Teaching Tip Tuesday – Song Maps

This is the song map that I created to teach my class the song “Yellow Submarine.”

I love using song maps because it teaches that music can be written down and read. This image is read just like you would read any text – from left to right and top to bottom.

Here is a break down of how to read this song map.




“In the town”





“where I was born”





“lived a man who sailed the sea.”





“and he told of us of his life in the land of submarines.”




“so we sailed

up to the sun,

until we saw a sea of green.”





“and we lived beneath the waves

in our yellow submarine.”

You can easily make a song map for any song that you wish to teach to your class. All you have to do is draw simple pictures to go with each phrase or lyric.

I have drawn this song map several times in my teaching career. I like to create my song maps in front of the students so they can see that music can be written down by drawing a series of pictures. I often ask for suggestions for what picture we could draw for a certain phrase. Once the students have been exposed to a few song maps, they can then begin making their own.

I like to teach students about song maps before introducing them to sheet music or the staff. I think song maps are a great first step that any student can read without difficulty. Reading sheet music is a lot more difficult and some students have a really hard time following along.

Music teachers are scarce these days. If your school does not have a music teacher, I implore you to teach your own music each and every week. Please don’t be intimidated by music or what you may feel as a lack of skill. Start off simple by singing songs together and making song maps.

And stay tuned to Teaching Tip Tuesdays for more help teaching music. If you would like to share an idea, tip, or teaching story, consider writing a guest post. Send me an email or leave a comment below. Teachers helping teachers is what this is all about.