How do I plan out my course? Instructional calendars & lesson plans.

Instructional Calendars and Lesson Plans



I have presented at several conferences about how to create a music technology curriculum using
the NAfME national standards for music technology. I have also written in my blog and discussed
with many colleagues the problematic nature of defining what should be taught in a music tech-
nology class.  Some people have asked, and many have debated, why there are no explicit tech-
nology skills or elements in the NAfME standards. My approach is to treat the technology (MIDI
instruments/controllers, DAW, AV equipment, etc.) as an instrument. If you look at performance
standards for instrumental classes (band,orchestra, etc.), there are typically no explicit standards
for teaching specific instrument skills. Instruction that includes developing performance skills on
individual instruments is implied. It is understood that if the students in front of you are holding
violins or trombones, you must teach them how to play their instrument in order to meet the
performance standards of the course. Most instrumental music teachers approach their instruction
from the perspective that they are using melodies to teach students how to play an instrument
rather than using an instrument to teach melody as a concept. Music technology courses are
focused on creating melody, rhythm harmony, etc. while performance-based music classes are
focused on performing melody, rhythm, harmony, etc. This requires a paradigm shift for most
“classically” trained music teachers. Teaching music notation very early in the process for instru-
mental music classes is necessary because that is the language in which the information for the
class will be communicated. I don’t teach traditional music notation until my more advanced
music technology classes because reading traditional music notation is simply not necessary to
teaching or learning how to create rhythm, melody, harmony, etc. If a person wants to commun-
icate their composition to another musician, then understanding how to create traditionally notated
music becomes a more practical and useful means of communicating their compositions.


The table below represents how I organize my instructional calendar and design my lesson plans.
The top row is the skill/knowledge standard sets as adopted by NAfME. In the column on the left
are the 5 general elements of music.



Create
Perform/Produce
Respond
Connect
Rhythm




Form




Melody




Harmony




Expression





The table above may be used to develop an instructional calendar for any level and length of
course. Breadth and depth of the performance standards (row one) will be determined by the
prerequisite knowledge of the students and the number of weeks in a course. I include all of the
elements of music (column one) regardless of the length of the course or the prerequisite know-
ledge of the students. For example, my beginning and intermediate course lesson plans will fall
mostly into the Create and Perform/Produce columns (depth) while lessons in the Respond and
Connect columns may come only towards the end of the course (breadth). My more advanced
course lesson plans will still include lessons in the Create and Perform/Produce columns, but
most lessons will be created in the Respond and Connect column. The depth of knowledge in
Create and Perform/Produce has been established in prerequisite courses, so advanced courses
will focus on producing depth in the Respond and Connect columns. I have tried to create a very
generalized progression of how the standards and elements progress across the curriculum below:



Create
Perform/Produce
Respond
Connect
Rhythm
Beginning
Beginning
Intermediate
Advanced
Form
Beginning
Beginning
Intermediate
Advanced
Melody
Beginning
Beginning
Intermediate
Advanced
Harmony
Intermediate
Intermediate
Advanced
Advanced
Expression
Intermediate
Intermediate
Advanced
Advanced


The table above represents where each level will spend most of their instructional time or where
most of the depth of instruction will take place. Each level should ultimately cover all rows and
columns. For example, some of my beginning level lessons will be in the connect column, but the
lessons will not necessarily be very in depth. My advanced level students will certainly create and
produce rhythm, melodies, etc., but because the depth of knowledge has already been established
in prerequisite courses they will not have to spend as much class time in these first two columns.


Sample Instructional Calendars


Below are three sample instructional calendars. The first is for a 9 week course, the second for
18 weeks and the third for a full 36 week course. Lesson plans will be developed using the instruc-
tional calendar.


9 Week Course


Elements of Music
Performance Standard
Assessment
Week 1
Intro/Orientation to Music Technology


Week 2
Rhythm
Create
Formative
Week 3
Form
Create
Formative
Week 4
Melody
Create
Formative
Week 5
Harmony
Create
Formative
Week 6
Expression
Create
Formative
Week 7
Project 1
Perform/Produce
Summative
Week 8
Project 2
Respond
Summative
Week 9
Final Project
Connect
Summative

18 Week Course



Elements of Music
Performance Standard
Assessment
Week 1
Intro/Orientation to Music Tech


Week 2
Rhythm 1
Create
Formative
Week 3
Form 1
Create
Formative
Week 4
Melody 1
Create
Formative
Week 5
Rhythm, Melody & Form
Create/Perform
Summative
Week 6
Harmony 1
Create
Formative
Week 7
Harmony 1 & Melody 2
Create
Formative
Week 8
Project 1
Create/Perform
Formative
Week 9
Project 1
Create/Perform
Summative
Week 10
Rhythm 2 & Form 2
Create/Perform
Formative
Week 11
Melody 2 & Harmony 2
Create/Perform
Formative
Week 12
Project 2
Perform/Respond
Formative
Week 13
Project 2
Perform/Respond
Summative
Week 14
Expression 1
Create/Respond
Formative
Week 15
Expression 2
Perform/Respond
Formative
Week 16
Final Project
Connect
Formative
Week 17
Final Project
Connect
Formative
Week 18
Final Project
Connect
Summative


36 Week Course


Elements of Music
Performance Standard
Assessment
Week 1
Intro/Orientation


Week 2-3
Melody, Rhythm, Form
Create/Perform/Respond
Formative
Week 4-5
Harmony/Expression
Create/Perform/Respond
Formative
Week 6-7
Project 1
Respond/Connect
Summative
Week 8–9
Melody, Rhythm, Form 2
Create/Respond/Connect
Formative
Week 10-11
Project 2
Perform/Connect
Summative
Week 12-13
Free choice project
Any
Formative
Week 14-15
Interim Project
Connect
Formative
Week 16-17
Interim Project
Connect
Formative
Week 18
Interim Project
Connect
Summative
Week 19-20
Project 3
All
Formative
Week 21-22
Expression
Respond/Connect
Formative
Week 23-24
Project 4
Respond/Connect
Summative
Week 25-26
Free Choice Project
All
Formative
Week 27-28
Project 5
All
Formative
Week 29-30
Project 5
All
Formative
Week 31-32
Final Portfolio
All
Formative
Week 34-35
Final Portfolio
All
Formative
Week 36
Final Portfolio
All
Summative


Whatever level or length of music technology course that you teach, I hope that these instructional
calendars and lesson matrix will provide some guidance and/or spark some ideas about how to
design your instruction and lessons. I have a library of detailed lesson plans that are aligned with the NAfME standards and include links to supplemental materials and resources on my website:
www.mutechteachernet.com.


Thank you for reading the blog and best wishes for a successful, engaging and creative class!

Heath

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