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This resources contains a list of literacy strategies that may be applied to music reading so that students may make better connections between the two subjects. This resource is an appendix to an upcoming study to be published investigating this relationship. It is a quantitative pure-experimental study comparing band with non-band participants on literacy scores, as well as comparing literacy-enriched band instruction with traditional instruction on musical playing ability.
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Instructor Guidelines to Differentiate Experimental Treatments
Note: Instructor training occurred three times prior to the initiation of instruction. Training included the theory and examples of conventional and literacy-enriched strategies. The instructor kept a written log of weekly lesson plans and strategies used.
Students: 4th Grade band students with no prior band experience
Timeline: 14 weeks, with one small group lesson and one full ensemble rehearsal each week. Each lesson is 30 minutes in duration. Each full band rehearsal is 50 minutes in duration.
Materials: Students used Measures of Success (Sheldon, et al., 2009) for flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and percussion.
Objective: By the end of this unit, students will able to describe and demonstrate fundamental skills on their chosen instrument, including
Additional group 1 objective: Students will use conventional rehearsal and lesson techniques to accomplish the above objectives. These include clapping, singing, rote teaching and modeling, trial and error, chanting, repetition, and chunking (dividing material into its smaller component parts), trial and error practicing, teacher/peer modeling, verbalizing note names, verbalizing fingerings, audiation, and repetitive drill.
Students may complete any non-playing activity indicated in the method book. Students may independently initiate literacy strategies described below, but the instructor will not initiate those activities in group 1.
One recurring activity used in conventional instruction is known as the Four Step Practice System. This consists of the following four steps:
Additional group 2 objective: Students will use literacy-based strategies to accomplish the above objectives. At least one strategy is to be used at every lesson and at every full ensemble rehearsal. Group 2 students will receive more time to write in the method book. Writing activities will be purposeful and rehearsed, especially in the early stages. After week seven (the halfway mark) the gradual release of responsibility will begin to help ensure that students use the strategies independently with fidelity.
The method book introduces new concepts in textual form via short vignettes, or blue boxes. For example, line 1.19 features a blue box that states, “Style and Form: Duet. A duet has two different parts performed simultaneously by two individuals or groups” (Sheldon et al., 2010, p. 8). Group 1 members will receive a verbal introduction to the content. Group 2 students will utilize the turn-and-talk, summarization, vocabulary predictions, annotation strategies, or other listed strategy to help them recall and understand the content.
The strategies are summarized below:
Parallel Strategies between ELA and Band
This chart was developed after meeting with a fourth-grade representative teacher about literacy strategies. These strategies were each to be used at least once in each lesson and full band during the study. Strategies may be used more than once.
Done in 4th grade ELA classroom?
How might this transfer in music?
Annotation: Students explicitly stop reading/playing to jot notes and reminders in the margins of their book. Annotations specifically refer to writing words and phrases that help students remember a central concept or unknown passage. The teacher models the process using a projected example, and then asks students to demonstrate their own ability to annotate in their own book. Annotations should not be confused with coding, during which students write symbols, small pictures, or circles for the same purpose.
Limited usage in beginning level music class.
Coding: Coding is similar to annotating but instead of using words or sentences, students use symbols. Codes are much faster than writing annotations, and they work well when the reader wishes to mark something for later analysis or interpretation without stopping the flow of reading. (students mark music using specific symbols, circles, stars, exclamation points, and question marks)
Frequently, especially in "close readings," which are short, high interest readings.
Model how you write codes into music. Use the same codes as 4th grade…!=important, ?=question, star=WOW. 4th grade has a guide they use.
Frontloading with Images: The teacher prepares students for learning by using photos or drawings to establish the context, problem, or process of the lesson’s topic. The images are projected on a screen and the teacher allows time for students to look carefully. This process allows students to make predictions and inferences in a manner that can engage students of all ability levels. In band, images can help provide a memorable context for the music to be practiced, especially since the chosen method book features several short vignettes about composers and time periods.
Seldom, but yes.
Show pictures of themes, instruments, diagrams, and new symbols. How does the form follow the function of the notation?
R-D-W: This stands for Read-Draw-Write. This strategy was described by Debbie Grawn (2015) as a strategy originally developed for the Eureka Math system. The system involves reading and rereading the problem, then drawing the situation represented from the given information, and finally writing conclusions from the drawings in any textual or numerical format. This helps students use their drawings to understand the problem. It also helps teachers see where students may be misinterpreting the problem by illustrating their logic and thought process.
