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Creative Musicianship

Grades 9-12

Sarah Humphreys
This course focuses on engaging students in thinking about the roles music plays in
people’s lives, and how to interact with these roles in different ways. The students will be
grouped in small bands/ensembles (these groups can range from a clarinet quartet to a rap
duo to a rock band… anything goes!) in which they will collaborate and create music
together. In this course, students will learn basic music theory, aural skills, create a
cover/arrangement, create original music, and perform their music live for an audience.
This class aims to give students a broad understanding of what music is and how to create
and share their own music with the community.

This course is designed to reach students who typically would not be enrolled in already
existing music classes such as band, choir, or orchestra. The content in this class is not
genre or instrument specific, so students with any sort of musical interest, whether it is
classical, folk, bluegrass, rock, electronic, hip-hop, etc., can participate with music that is
relevant to them (Davis and Blair, 2011). Whether the ensemble group is classical music
centered or popular music centered, all groups work together to think critically and create
music. This course also provides an environment where students can discover online music
communities through which they can interact and make music with others that are
interested in the same music they are. These communities are known as communities of
practice, where people learn their craft better and more meaningfully by interacting with
others. These communities are characterized by meaning (talking about ability to engage
with life more meaningfully), practice (talking about shared resources and perspectives in
a way that encourages action), community (place where ideas and participation are
affirmed), and identity (talking about how learning shapes us, which can inform and grow
the larger community), all of which are keys to promoting lifelong music making (Waldron,
2009). This course will allow students the opportunity to create and perform music in a
more informal setting where they can take ownership of their own music learning
experience with a teacher there to facilitate experiences and guide them throughout the
process (Allsup, 2011). The goal of this course is to show that ​popular music and classical
music do not need to exist in polarity, but can coexist with one another (Allsup, 2011). The
aim is to appeal to all types of music learners, not just students who are interested in
classical study (Gracyk, 2004).

Expected Impact on Students

In this course, students will engage with multiple genres of music, as well as genres they
choose to do their projects. Students will learn multiple facets of being a musician: theory,
arranging, composing, collaborating with others, performing, and advertising/advocating
for themselves and their performances. The course content will address standards HG. 1-7
and HG. 9-11. In this course, students will cultivate skills and knowledges to continue
lifelong music making and music learning.

Expected Community Impact

The community has many opportunities and venues for local music groups to perform. The
genres of these groups range from bluegrass, rock, folk, rap, and even classical. Students
have endless options for what they can create in this class, and the community helps to
foster those options. The students’ final performance also takes place in the community, so
the class will also bring the students’ music to the community in a live context.

Course Outline
Theory Introduction
Students will learn about the basic components of music through a music theory
based unit. These basic components include melody, harmony, rhythm,
accompaniment, and chord structures. Examples will be pulled from a variety of
music genres. Small projects and assignments will be assigned to put these concepts
into practice.

Create a Cover or Arrangement!

By now students have learned about what things make up the music that they
listen to everyday. They have played around with these components (melody,
harmony, rhythm, accompaniment, chords) on their own, and now it is time to take
those experiences and use them to create a cover or arrangement of a song/musical
work of their choosing. Students will work in their small bands/ensembles to
choose something to cover/arrange for the instrumentation of their group.. They
will use the different components of music to change different aspects of what they
chose to cover/arrange. This project is in preparation to write original music. The
complete covers/arrangements will be performed in class as a pre-show for the final
community concert.

Create an Original Song

At this point students have already begun creating music with certain parameters,
so this project will take it a step further. Students will compose an original
song/musical work with their group, similarly to the cover/arrangement project.
This original music will be for the instrumentation of their group. The complete
compositions will be performed in class as a pre-show for the final community

Bring Your Music to the Community

At this point, the students have spent the entirety of their class time learning
about how music is made, and how to create music of their own. Now, it is time to
share their creations in a live performance in the community. In preparation for this
performance, students will need to advertise and advocate for the event. This can be
done through posters, events and posts on social media, announcements at school
and community events, etc. In this final project, students will learn the promotional
ad performance aspects of being a musician.

Project Outline

Create a Cover or Arrangement! 

Context Statement:​ Provide a rich and vibrant description of the learners with whom and the setting in which you
are designing this curricula. Explain where this project fits in your overall curriculum. What happens before it and
what will students know and be able to do when entering this project? What will they do after this project and how
will they extend their skills and knowledges beyond this project?

By now you have learned about what things make up the music that you listen to everyday. You have played
around with these components (melody, harmony, rhythm, bass line) on your own, and now it is time to take
those experiences and use them to create a cover or arrangement of a song/musical work of your choosing!
Work in your small bands/ensembles to choose something to cover/arrange. Use the different components of
music to change different aspects of what you chose to cover/arrange. This project is in preparation to write
original music, so do not be afraid to try things and ask for feedback! Happy creating!

Stage 1 - Desired Results 

HINT: The objective equation: I can [know/do x] by [doing y] + [to this extent].

