages, from your littles to Middle school. We’ll move and create movement with scarves, ribbons, cups, plates, and more. We’ll explore form and cultural context. This session is fun – and will give you many lessons to use in your classes!

Buckets of Fun

In this session, Denise will share a sequence for teaching students to play bucket drums or desk drums. Tips for teaching, a sequence of skills, and fun pop song play-along options will be included

Storybooks for Inclusive Classrooms

Review the storybooks in your classroom to be sure that all the students in your classes see themselves in the story. This session will share lessons for some beautiful storybooks that will have your students singing, playing, moving, reading, writing, and creating. Your students will be inspired to reach for a star!

Create with Recorders

The recorder is one of the best tools for teaching children to read and play melodies. It’s affordable enough for most students to be able to have one at home. Boomwhackers or desk bells are great tools – but few children will have a set of them at home! As it becomes possible to teach the recorder again, let’s explore its creative and performance possibilities. Have your students listen and respond to authentic recorder performances. Teach your students pop songs that can motivate kids to expand their range and abilities. Recorder programs can include pop music, classical themes, folk songs, jazz, and blues to help students explore many genres.

Ukulele Fun

Bring your ukuleles and get ready for a session that lays out a sequence and gives you many great ukulele teaching tips. We’ll play, sing, and take some finger breaks. You will be given many resources in this session that will make teaching the ukulele easy for you and fun for your students!

10 Easy Assessments for your Music Classes

If you only see your K-6 music students for 30-60 minutes/week, you have very limited time to assess student progress. This session includes quick, practical ideas and rubrics for assessment of skills, concepts, creating, and ensemble playing in the elementary music classroom.

Sessions For Music AND Early Childhood Educators

Music IS Literacy (1.5 - 2 hr)

Why use music as part of early childhood classes? Through music, children build vocabulary, comprehension, motor skills, and pre-reading skills. Songs and chants help students to learn! In this session, you’ll learn fingerplays, action songs, singing games, and stories that build literacy and musical skills AND are TONS of FUN! Learn easy ways to create custom big books and mini-books for many children’s songs. Learn how to use music to enhance children’s literature. Music IS literacy!

Wiggle While you Learn (1 hr.)

Music is a great way to teach basic skills like letter recognition and sounds, days of the week, months of the year, counting, opposites, body parts, social skills, and more! In this session, you’ll learn lots of fun songs, games, dances, and movement activities to teach your early learners. Kids are wiggly - with these fun activities they’ll wiggle while they learn!

Let’s Get Them Singing! (1 hr.)

In this session Denise will share strategies to help children from babies - Grade 1 develop their singing voices. Learn to use props, puppets, and games that children love to help develop their singing voices. Activities in this session will include storybooks (Up Up Down), Melody the Elephant, the Jelly Bean Dance, spooky voices, Squeaky and Brown Bear puppets, yarn sound compositions, and some great new singing games.

Rhythm Instrument Fun! (1 hr.)

Come have fun with shakers, tambourines, sticks, triangles, and drums as you sing, move, and dance. You’ll learn how to use the instruments without causing complete chaos. Learn how to use instruments to help dramatize storybooks. Discover many different styles of music as you play along. Develop listening skills and create your own music --- even if you’ve never taken music lessons.

Music and Movement for Early Childhood (1 hr.)

The development of motor skills is important in early childhood. Music can help develop fine motor skills through finger plays and action songs. And music to move to can help develop large motor skills - and keep your classes engaged! In this session, you’ll sing, move, dance, and have fun!

Engage the Early Learner (2.5 hr)

This session will give you ideas that will engage the toughest age group – the early learners! Old and new favorites will be shared that will have you and your students singing, playing instruments (without chaos!), moving/listening/responding, preparing for reading/writing, and beginning to create music. Denise will share engaging songs, storybooks, and activities that are tried and tested with early learners ages 3-8.