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Instructional Unit Samples - Music

Hello,

I am very proud to present the teacher-authored instructional unit samples for Music. Each of these units represents the work of a team of Colorado educators to translate one curriculum overview sample into a full instructional unit with learning experiences, teacher and student resources, assessment ideas, and differentiation options. To learn more about the unit development process and the unique aspects of the arts units, please consider participating in one or more of the scheduled instructional unit webinars.

Each of the units posted here was authored by a team of Colorado educators. As examples, they are intended to provide support (or conversation/creation starting points) for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students.

You can also view the complete list of Music curriculum overview samples and use the instructional unit templates to begin constructing your own Colorado Academic Standards-based units.

Karol Gates
Arts Content Specialist

 

High School

Ensemble Unit Title: The Music in You (Denver Public School District and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit students will investigate the process of selection, preparation and performing music of various cultures and genres and how it influences our personal musical growth. Students will use evaluative tools to identify and react to musical and expressive elements.  This unit will culminate in a final concert showcasing music of a variety of cultures and genres for the school and/or community.

 

Ensemble Unit Title: The Music in You - designed to span a full course (Lake County School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This is a secondary music performance ensemble unit designed for the entirety of the school year to introduce rehearsal and performance practices and procedures and the necessary technical instructional foci when preparing for various ensemble experiences to include choir, pep/marching band, concert band, and adjudicated contests. In this unit students will be able to articulate the proper procedures and roles within an ensemble and will execute various techniques necessary for successful ensemble performances such as tone quality/intonation, scales, articulation, rhythm etc. The unit culminates with a student-created recruitment video for joining the high school music ensembles directed at middle school students (or other interested students).

 

Ensemble Unit Title: ‘Arranging’ Your Folder (Jefferson County School District, Center School District, Adams-Arapahoe School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit, students will focus on how arrangements enhance the structural foundation of music. Students groups will be asked to take a melody from a known piece of music and create a thoughtful (re)arrangement of that piece. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specific musical skills including rhythm, key, instrumentation, and expressive elements.  The unit culminates in a final class or concert performance that will include their new arrangements and program notes that share their creative processes with the audience.

 

Ensemble Unit Title: Emotion Through Rhythm (Colorado Springs School District, Woodland Park School District, Center School District, Adams-Arapahoe School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit, students will understand, perform, and write rhythmic patterns in both simple and compound meters while keeping a steady beat. Students will explore common time through the rhythm tree, focusing on duration/ratio between note values. Students will apply their knowledge of duration/ratio to various rhythmic patterns that include all note values in simple and compound meters. This unit will culminate in a final performance of percussive storytelling.

 

Performance Based Unit Title: Explore the Possibilities: Getting to Know Your Instrument (Jefferson County School District, St. Vrain School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit is designed for those students who did not participate in (performance) music programs during middle school. It is designed so as to be utilized in and relevant for multiple settings (i.e., band, choir, orchestra, guitar, keyboard, technology, etc.). The unit has students actually making music as quickly as possible and exploring the possibilities of sounds that can be created  and techniques that can be applied/utilized with a particular instrument (within the-teacher set- limits of the instrument) . The unit culminates in a final performance in which students apply their exploratory learning into a composition of their creating. 

 

 

8th Grade

Unit Title: Got Rhythm? (Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit focuses on using music history sources to better understand the origin and influence of the music known as Tin Pan Alley. Across the duration of the unit, the students will engage in musical history research, performance, writing short program notes based on music history research, and reflect on the ways in which the time and place of a musical performance determines the interaction of performers and audiences. The unit culminates with a variety-show style musical performance and reflections on the historical accuracy of the Tin Pan Alley musical style.

 

Generalist Pathway Unit Title: Garage Band to Grammys (Jefferson County School District, Thompson School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit, students will discover that creating music can encompass a variety of sources. Students will be encouraged to create their own compositions through learning about musical styles, ways of documenting music through traditional and non-traditional notation, and designing a strong structure and form for a piece. This unit will take students from the basics of understanding rhythm and meter to a culminating project that results in creating compositions from found items that are finalized using sound production software.

 

 

 

7th Grade

Unit Title: It’s About Time – The Power of Folk Music (Denver Public Schools and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit is an exploration of American folk compositions and how musical artists utilize expressions of circumstance to influence change.  During the duration of the unit, students will consider the use of social justice themes in folk music, in both traditional and popular forms and how these songs influence culture and document the tension/conflict in historical and cultural events.  Across the unit students will critically analyze the context and purposes of patriotic songs, folk songs, ant-war songs etc. The unit culminates in asking the students to create an original song about a social issue or cause they feel passionate about.

 

 

 

6th Grade

Generalist Pathway Unit Title: Trends with Technology (Thompson School District and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit is an exploration about how musical skills can be taught and enriched by using technology. Across the unit students will explore theory, arranging, composition, instrumentation and music appreciation through the use of various technology tools. Students will understand the regional media trends and styles that influence individual musical preference. The unit culminates in asking the students to write a musical composition using available technological sources that use fundamental composition and technical skills.

 

Ensemble Unit Title: Ensemble Where Everyone is a Starter (Colorado Springs School District, Woodland Park School District, Jefferson County School District, Pueblo County School District, Adams-Arapahoe School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit guides students in making connections between the rehearsal process and the performance. Students will learn about common warm up and rehearsal techniques that are most suitable for effective musicianship. They will then apply their learning to performance of familiar/learned repertoire. The unit culminates in students becoming an active participant in music class through designing and implementing warm-up rehearsal plans.

