Building a Collaborative Music Department.

To effectively design a guaranteed curriculum in your department, you need to truly work collaboratively first.  Download the infographic below to see my suggestions on how to accomplish this.  If you have questions, click the "We could use your help!" button at the bottom of the page.

Designing Essential Standards Worksheet

One of the most important first steps in an effective music department Professional Learning Community (PLC), is to develop an agreed upon set of standards.  Think of these as powerful standards that should be taught in the same way and to all music students in your department.  For example, reading pitches is a necessary skill of all music students.  Embouchure, on the other hand, is only need in band and not an "essential standard".  Essential Standards for my music department include: pitch reading, rhythm reading, repertoire comprehension, performing music, interpreting music, evaluating music. 

Before you begin with the worksheet below, you need to verify your Essential Standard meets the following criteria.

* Endurance - Knowledge and skills of value beyond a single test date.

* Leverage - Knowledge and skills of value in multiple disciplines.

* Readiness - Knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in the next grade level or in the next level of instruction.

Learn how to break down your standard into learning targets and proficiency scales.

Music Essential Standards

In this document, view 6 essential standards for 6-8 band, choir and orchestra students at my school.  You will notice that each standard connects to one of the NaFME National Standards for Ensemble Performance through Essential Questions.

Mastery Proficiency Scales

Throughout Indiana I have presented this topic with my CGMSC music department colleagues.  Several schools have adopted our ideas and principals for implementing Essential Learnings and Performance scales that are beneficial and engaging to your students. One concept I suggest is beginning with a basic skills mastery rubric.  This is a good way to introduce mastery levels to your students and get them familiar with how you will measure their achievement.

ES2 - Rhythm Reading

Reading rhythms is another essential music literacy standard.  Download a copy of my proficiency scale for evaluating rhythm with your students.

ES1 - Pitch Reading

When creating an environment to foster autonomous musicians, one needs to begin with music literacy.  Within the broad umbrella of music literacy, pitch reading is one component.  Use this rubric to measure the mastery level of your students ability to identify and name pitches in mulitiple clefs and keys.

Get Sam's Help!

I am available to help guide your music department both online and in person.  Contact me below to get questions answered or to request an on-site workshop with your music department. 

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