Two girls at school posing with xylophone mallets

Bach to School Free Music Resources for Classrooms

WFMT’s music donation program brings free instruments and music to school classrooms across the Chicagoland area and beyond.

Schools can now choose from six different instruments, a WFMT-curated Classical Chicago CD set, or a year-long music teacher subscription.

Apply for your free school resource and view all resources below.

Full Classroom Instrument Sets

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Recorders

  • 30-piece soprano recorders and 30 books: Hal Leonard Essential Elements for Recorder
Get a recorder lesson plan
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Boomwhackers

  • 27-piece Boomwhacker kit and 1 instruction book: Boomin’ the Basics.
Get a boomwhacker lesson plan
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Percussion

  • 30-piece rhythm kit
Get a percussion lesson plan

Additional Instruments

Grow your instrument inventory every semester with these sets.

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Ukuleles

  • Set of four soprano ukuleles
Get a ukulele lesson plan
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Xylophones

  • Set of four 15-key xylophones
Get a xylophone lesson plan
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Djembe Drums

  • Set of four 7” x 12” Djembe drums
Get a djembe lesson plan

Subscriptions to Online Resources

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MusicPlay Online (one year subscription)

One-year subscription, ideal for elementary and middle school music teachers

Register for or renew your existing Musicplay Online subscription. Teach your pre-K through middle school students with songs, activities, games, printables, arrangements, customizable lesson plans, and more. Create your own instruction with the new My List feature.

Classical Music Packages

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Set of 22 CDs, Classical Chicago

WFMT’s Classical Chicago 22-CD set consists of albums from Chicago’s classical label Cedille and reflects our city’s rich and diverse music scene. The recordings span eras from baroque to contemporary, featuring vocal, ensemble, and solo performances from Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill (CPS alumni), Jennifer Koh, Chicago Sinfonietta, Third Coast Percussion, and many more.  This WFMT-curated collection is ideal for your music libraries.  Each CD includes comprehensive liner notes.

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Bach to School Music Arrangements for the Classroom

Full score from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saëns, arranged by Justin Callis.

Download PDF
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Peter and the Wolf full score

Full score from Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, arranged by Justin Callis.

Download PDF
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Student Poems

These poems were written in Chicago Poetry Center In-School Poetry Residencies within CPS classrooms throughout Chicago. Special thanks to partners Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival, and WFMT. The biggest of thanks to the student poets: thank you for sharing your poetry with the world!

Download PDF

Virtual Assemblies

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Ryan Opera Center
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

WFMT General Manager George Preston welcomed Ryan Opera Center performers Lunga Eric Hallam, tenor, and Chris Reynolds, pianist; along with ROC director Dan Novak. The event also featured virtual performances including A te, o cara from I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini, Come By Here arranged by Damien Sneed. Download the Listening Guide here.

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Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative
Tuesday, March 22, 2022

WFMT presenter and Introductions producer and host Robbie Ellis moderated a discussion with CMPI project director James Hall and violinist Esme Arias-Kim. The CMPI quartet virtual performances include George Walker’s String Quartet No. 1, 2nd movement, known as Lyric for Strings, and Jessie Montgomery’s Strum. Download the Listening Guide here.

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Chicago Sinfonietta Wind Quintet
Thursday, February 3, 2022

WFMT General Manager George Preston interviewed Blake-Anthony Johnson, Chicago Sinfonietta's Chief Executive Officer, and principal oboist Ricardo Castañeda. They discussed how participating in classical music has shaped their lives, while also reflecting on past performance highlights from WFMT's 70th Anniversary Day of Celebration! Download the Listening Guide here.

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J’Nai Bridges and Shawn Okpebholo
Wednesday, November 10, 2021

In WFMT’s inaugural Bach to School Assembly, General Manager George Preston interviewed mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and composer Shawn Okpebholo.  They discussed J’Nai’s stunning Habanera from Carmen and Shawn’s composition Oh Glory, sung by J’Nai Bridges. Download the Listening Guide here.

WFMT Recommendations

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The Carnival of the Animals

by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Mary GrandPre

“America’s first Children's Poet Laureate has written all-new verses to accompany composer Camille Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals, and the illustrator of the Harry Potter books has turned these rollicking rhymes into a picture-book fun fest.”

How Playing an Instrument Benefits the Brain

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What's going on? Educator Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Additional funding for WFMT’s Bach to School program is provided by the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. Ralla was an attorney with a passion for social justice and the arts. The arts opened up worlds to Ralla, and she wanted to bring them to people who might not have the same opportunities that she did.

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