by Frank Coachman, Deputy Director of TMEA
SB815 passed by the 78th Legislature and signed into law requires each district to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills of all subjects of the required curriculum.
Fine Arts courses are part of the required curriculum. Technology can be a very useful tool in the delivery process when designing curriculums aligned with the TEKS.
Resources for the Teacher
There are numerous websites which provide resources for music teachers in planning curriculum and individual lessons with respect to the TEKS. The Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA), operated by ESC Region 20, provides a website which has several key features for music educators. In the Music section of the site the TEKS can be found. These are listed by elementary, middle school and high school as collective groups, or by individual grade levels from kindergarten to eighth grade and each of the four secondary levels.
The CEDFA Music site also offers a Curriculum Framework document which addresses perspectives on music education; the state context for music education addressing the organization of the TEKS; a comprehensive approach to music instruction; new music program for Texas; instruction techniques featuring motivation, strategies for teaching the Music TEKS, special considerations and assessment; campus/district-level considerations; and concludes with a checklist for quality professional development.
The site also features documents related to the PDAS and TEKS delivery. Those of you using PDAS as an appraisal system will want to share the appropriate level document with your appraiser. The documents provide direct correlations between delivery of the Music TEKS and the PDAS system of evaluation.
When planning the music curriculum the CEDFA Music - Curriculum pages provide in-depth information relating to Chapter 74 instruction and graduation requirements, the Distinguished Achievement Program in music, and a comprehensive music course list. The Music - Instructional Strategies section has a subsection dealing specifically with implementing TEKS instruction using technology.
The site also provides descriptions of quality elementary, middle school, and high school programs. Each of the documents describes the course offerings for each level, scheduling needs, facility considerations, and equipment needs. Also provided is information about staffing, job descriptions, and evaluating music programs - goal setting and achievement.
Another great feature of the CEDFA site is the TEKS remote control located in the Resource Center from the CEDFA home page. This feature allows you to search for sites related to instruction in the arts that have been identified to have TEKS specific content. The remote control search allows you to search all sites in the content area, or search for specific TEKS grade levels and strands.
You can link to the CEDFA site from www.tmea.org through the Main Menu, Links.
The web also provides several other great resource sites including The National Music Education Standards, Music Education Lesson Plans, and Teacher.net Music Lessons. Links to these sites can also be found via the TMEA site, Main Menu, Links; click on Technology in Secondary Music Education. There is also a Technology in Elementary Music Education page as well.
Resources for the Student
On the CEDFA Technology in Secondary and Elementary Music Education pages on the TMEA website links section, you will find sites related to music software, music theory, more resource sites, and links to sites dealing with music and the special needs populations from physically or emotionally challenged to talented and gifted.
In the software section you can find free music publishing software that can be used to share electronic music documents from teacher to students, student to teacher, and student to student. Imagine the possibilities of allowing your students to use a lab or home computer to complete out-of-class assignments you provide that can be submitted on disk or by email for assessment and feedback. A number of exercises can be created that will allow students at all levels to demonstrate knowledge in the Creative Expression/Performance strand of the TEKS.
Continuing this thought, using the links in the music theory section, you will find numerous interactive sites providing direct instruction of music theory. This instruction ranges from the simple foundation of the music staff, clefs, and note naming to building and identifying complex chord structures. There are also several ear training sites that are interactive as well. These sites could be used as supplemental activities, or even during class time.
The Dallas, New York, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras provide great websites targeted for kids. Each of these sites has its unique way of introducing sound, instruments, music, composers, conductors and performers through the use of interactive browsing, game playing, and composing music. You will find links to these sites on both the CEDFA Elementary and Secondary Technology in Music Education pages on the TMEA site.
SB815 provides recognition for the value of having high standards for all students in all Texas school districts receiving instruction in the arts. Implementing the full content of the Music TEKS in all music classes will ensure quality for all students and will enhance the performance abilities of each student.