Guiding Question: Are these “I can” statements things that the learners at your engagement
setting in would 1) want to be able to do/value and 2) use in their outside lives? 

Standards: Goals:
Identify standards that Unpack and restate standard content into “I can” ​SMART goals​. Identify each goal as a
will guide your goal Knowledge (K), Skill (S), Understanding (M), or Transfer (T) goal. Here is an example of
crafting. Just copy-paste what you might have:
them here. U​ se the VA - I can identify chords charts and picture examples of fingerings for C, G,
SoLs.​ Consider using the and D on ukulele by the end of the experience. (K)
general music standards - I demonstrate fingering for C, G, and D chords on ukulele after playing
and adapting the guitar three songs. (S)
standards (in - I can analyze and identify the chord progression for multiple short songs
combination). Please using C, G, and D chords. (M)
stick with a grade-level - I can select a song to learn on a fretted string instrument and discuss
band (e.g., K, 1, 2, 3, 4, steps I could take to learn the song on my own in a short period of time.
5, 6, Middle School, High (T)
School) that fits the
learners. Please do not copy/paste these draft goals. Craft between 6-8 goals. You might
fold standards together as you create goals. Please don’t just add “I can” to the
Identify at least 8 beginning of a standard.
standards. At least 3
must be from outside - I can understand the basic components of music (melody, harmony,
the Music accompaniment, rhythm, etc). (K)
Theory/Literacy & - I can use the basic components of music to arrange covers of pre-existing
Performance standard songs or melodies. (T)
bands (so, they need to - I can identify what roles music plays in my daily life. (T)
come from “Music - I can perform in front of a live audience. (S)
History and Cultural
Context;” “Analysis,
Evaluation, and
Critique;” and/or

HG.1 The student will

read and notate music,

1. notating original
musical ideas on the
treble and bass
2. identifying and
using the standard
notation symbols for
pitch, rhythm,
dynamics, tempo,
articulation, and
3. notating music from
dictation; and
4. using contemporary

HG.2 The student will

compose and arrange
music within specified
guidelines by
1. incorporating
appropriate voicings
and ranges; and
2. using a variety of
sound, notational, and
technological sources.

HG.3 The student will

perform a varied
repertoire of music,
1. singing with
increased vocal
2. recognizing and
demonstrating proper
technique; and
3. playing instrumental
music representative
of diverse styles,
forms, and cultures.

HG.4 The student will

improvise music,
1. improvising melodic
and rhythmic patterns
and accompaniments
in a variety of styles;
2. improvising
variations on a simple

HG.5 The student will

characteristics of
musical sounds by
1. employing elements
of music, including
melody, rhythm,
harmony, form, and
2. employing
technology to explore
musical sounds; and
3. listening to and
describing traditional
and nontraditional
sound sources.

HG.6 The student will

explore historical and
cultural aspects of
music by
1. describing
characteristics of
musical forms and
styles from a variety of
2. identifying ways in
which culture and
technology influence
the development of
and musical styles;
3. identifying the
relationship of music
to the other fine arts
and other fields of
4. researching career
options in music; and
5. explaining ethical
standards as applied
to the use of social
media and copyrighted

HG.7 The student will

investigate the role of
music in society by
1. comparing and
contrasting the
development of music
in diverse cultures
2. examining various
opportunities to
experience music in
the community; and
3. describing the role
of technology and
social media in the
development of music.

HG.11 The student will

investigate aesthetic
concepts related to
music by
1. explaining how the
context of a musical
work’s creation may
influence its meaning
2. analyzing and
justifying personal
responses to works of
3. examining and
applying aesthetic
criteria for determining
the quality of a
musical work;
4. explaining the value
of music to the
community and to

Generative (Essential) Questions:​ Broad questions that learner will word toward finding multiple and unique
answers. These questions encourage learners to dive deep (not easy to answer quickly and not answerable in only
one or two ways). For example:
- How do musicians learn to play their instruments?
- What types of resources, notations, and tools do musicians use to learn and share music?

Create at least 3 generative questions.

What role does music play in your life?

What do you like about music?
What kind of music do you like and why?
What do you want to learn in this musical space?
How do you like to create in a musical space?
What is your role in a collaborative project?

Stage 2 - Evidence 
HINT: The meets expectations equation: [​Bloom’s Action Word​] + [something students produce] +
[in this way that can be observed/analyzed] + [to this precise extent].

HINT: For developing: Simplify the complexity of one or more aspects of meets.

HINT: For exceeding: Extend beyond the complexity of one or more aspects of meets.

Guiding Question: Are the evidences produced 1) meaningful to learners and 2) do they
demonstrate growth? 