 

 

 

 

5th Grade

Unit Title: Feeling Blue (Poudre School District, Thompson School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit is an exploration of the Blues as a musical genre and how Blues artists utilized historical and cultural roots within their compositions.  Throughout the duration of the unit, students will consider the use of form and emotions to guide improvisation in Blues music. Across the unit students will critically analyze the context and purposes of Blues music. The unit culminates in asking the students to create lyrics and an improvised original 12-bar Blues progression.

 

Unit Title: So You ‘Wanna’ Be a Rock Star? (Boulder Valley School District, Fort Morgan School District, Poudre School District, Pueblo City School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit guides students in making connections between expressive performance techniques (their symbols and notation) and people’s emotional response(s) to musical experiences.  Students will listen to a variety of examples from various musical genres to identify expressive elements and reflect on and analyze the different emotions that musical experiences can evoke.  Students will then apply their learning to transform the expressive elements of familiar repertoire.  The unit culminates in students planning, rehearsing, and performing a piece of music to demonstrate their mastery of musical expression.

 

 

 

4th Grade

Unit Title: Music Tells Our Story (Adams-Arapahoe School District and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This 4th grade unit focuses on the musical connections to Colorado History, including stylistic influences – past and present – with connections to modern musical trends in Colorado. Across the unit’s duration, students will consider ways music is related to Colorado and analyze the various musical styles, traditions, genres, and instrumentation related to Colorado music. Throughout this unit, students will demonstrate their understanding by creating and selecting materials that will culminate with a 4th grade presentation or performance.

 

Unit Title: Play Me a Song (Colorado Springs School District, Jefferson County School District, Boulder Valley School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit explores composition using the processes of creating and performing music. The unit has a focus on standard notation, musical forms, improvisation and composition which will be played on instruments. The students will compare and contrast a variety of musical selections in order to create, improvise and compose music that is both vocal and instrumental. This unit culminates with a final project in which students will create short, original compositions.

 

 

 

3rd Grade

Unit Title: Music All Around Us (Boulder Valley School District and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit, students will compare and contrast music of diverse cultures, using the musical concepts of dynamics (loudness and quietness of music), tempo (speed of music), articulation (way music is played) and form (structure and patterns in the music). Students will explore the role and traditions of the music within the culture, and the origins of (cultural) forms of music. They will also examine how music in a culture has changed/transformed or stayed consistent over time. The culminating project will include a group performance of (community-based) culturally diverse music and individual or small group original projects such as artwork, a song, an instrument, descriptive writing, drama or dance.

 

Unit Title: Let's Make Musical Sounds (Adams-Arapahoe School District, Pueblo County School District, Boulder Valley School District, Thompson School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit explores the different ways we make music. In this unit, students will investigate various instruments and how/why they work. Students will also analyze effective communication through music. Using familiar songs throughout, the unit will have students investigating musical structures and ways to modify traditional or well-known arrangements. The unit culminates in a student performance demonstrating student understanding of the structure and function of music through performance, using appropriate musical terminology.

 

 

 

 

2nd Grade

Unit Title: Stories Through Music (Boulder Valley School District, Thompson School District, and Metro State University of Denver) 

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit is an exploration of mood/setting/character in a story through music. Throughout the duration of the unit, students go from being the listener to the performer and creator of improvised sounds and movement through music. The students will experiment with using sounds to replicate/represent characters, emotions, conflict, etc. of literary works. The unit culminates in asking the students to become musical storytellers choosing musical sounds to represent the characters of a given story.

 

Unit Title: Musical Ecosystem (Pueblo School District, Jefferson County School District, Colorado Springs School District, and Metro State University of Denver) 

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit focuses on musical instrument families and vocal groupings in modern music. Students will research string, percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments as well as vocal sound groupings (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), learn musical instrument history and sounds, and explore the meaning of instrumental improvisation. Students will observe how movement creates sound and discover how instruments relate to the environment. This unit culminates in students using their understanding of the structural elements of instruments create and perform on a home-made musical instrument using the expression of musical elements.

 

 

 

 

1st Grade

Unit Title: Music Tells a Story (Denver Public School District and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit is an exploration of music--singing, playing, and moving--through the storytelling process. Each student will get an opportunity to engage with understanding the mood and emotions related to a story and how musical sounds can be used to demonstrate mood and emotions. Across the unit, students will experiment with and perform musical representations of developmentally appropriate children’s stories. The unit culminates in asking the students to become a musical author and share musical stories in a final performance.

 

Unit Title: Be a Singing Star (Pueblo County School District, Poudre School District, Thompson School District, and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: Across the unit’s duration, students will create a jingle demonstrating their understanding of how to produce various vocal tone colors in their head and chest voice. Students will understand that vocal tone colors convey expression through singing, speaking, whispering, and shouting using their head and chest voice. Students will learn how a singer produces sound determines vocal tone color. Once students explore various performance and production options the unit culminates in the creation of a short jingle and critique process using a self and peer evaluation scoring rubric.

 

 

 

Kindergarten

Unit Title: Show Me the Way to... (Boulder Valley School District and Metro State University of Denver)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF)     Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit explores the structure of musical opposites and the function (purpose) of music through movement.  Teachers begin with developmentally appropriate musical opposites (fast/slow, high/low, loud/quiet, same/different) and then use these opposites to show how they create mood.  Later learning experiences help students to understand the purpose of musical pieces across many cultures.  The unit culminates in a performance task requiring students to create their own movements that match the musical elements and function of the music given.

 

 

Questions related to Colorado's District Sample Curriculum Project should be directed to Dr. Brian Sevier.  For content specific questions, please contact Karol Gates.

For Website support through the Office of Standards and Instructional Support, please e-mail Anna Huffman

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