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Policy Brief

Changing the future of Music Education

Ashley Glover Kaylah Taylor Cedric Davis Leandro De Leon Mariana Yern

Table of Contents

Administration Letter

Projects and New Curriculum

Who will it reach Why is it important What will it do for community/school

Methods and Processes Lessons Songs and Materials


Dear School Board of Miami Dade County: We, the members of the fine arts program at Lincoln Middle School are writing this letter to propose an additional program to our curriculum. This program is adopted from the United Kingdoms Musical Futures concept. This program is a tactic tailored to present music making in the classroom in an informal, yet, didactic way. Some of these focuses include, but are not limited to, creativity, leadership skills, meeting the students needs, environment, balanced instructions, teaching values, technique and knowledge, reaching all students, and connecting with other teachers and their community. Since the foundation of formal education was established, music has always played a vital role in its success. Although it was clear then the significance of music in education, it may not be as clear today. PBS in an article titled The Benefits of Music Education says, Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning, says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-forprofit association that promotes the benefits of making music. This can be accomplished using instruments that are accessible for students such as guitars, pianos, drums, ukuleles, and recorders. These instruments are tailored to get students playing instruments immediately. Students could begin to embrace the concept of chord changes, key signatures, harmonic rhythmic structures, compositions, and improvisational skills (engaging creatively). Ultimately, embedding a sense of achievement within students, as short-term goals of playing yield immediate and exciting returns.


Our overall objective is to inspire students to pursue and appreciate music at the level they wish to do so through: Creativity: Planning instruction that allows students to be creative in their ensembles, pieces, and even theory assignments. Also, preparing interactive activities where students will be able to engage in critical thinking and selfevaluation skills. Leadership skills: We want to allow students develop leadership skills through small group work and sectionals. These sectional will have a different leader every time, allowing each student to lead rehearsal, so when they leave the classroom they will lead their own practice time. Meeting students needs: Students needs are our first priority when we plan instruction. We want them to develop the skills that are important to them, while still providing them with the basic skills we know they need in order to reach their goals. We also want to bring their interests into the classroom by using popular music they are familiar with, as a bridge to introduce them to Classical music. Environment: We want to create and maintain an environment of mutual respect and appreciation. As teachers, we will model to our students the qualities and attitude we expect from them. Also, we want this environment to keep students engaged and confident to express their thoughts and opinions. Balanced instruction: Instruction will shift from teacher-centered to studentcentered instruction at the appropriate times. We want to allow students to start making their own musical decisions, but we want to continue guiding them through the process. Teaching values: Teaching music goes beyond notes and rhythm. We are educators, which means that as we teach music we are also teaching values such as responsibility, honesty, respect, love and care for others. We were born to make a difference! Technique and knowledge: We want to start our students with the right instrumental technique in order for them not to struggle later on. Also, we want to introduce them to the vast knowledge we have acquired through the years in creative and informal ways such as: jam sessions, drum circles, music appreciation, etc. Reaching all students: Using different teaching strategies to reach all different kinds of learners. Universal Design will be part of our new curriculum. Connect with other teachers and the community: We want to unite with other music teachers to learn from each other and support the programs in the county. We want to do joint concerts and community performances.

New Curriculum

The new curriculum will be based on the objectives above, and on the balance between informal/formal instruction and teachercentered/student-centered instruction. This curriculum will feature aspects from the best of both worlds: music conservatories and regular public schools. It will feature the conservatories focus on appropriate technique and skills development, in order to give students the tools they need to pursue music at the level they choose to, including professionally. It will also feature public schools focus on experiencing music in an enjoyable and interactive way, and giving students a voice. The combination of both of these approaches will result in an education that transcends the classroom. Who will I reach? This curriculum will reach all different kinds of students by using Universal Design. It will also reach out to the community because students will be inspired to make music outside of school. Why is it important? This curriculum is important because it will inspire students to pursue music, or support it in the future. Also, it will enrich the teaching approaches currently used in the county. We believe that this curriculum can unite teachers, and generate more support for our programs by introducing music to our communities. What will it do for students and the community? This curriculum will equip students with the skills they need to reach their goals in interactive and creative ways. It will also take our music programs into the community to enrich our communities culture and involvement with music.

Methods and Process

Methods through which the program can push into the 21st century and connect with the community: Play more music popular music -More interest will be generated when students recognize the music that they're playing

Music in ways different from the norm -Putting together mash ups or covers of sons helps foster creativity in students while still making it understandable to people outside of the ensemble. - Allowing experimentation in the classroom through jam sessions, and composition informal activities such as composing music from a picture or to go along with a video.

Perform concerts in the community -when you get out of the school and perform, the community members can feel more connected, and will be encouraged to be more involved and supportive.

Lesson plan
Essential question: What gives these songs their signature? What is a mash-up?

Lesson Objectives: -Students will understand the musical elements that give My Girl and Just the Way You Are, thus making them memorable songs. -Students will understand the importance of making a song memorable, which they will apply when they begin composing their own. -Students will understand what a mash-up is, and they will make their own thinking about what they have learned. -Develop students listening skills. -Allow students to experiment trying to put both songs together by ear.

