Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and Curriculum

In my undergrad studies, we had a project to make a music curriculum. We used the MENC national standards as our guide and it seemed easy. However, here I am in my third year teaching at a place where I get to make the curriculum. This might be my biggest challenge (for many reasons beyond just picking what to teach, due to the cultural views/"rules").

I have been somewhat pleased with my 6th grade curriculum. I only see my students twice a week, for about 10 weeks. There is no real music program (band, choir, orchestra) at the school. I am in charge of the middle school "band." Its members include one piano player and one drummer. 50% of them take lessons outside of school. I see them twice a week for about 15 minutes each day.

I think it is so important to build the student's listening skills. Most of my lessons focus on developing their ears and creating patient listeners.

6th grade music: 1. Instrument families 2. Overview of Ensembles (orchestra, band, big bang, jazz combos) 3. Create their own "new" instrument 4. group compositions with their created instruments.
The students just performed their group compositions this week. This project reminds me of how music is so natural. People want to play music; they want to make music, but our culture has taught us that being into something other than pop music is "dorky" or "for old people." It also reminds me of how little my students know about music and how I might be failing them as a music teacher (or maybe it is the system?).

7th Grade: Text Painting, "Pictures at an Exhibition," and World-Drumming
8th Grade: Using Tableau to listen/explore Strauss' "Don Quixote," and their choice: a. world drumming, Musical Language, or Piano/Composer unit. 
Each grade level also has a "listening journal."

If you have any comments or suggestions to help with the curriculum please share!

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