K-12 Purchase Follow-Up Instructions
You Just Purchased The Knauss K-12 Music Curriculum--Now What !?!?
Why is a music curriculum better than music series textbooks?
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What advantages does a music curriculum have over series textbooks?
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What if the music curriculum is light years ahead of one's music students?
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How should a music teacher apply a music curriculum to his/her students?
Series Textbooks VS. Curricula
Series Textbooks Are Revised With New Editions--Curricula Evolve Constantly
Series Textbooks and Curricula Compared. There are music education series textbooks and there are music curricula. The difference between series textbooks and curricula may be partly found in why they are written and for whom they are intended. Among many music series textbooks that have come (and some gone), the oldest existing and most respectable is Silver Burdett. (Silver Burdett was first formed as a company in 1888 when Frank W. Burdett purchased a controlling interest in the textbook publishing company, Silver & Company: Wikipedia for Silver Burdett). Series textbooks are usually written by leading music education experts who may be contracted to co-author cooperatively. Series textbooks, often may present only middle-of-the-road music skills and artistic quality, in a general appeal to a broad music education public. A curriculum, however, is often authored by professional music teachers within a music department, combining their professional expertises, experiences, and their own inner artistic souls, to custom-create an eclectic merger of top music education resources and practices. These professionals, wanting to avoid mediocre music education, seek to lead their students beyond series textbooks into highest levels of music skills and artistic performance. One may partly conclude that series textbooks are commercially purposed for salability, while curricula are educationally purposed for learning music skills and artistic quality.
Written by Expert Music Educators. The Knauss K-12 Music Curriculum was originally begun four decades ago by a staff of expert music educators for the purpose of instilling into all students the highest levels of music skill and artistic abilities, completely superseding the limitations of all music series textbooks. The curriculum was continuously field-tested and revised numerous times over the decades. In this situation, Dr. Knauss emerged as one of the principal curriculum writers.
Greatly Extended and Expanded. Upon leaving that particular teaching situation to teach music education methods at the collegiate level, Dr. Knauss completely rewrote and expanded the KMC over the next four years far beyond the curriculum's previous skill levels. Now, KMC's only boundaries are the philosophical beliefs and how-to-teach skills of the person who implements it. To be able to facilitate this curriculum, many music teachers find themselves faced with unlearning traditions from collegiate undergraduate studies and practices enacted upon them by K-12 school music teachers.
Every Printing Is First Edition. Every purchase of the KMC is a personal first edition printing because Dr. Knauss continually revises and updates the curriculum with the latest research findings and successful music methods. None of the books are stock-piled. Dr. Knauss considers the KMC not to be an end-all resource, but a dynamic foundation on which to build the wildest possibilities of what could happen in this new century of music education.
Prescriptive to Inspirational. Allow yourself and your students about five years to master the high level skills in the KMC. In these five years, the curriculum may be mostly prescriptive. Prescriptive is OK in the beginning. However in years 4-5, you should begin to see how different songs and different activities can be substituted for the ones listed in the curriculum. You should also begin to realize how activities can be creatively made more difficult for extending and expanding your students' music skills (Bks 1 & 1A). Lastly, you should begin to perceive why the curriculum teaches primary grades internalized music skills within the music concepts (Bk 2), why the curriculum has intermediate students increase their skills and understandings through independent musicianship (Bk 3), and why the curriculum culminates with teaching students inferential ways to express, create, and perform music (Bk 4). Every creative and artistic music teacher should rewrite the curriculum about every seven years! Therefore, after five years, the curriculum should have evolved for you from prescriptive to inspirational.
A Curriculum Is Your Guide, Not Your God
Creating A Dynamically Alive Classroom
Bridging Two Opposites. A curriculum is a black-and-white, inanimate document printed on paper. A classroom of students is dynamically alive with unlimited artistic potential. How does one successfully bridge these two seeming opposites? What if the curriculum is too difficult for your students, and what if your students music skills are light years behind the curriculum? Most students cannot just be "plopped" into this curriculum. They must be carefully nurtured and grown in music skills. How?
- (1) Assess where your students are regarding their personal music skills. Where is each student individually? Assess each class as a corporate whole. Where is each class as an ensemble? This is called their entry levels.
- (2) Find activities in the Knauss K-12 Music Curriculum that are in line with where the students are with their skills, individually and corporately. Begin where they can experience high levels of success. Success breeds more success, while working to advance their skills.
- (3) Within each successful activity, the teacher may include a challenge that stretches their current skill status. Or simply ask the students how they would make the activity more difficult. Their artistic and imaginative creativity will amaze you.
- (4) Know your music learning sequences, and choose next activities to reinforce their already-learned skills, and challenge them into learning the next sequential skill. Add only one new item at a time for successful learning. Success breeds success and generates enthusiasm for learning more.
- (5) When the students "buy into" this momentum, they learn to love innovation, risk-taking, pioneering, and grow out of the fear of failure and fear of being challenged. In this manner, a curriculum becomes your guide for developing your students into artistic performers. While this is happening to the students, you as a teacher will have changed into a facilitator, and you will have empowered your students to appreciate the challenge of exploring and expanding.
Pioneering Students. Once the above becomes standard operating procedure in your music classroom, students will never again accept anything that remotely approaches mediocre. They will respectfully let you know with comments such as, "This is stupid." "This is boring." "Cant we do something else?" Those comments ceased being offensive when I realized the profound positive they were expressing. Conversely, at this point, whenever the students performed a music activity so artistically that tears would well up in my eyes, Id say to the students, "That was so beautiful, you just gave me 5 more creative ideas. Which one do you want?" Their answer every time, no matter the grade, was always, "The hardest one!"
Well-Stocked Compilation. The KMC has been designed to be a well-stocked compilation of activities that encompass where students may be from any entry level all the way to activities traditionally regarded as impossible for general music students. This makes above Steps 2 and 3 easy to accomplish.
From All-Knowing Teacher to Empowering Facilitator. Regarding above Step 5, when I first began my teaching career, I thought it was my duty to be the well-trained expert for teaching, directing, pointing out mistakes, correcting, and being in control. But the students did not improve. I changed for the all-knowing teacher to a facilitator as I learned to empower the students to do all these things for themselves. I learned how to step out of their way and allow students to surpass me. I taught them to teach themselves, like teaching yourself out of a job. (Students cannot be forever dependent on you as their teacher.) When done correctly, you will discover what I discovered: "In a life-long search for my students learning limits, I only ever found my teaching limits!" Whenever I overcame my teaching limits and accepted the seemingly impossible, the students were always right with me.
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