Application: By having students perform the songs, we allow them to have to apply what they learned. We also take into account that maybe some of these students have never had the opportunity to do so. By applying their learning, students would have broken the wall that stands between them and making music, the teacher. Now they get to be musicians, they get to be creators of something, they have the tool and theyre trusted by their teacher, something that elevates their confidence. Discovery: In this process, students will discover a lot of about arrangements and structure of songs. For instance, how two songs in the same key and chords structure can be merged together; Such as the case for My Girl and Just the Way you are. What it means to discover is to build up personal knowledge of music making and the myriad of ways to apply it. That includes ideas that are not insinuated by the teachers but rather by the students themselves as they indulge into creating something that is best. Theyll discover that the more skills they adopt in music, the more complicated and amazing theres arrangement can be. Thus, theyll develop a growing interest into becoming better at their craft in order to include rhythms and chords that are more complex, becoming better singers to have even more confidence into competently sing the song on a structure, rhythm and emotional level. Personal Growth and creativity : The underlying goal here is to provide students the tools for them to get creative as they growth into better students, friends, sons, daughters and brothers. They are guided to the path of thinking critically about music and realizing that coming up with an arrangement might not be something that happens right away, for there are many things to take into account such as rhythm, dynamics, style and interpretation of lyrics Because of the demands that music make on the one who practices it, in order to achieve anything, a lot of discipline must be involved, more so on a personal level. Theyll be better students for it. And when it comes to an increased level of creativity, it will allow them to think in many perspectives, much like legit musicians. Such skills will benefit them in all aspects of their academic lives and can be applied to different subjects such as Literature, Writing, Math and Social Studies. I am sure theyll innately offer insight that their other teachers will find very peculiar and interesting hence really bringing a light to how a students creativity can make him/her better in everything. The goal, being that this observation link back to the music room and how music elevate a students ability to think critically and remain discipline.


Expression Critical Thinking Self-evaluation Experimentation Structure

Perform the mash-up To introduce the concept To the students

Play both songs so students Hear them individually Ask students to play both songs By ear to develop their ear training skills Discuss the differences and similarities Between them. Introduce the chords and lyrics to introduce structure. Ask students now to make their own mash-ups. Give feedback, and ask students to relate these songs to their own lives

Lesson Plan

Essential Question. What musical features make a song sound unique? How can you make a well-known song sound unique?

Lesson Objectives: Students will understand the difference between a cover and a version. Students will learn to listen and play by ear songs they are familiar with. Students will in critical thinking by comparing different covers and versions of a song. Students will learn and understand how to arrange a popular song and make it sound unique. Students will work together to arrange a song.

Preparation The song Stand by Me will start playing. The teacher will ask ask students to get into groups, as he/she passes out sheets of paper.

Resources used: Instruments Board MEJ Article :// YouTube videos

Development -Play Stand by Me, and ask students to write on the paper what they hear. Teacher will guide students by asking the essential question: What musical elements make this song unique? How could you make it sound different? How would you play this song? This activity develops students listening and critical thinking skills. -Each group will play this song by ear in their groups. Then, the class will discuss the challenges they faced. By doing this interactive and creative activity, students have the freedom to play the song using any instrumentation they wish, and while they try to get the song by ear, they are arranging without knowing it. -The teacher will explain the difference between a version and cover by showing videos of each one randomly and asking students to identify each one. -Then, the class will discuss the difference between the latter videos and the original. The teacher will pose these questions: What is an arrangement? How do we make an arrangement of a song? -Students will make their own arrangements of Stand by Me in their groups in the key they choose. At this time, the teacher will give each group a challenge that dictates the style, form and sound they have to achieve. As each group performs, the class has to guess what their challenge was. This activity engages students in a goal-oriented, fun environment where students work together and learn from one another as they reach their goal.


class, students will evaluate their own arrangements, and write their thoughts. Then, they will go back to the arrangements and implement what they talked about. These discussions encourages selfreflection and evaluation.


are two songs that we go over: Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars and My Girl by the temptations. These two are catchy songs and in many ways similar to each other. So similar ,in fact, that they can be used in a mash-up. It is up to the students to interpret the songs in their own ways, and to think of how they relate to their own lives and experiences. Now, it is our responsibility, as teachers, to introduce these critical questions to our students.

My Girl
C F C I've got sunshine on a cloudy day C F When it's cold outside, I've got the C month of May

C Dm F G I guess you'd say

C Dm F G What can make me feel this way? C My girl, my girl, my girl F Talkin' 'bout my girl F G7 My girl

Just the Way You Are

C When I see your face Am There's not a thing that I would change F 'Cause you're amazing G C Just the way you are C And when you smile Am The whole world stops and stares for a while F 'Cause girl, you're amazing G C Just the way you are. C Am The way you are, The way you are F Cause you are amazing G C Just the way you are

Instruments: Any

instrumentation can be used to play this piece. Vocalists are welcomed and encouraged to use their phonation. Smartphones and Tablets may be used as electronic instruments such as background beat. The YouTube videos: XI Xk
Prezi: py

Video Link