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Is each level of study a prerequisite for the next level? No, the program is designed for total flexibility based on cumulative learning. Music Expressions™ works best when students progress from one level to the next, but individual lessons can also be used as they apply to your classroom.
How are the National Standards incorporated?
Each lesson is built upon a set of music education standards recommended by the National Standards for Arts Education so students can build a solid foundation of musical knowledge. The entire curriculum incorporates ALL the standards in sequential, meaningful ways, including improvise and compose. Our strands were written with the National Standards in mind, and they are outlined and clearly identified for each learning experience within the series.
What teaching tools are included? The following tools are available for each grade level: Teacher Edition, Big Book (K–1) or Student Edition (2–5), Lesson CDs, Piano Accompaniment book, Teacher Songbook, and Teacher Support Pack. These supplemental teaching tools are also available: Teacher Resource Guide, Music for National Pride Book and CD, Music for Holidays and Celebrations Book and CD, Listening Library CDs, Interactive Videos and DVDs, and Web Connections.
How are assessments incorporated into the lessons?
Embedded Assessments are built-in checkpoints that allow teachers to verify their students’ learning and level of achievement during the lesson either by scanning, reviewing, or recording their progress. Learning experiences are repeated within the series to reinforce music skills and knowledge. The lessons also contain reflective thinking questions so students can reflect on their own acquired knowledge and teachers can identify the knowledge and skill level of every student. Individual accountability is assumed. In addition, The DVDs also allow for consistent administration of assessments for all teachers and students.
I use a variety of materials and incorporate my own ideas into my music curriculum. Is the curriculum flexible enough to allow this? Yes, any component of Expressions Music Curriculum™ can be easily used to enhance your existing music curriculum.
Are additional resources available online and how often are they updated? Yes, additional resources for teachers, parents, guardians, and students are available online and will be updated regularly.
What secondary materials are available? Music Expressions™ builds a foundation of learning that continues into middle and high school levels with special Teacher Editions, Teacher Resource Guides, and individual methods for Band Expressions™, Jazz Expressions™, Orchestra Expressions™, Choral Expressions™, Guitar Expressions™, and Piano Expressions™. Band, Jazz, and Orchestra Expressions™ will be available in 2003, with Choral, Piano, and Guitar Expressions™ following in 2004.
Can a first-year teacher, classroom teacher, or substitute teach Music Expressions™? Yes. Each lesson begins with a Lesson Snapshot and an Instructional Framework which identify the WHAT, WHY, and HOW at the planning and instruction. The scripted lessons and embedded assessments make it easy for a new teacher and/or substitute to teach Expressions Music Curriculum™. The curriculum also contains Teacher Notes which contain strategies and suggestions to assist the teacher with the lesson to vary the lesson experience in a more efficient manner.
Why are there so many student pages without songs - just graphics? The Music Expressions textbooks include numerous examples of visual art and illustrations/graphics to reinforce the musical concepts presented in the lessons. We recognize that children learn in different ways so we inserted visual depictions to assist the visual learners. Moreover, we worked to create music books that are visually stimulating to enhance the aural music learning experiences while at the same time exposing children to fine art, photos of "real" artists/musicians, and creative graphics in a variety of styles. The result is a beautiful music text, not simply a collection of songs.
Is there a choice of songs to teach a particular concept?
Music Expressions is a literacy-based series, not just a collection of songs and activities. For each student to achieve the knowledge and skills outlined in our National Standards, we must present multiple experiences through carefully selected music literature. We decided to do much more with fewer songs. In addition to allowing the time to focus on literacy connections, each song is sequenced allowing the student to build upon past experiences. In other words, we can use a song that the child knows to teach a new musical concept. If each new concept is accompanied by a new song, the focus becomes one of learning new material as opposed to learning a new musical concept.
Our goal is to build a lifetime repertoire of music. We would rather the students leave their K-5 experience with a repertoire of songs they can sing and use in their daily life. This is accomplished through repetition over time. Notice that besides the songs, there are many lessons that focus on development of multiple musical standards and skills including singing, playing, reading, composing, and notating skills. The research regarding retention of learning tells us that more depth and less breadth is absolutely essential for the long term musical development of the child.
What is different about Music Expressions to assure Educator success?
The sequential nature of the literacy development of the curriculum, the scripted lessons, and the embedded assessments are the major differences in the curriculum. Other series have a “pick and choose” assortment of lesson activities while our curriculum is sequential.
How are lessons structured?
The lessons model “best practices” in lesson planning and instruction as well as provide music materials for teaching. In fact, the entire curriculum was written based on the basic tenets of the Kodaly, Orff, Dalcroze, and Gordon approaches. In addition, the Laban approach was used to guide movement experiences within the lessons. Lessons are scripted, which is particularly helpful for new teachers and teachers new to music. In addition, a lesson snapshot is provided for the master teacher who does not need the scripted approach. The lesson framework at the beginning of each lesson assists teachers with the lesson plan materials and correlations that administrators now require. The sequential Create (compose, arrange, improvise) lessons offer a guided sequence to develop creativity in students and apply the literacy skills they have developed.
How does Music Expressions incorporate diversity into the program?
There are a variety of musical arrangements from different ethnicities and cultures, which make it especially appealing for schools with diverse cultures. Students have the opportunity to learn to sing in different languages and about different cultures.
Why is the Teacher Edition for each grade level divided into volumes?
Due to the richness of the curriculum, if all materials were in one volume, it would be much too heavy and cumbersome. Instead, the lessons are sequential and packaged by quarter in an easy-to-carry volume. It is designed for teacher convenience. By providing extension materials in two modules, the core sequence is in focus and additional flexibility is gained.
How is the music in Music Expressions different?
The quality of the recordings in Music Expressions is distinctive for several reasons. Acoustic instruments and “true” vocal models are used in the music. Children sing in solo and in groups/with adults. Well-known recordings and artists representing all styles of music are included along with new arrangements written specifically for the series that are creative and musical and lesson-focused.
How do DVDs support instruction?
The DVDs engage the students through their interactive involvement with Mr. Art and a host of musical puppet characters designed specifically to reinforce the lesson materials. Performers and artists are introduced throughout and present new materials in a fresh and exciting manner. The use of the DVDs to provide assessment vehicles assures consistent administration and measurement of student progress.
How are the lesson CDs organized?
The lesson-specific recordings allow the teacher to take one CD and use it "straight through" during a lesson. The music, songs, and sounds of each lesson are provided in the order they occur, and are cross-referenced in the Teacher Edition. Vocal and instrumental versions are included, as well as some language and practice tracks.
Do I need to purchase the entire Music Expressions curriculum? No, but the individual components of the Teacher Edition must be purchased as a set. The four core Teacher Edition volumes, the Teacher Songbook, the Teacher Resource Guide, the Teacher Support Pack, and the Piano Accompaniment book complement each other and are sold as one unit.