The end of the school year is a great time to use Minnesota Public Radio’s Class Notes™ Videos. Kids love movies, and kids need something that they love to engage them when summer break is looming. The videos are filled with variety, humor, and silliness that will keep students interested, despite the warmer weather. Students might not even notice that they’re also jam-packed with music content aligned with state standards.
Class Notes™Videos cover a wide range of topics, including music theory, history, culture, composition, improvisation, instruments, careers, and more. A standards-based curriculum guide accompanies each three to ten minute video. The flexible ideas to “prepare, reinforce, and extend learning” make it possible to create whole lessons, or even multi-class period projects, focused on a single video. However, the videos teach vocabulary and concepts efficiently and clearly enough that they can also be used with minimal preparation, especially with older students.
During this season of school concerts, I recommend “How to Sing Well,” “How to Respond to Feedback,” and “What to Do at a Concert” to reinforce what you’re teaching your students about technique and concert etiquette. When I showed “What to Do at a Concert” to my first grade students this spring, it had such an impact that they suggested making a card for the kindergartners to thank them for being a good audience at their concert by not talking or eating chips during it, like Class Notes™ host Alison Young did in the video.
The “Choosing the Right Instrument for You” set of videos are useful for beginning band and orchestra directors and elementary music teachers who are preparing their students to choose the instruments that they’ll begin playing next year. Videos for each instrument family — strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion — highlight the unique characteristics and roles of different instruments, and provide basic information about an instrument's history and construction.
Whether you’re teaching elementary general music or directing a high school ensemble, Class Notes™ Videos can provide your students of any age with an entertaining approach to learning important musical concepts throughout the school year.