Including music in your daily teaching, especially in these difficult conditions, is not an easy job. And it’s harder still if you’re not a confident musician or music teacher yourself.

But we all know the value music can have on a child and the positive effects it can have on wellbeing and achievement in other academic subjects – both of which are particularly relevant while children are at home with parents and separated from their schools, teachers and friends.

At the London Symphony Orchestra, through our LSO Discovery community and education programme, we have been providing musical experiences for young people and the teaching resources to support music learning for years.

During the Covid-19 pandemic we have been working hard to gather as much of it together as possible to make it available online, for everyone to use, for free.

Lots of these fun resources draw on other creative skills, and hardly any require pupils or teachers to have, or be able to play, a traditional musical instrument.

Many of these musical activities can be done in very little time, making them ideal to slot into a day between other subjects. But they also have the option to develop ideas further if desired, with some offering the opportunity to be set as an activity for learners to do at home for sharing later.

We all hope to be back to normal life sometime soon, and to be able to perform in person for you and your children at our Barbican Key Stage Concerts – sign up for our mailing list to be informed of when we’re back! – and provide workshops using technology and our gamelan.

For now though, here’s a little snapshot of the sorts of things we have available for children of primary school age (approx 7-12) in lieu of standard primary music lessons in your classroom:

Lockdown Listening

Daily classical music creative tasks using musical performances by the London Symphony Orchestra

Short videos by animateur Rachel Leach using music to inspire other skills such as writing, drawing, creative imagination, dance and movement. The tasks can all be achieved at home and in a short time.

Space… but not as we know it

An online concert by the London Symphony Orchestra

Using works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Ives and Haydn we explore the separation of sounds, how music travels around an orchestra and what you can hear between the notes.

Explore further with video warm ups, draw and learn tasks and a full resource pack for KS2 teachers.

Where’s Simon?

An online concert by the London Symphony Orchestra

Recorded remotely at home during the first lockdown, the LSO musicians gather to rehearse online, and in the absence of their conductor, introduce their instruments before performing Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

There is also a musical quiz and parts to download and play along on pupils’ own instruments.

How to Build an Orchestra

An illustrated story book by Mary Auld

This beautifully illustrated book follows a conductor who is auditioning each instrument for his orchestra.

It comes with accompanying CDs and downloadable music, and there are also free resources and creative projects using music by Ravel and Beethoven, including making musical storms and graphic scores.

LSO Play

Video website

Experience the LSO like never before – you can watch six LSO performances (more being added all the time!) and watch through up to four camera angles at a time, making you the director!

Plus, each student can explore the orchestra and its instruments, meet the performers and watch them demonstrate parts of the music, then download resource packs to guide you and your pupils through the music.

Exercises include putting pictures to music, using body percussion and composing their own pieces.

Olivia Forms a Band

An online concert for Key Stage 1

This musical version of the popular book Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer, is written by Rachel Leach and performed from home by members of the LSO.

Join in with singing the songs and play along with instruments, listen to how music tells a story and use our resources to create musical projects such as making firework noises and forming a class band.

You can access all of these resources, and more, through our website here.