Be as specific as possible to articulate what a quality piece of evidence will look like that will demonstrate that
learners grew related to each of the goals. Be clear and think about what specifics need to be addressed and which
ones don’t (use vagueness purposefully to encourage some aspect of learner agency). Identify the format and
qualities of each piece of evidence and how they relate to the goals. Also provide specific adaptations to the
evidence to allow for this curricula to be inclusive of learners with different ability levels and body/mind
Recordings and performances of their finished products
Reflections on their experiences/what they learned/why they made the decisions they did

Recordings do not have to be “professional,” they can be on phones or other common audio devices
Final products will be at multiple “levels” (ex: some songs will have a more intricate harmonic structure and
others will have a more basic harmonic structure; students will create according to their level of understanding)
Reflections on what they accomplished and what they learned

Develop rubrics, checklists, and informal assessments (like observation guides) to assess learners growth in your
setting. Develop a final

Stage 3 – Learning Plan 

HINT: Equation for learning activities: ||: [Student does x] + [in this way/these ways] + [for this
purpose] + [in this period of time]. [Teacher does y] + [for this purpose] when [students
does/needs z]. :|| + [Means of assessment: checklist, rubric, conference, self-assessment, etc.].

Guiding Questions: Are these experiences 1) enriching, 2) valuable, and 3) engaging for learners?
Are teachers playing a meaningful role in supporting learning?

Discuss the specific process by which learners will make progress toward the goals. Specifically address the ways
you, as a teacher, will support, challenge, and wind for the learners. What “workshops,” “lessons,” or “experiences”
will you guide learners in to help them develop tools needed to grow? How will you support individual learning and
growth? Identify when and how assessments occur throughout the unit.

For each day either project a thorough outline of the day’s events and what both students and teacher will do or
create a narratively rich vignette describing the same. The point is to paint a picture with specific of what is going
in and to demonstrate your ability to plan sequentially.

Day 1: Overview of project; play examples of covers/arrangements; answer questions; Get in small
groups and choose two songs; make a rough plan to complete the cover/arrangement
Day 2: Share song selections (no group has the same song); work day
Day 3-6: Work day
Day 7: Share what you have so far with the class; receive feedback; reflect on your process so far and what you
to do with the rest of the project; Teacher will assess progress
Day 8-12: Work Days
Day 13-14: Present final products in class
Day 15: Reflections due; teacher will assess based on reflections and progress based on the final performance

Final Assessment  
Explain what will be assessed (which should be drawn from your evidences). Also, demonstrate how
these bits of evidences will be assessed. Consider a fully-wound rubrics (see below), checklists for some
things, reflective assessments, conversational assessments with questions, etc. You will need multiple
assessment mechanisms to determine how students have grown in relation to the goals.

Written Reflections
“What have you accomplished so far?”
“What have you learned so far?”
“What has been your biggest challenge and how have you/will you overcome it?”
“How can you take what you have accomplished further?”
Rubric for Mid-Way Product and Final Product

1 The student has All components All components are

used the basic None of the 1-2 components are present. present and used in a
components components are present masterful way
(melody, harmony, are present
rhythm, bassline) of
music in their

2 The student has The The The The

made their cover/arrange cover/arrangemen cover/arrangemen cover/arrangement is
arrangement/cover ment does not t shows only slight t is different from essentially
unique from the show any contrast to the the original in re-invented from the
original version difference original (only 1-2 multiple ways original, and shows
from the things are (style, mastery of
original different ex: only instrumentation, manipulating/changin
instrumentation or key, etc) g the basic
key is different) components of music
to achieve a desired
musical outcome

3 The student played Student group Student group Student group n/a
an active and evaluations evaluations show evaluations show
collaborative role in show that that student gave that student
their group student did minimal contributed
not contribute contributions to equally to the
to the group the group project group project

4 The student Student did n/a Student performed n/a

performed their not perform product in class
product in class product in
**School already has a set of Macs with Garageband**
Proposed Budget 

Item Name   Use   Cost  Quantity Overall Cost

(linked to provider)  (How will this be used by students/teacher?)  (per unit) 

USB Recording voice, instruments, or other sounds $149.99 2 $299.98


Dynamic Vocal Performing vocals live $109.00 1 $109.00

with boom
stands and

Dynamic Performing acoustic instruments live $109.00 3 $327.00

with boom
stand and

Speaker Live performances $1,259.00 1 $1,259.00

Pair with
stands, cords,
and covers

Keyboard Recording and live performances $399.00 1 $399.00


Instrument Amplifying instruments $19.95 5 $99.75


Total Cost $2493.73

Allsup, R. E. (2011). Popular music and classical musicians: Strategies and perspectives.
Music Educators Journal, 97​(3), 30–34.

Davis, S. G., & Blair, D. V. (2011). Popular music in American teacher education: A glimpse
into a secondary methods course. ​International Journal of Music Education​, ​29(​ 2),

Gracyk, T. (2004). Popular music: The very idea of listening to it. In C. X. Rodriguez (Ed.),
Bridging the gap: Popular music and music education (​ pp. 51–70). Reston, VA:

Waldron, J. (2009). Exploring a virtual music ‘community of practice’: Informal music

learning on the Internet. ​Journal of Music, Technology & Education, 2​(2/3), 97-112.