Schools across the United States are suffering from lack of funding and resources for arts education; recent news out of Bangor, Maine; Eugene, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois points to this issue. Cuts to arts-education budgets continue despite proof that exposure to the arts actually benefits children in their study of the basics of reading, writing and mathematics while contributing to a well-rounded education. Arts education helps close the achievement gap, "leveling the 'learning field' across socio-economic boundaries," according to a statement released in 2010 signed by 27 groups, including the College Board, the National Art Education Association and the American Association of Musicians. "The arts reach students not otherwise engaged, uniquely bridging the broad spectrum of learning styles."
As a leading non-profit supporter of the arts, we at Classical MPR want to be first in line to contribute to a solution for the diminishing presence of music education in schools. We want to help Minnesota educators to enrich the minds and nourish the spirits of their students with tools, resources and programs that have been created collaboratively by Classical MPR staff.
Classical MPR in the Classroom is a standards-based video series that we hope will assist elementary music teachers as they navigate certain topics in the classroom. Each video is accompanied by curriculum created by Classical MPR's Education Specialist (with assistance from the video subjects) that fleshes out what is shown in the episode. Teachers can choose to incorporate as much or as little as they choose from the videos and curriculum into their instruction. The videos and curriculum are available for free on the Classical MPR YouTube channel as well as here on classicalmpr.org.
The series consists of:
- Teaching Excitement for Classical Music
- STEM: Sound as Energy
- STEM: Pitch
- Teaching American Indian Music, Arts, Culture and Traditions
- Listening, Analyzing and Describing Music
- Teaching Composition
The first release is Teaching Excitement for Classical Music, in which Saint Paul music teacher Kim Kroetsch leads a second-grade class in a lesson about reflective listening and response to classical music. This video addresses the first benchmark of the Artistic Foundations strand of the Minnesota Music Standards for K-5 (outlined below). The lesson gives students the language to listen deeply to music and to describe what they are hearing with regard to dynamics and articulation. Ms. Kroetsch and her students also use prescribed body movement to direct group singing or to react to the music they are hearing. Over the course of the video, the students create a "map" of the musical elements that they identify in Antonin Dvořák's Slavonic Dance No. 8.
Strand 1. Artistic Foundations
Standard 1. Demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of the arts area.
Benchmark 1. Identify the elements of music including melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, tone color, texture, form and their related concepts
Classical MPR thanks The Sunup Foundation for generous support of this music education initiative.