Music Sub Plans Without Technology

Picture of students in music class, with the text, "Music sub plans without technology"

Technology has made many things easier in the music classroom. However, sometimes when writing sub plans, you need to leave no tech sub plans–either because you don't have the necessary tech tools in your room, or because your sub may not be able to implement a sub plan with technology.


In this blog post, I'm writing about five different no tech sub plans you can leave for your guest teacher or sub. Note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Steady Beat Picture Books

There are many wonderful picture books that can be read to a steady beat. This doesn't involve technology, and it doesn't require the sub to be musical. If you tell the sub to read like you would read rhythmic poetry, than the story will have a steady beat, and students can keep the beat on their laps! Some of my favorite steady beat books include:

Picture books with a musical storyline

There are also many books that have a musical storyline, and can be used without technology (and without musical experience!) Some examples include:

After the sub reads the book, they could ask the students questions, such as what happened in the story, who the characters were, what the problem was in the story, and how the problem was solved. Students could do this as a turn and talk, or as a whole group discussion.


Centers are an excellent way to keep students engaged while they work. They provide ample opportunities for students to work individually or collaboratively with their peers. Students could be split up into three to four groups, and each group goes to a center. Then, after five or so minutes, students could rotate and go to the next center.

Looking for centers to use that don't involve technology? Sign up below to receive centers for four voices:

Favorite Singing Games

Since students already know plenty of singing games, you could leave them as a sub plan. For example, you could leave directions for students to vote on their favorite singing game, then after the students explain the directions to the sub, they could play those games. Or you could leave specific singing games for students to play–ones they are comfortable with and know well.

Body Percussion

There are many wonderful body percussion videos out there (see this post for some of my favorites), but even if you can't use technology, you could have students practice body percussion. Students could use visuals for clapping, patting, and stomping to create their own patterns in small groups, then perform those patterns! Sign up here to receive the body percussion cards for free.

In Closing...

Depending on how long you have your students for, these sub plans can work as standalone lessons, or can be combined. For example, you might have the sub first read a steady beat picture book, then play their favorite singing games.

Creating a sub plan without technology can take some extra effort, but it’s not impossible. You can use these ideas to help you build your sub plan without having to worry about technology crashing or being unavailable. 

Looking for more no tech sub plans? Check out these:

I hope that's been helpful. Happy planning, and happy teaching!

4 Responses

  1. I can’t see any of the books that you included. Is the font white or too light to see? I also couldn’t see where to type or that anything was in the box for the freebie. I typed it and hope it gets to you. Please use darker fonts on blog posts. Thanks.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I embedded blocks from Amazon into the blog post. Maybe your school was blocking the images?
      Thanks for letting me know!

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Hi, I'm Aileen

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