Seldom, but yes.
May be used to illustrate phrase structure or melodic line. May also be used to graphically plan a problem-solving strategy for practicing difficult material.
Post-it Response Notes: Students use post-it response notes while playing music to jot questions, surprises, and reminders. This helps students remember and practice unknown material at a later date. Teachers can specify certain themes for the day or allow students to jot information as they see fit. The post-it notes can be collected to create an archive of student growth.
Seldom now, but increasing in the future.
Use post-its for new notes, vocabulary, or a difficult sequence for later practice. Emphasize that this can be done in reading, too.
Read Aloud: The teacher or a student models the performance of a short passage of interesting music. Modeling includes fluency and inflection that are stylistically appropriate. Material should not be chosen from the textbook, and should represent various levels of reading/playing ability. Different than rote teaching, read alouds typically feature example music (or text) that does not include student material.
Play for students. But to make the reading connection, help tell them what to listen for.
Summarization (usually done in writing)
Done in different ways as described throughout this document.
See strategies below.
Think aloud: The teacher demonstrates her thought process out loud while reading an unfamiliar passage of music or text. This process allows students to see how the teacher handles unknown or difficult material. Rather than overlooking unknown symbols, notes, or words, the teacher demonstrates how to go about looking up the information. After modeling the process, students try it in small groups. This is a great way to demonstrate how and when to use practice strategies such as altering the tempo, chunking, and repetition.
Explain your thought process while you model sight reading.
Turn and Talk: Students discuss important concepts introduced by the teacher for one to two minutes. This is followed by a brief report out from a selected sample of students. This is also referred to as “think-pair-share,” and can be used many times within a single class period. This strategy helps engage students who would otherwise be disengaged during class or confused about the topic. Plus, it allows the teacher to quickly evaluate students’ readiness and understanding.
This can be done during lessons easily. But to get better in reading class, give more direction. We're not just looking for your first thought, but your BEST thought.
Vocabulary Predications: Students are given a list of several potentially unknown words, which they then attempt to categorize by predicting their meaning. The teacher provides the list of words, and students attempt to sort them in small groups. Students then attempt to predict a common theme for each group of words. The strategy uses collaboration and prior knowledge to help students master new vocabulary.
Frequently, especially tier 2 words.
We don't do this nearly enough in music. But prediction can help show the similarities between Italian and Spanish, especially.
Other Strategies (not to be used in this study, but possible for future studies)
Frequency in 4th grade, per interview
Application to band/music instruction.
Can be used for major concepts or when multiple vocabulary words are introduced.
Dramatic role play
Can perhaps be used as a means to associate pitches with fingerings (storytelling, etc.)
Moderately, but usually informal
Can be used to quickly judge understanding or prior knowledge
K-W-L (Know, want to know, learned) discussion
Can be used for especially major concepts.
Frequently, but they call it "double entry journals or T-charts"
Use when comparing two ideas. Maybe try this later, but think about it.
Like the turn and talk, but more active.
Seldom, but worth trying
Definitely worth a try as students become more familiar with symbols and terms. Students may do this at home with other subjects, too, particularly reading.
In math only, and even then it is highly regulated, not creative.
Can be used when teaching D.S. al coda, repeats, etc.
Tweet the text
Never, but may try in spring.
Nice summary. Encourage kids to do this independently.
Done, but not in "tree" form
Looking at patterns. Maybe best done with rhythms. Might have to be creative here to make the association to reading class.
Never, but worth trying
Worth trying as a summary.
Where do you stand?
Seldom, but worth trying (in Jan.)
Maybe not applicable in beginning stages of learning an instrument.
Frequently, but done in binders instead of on a wall. No room on the wall.
Maybe have students add vocabulary and symbols to their own binders?
Instructor-Generated Log of Lesson Sequence
Group 1 (conventional instruction) lesson sequence.
Lesson and Full Band Number
Group 1 Knowledge and Skills Focus
Instrument assembly and hand position
Fundamental tone production (buzzing, blowing)
Lesson organization and procedures
Winds: Staff notation, Concert “D” and “C,” Quarter notes/rests
Percussion (Starting on Snare): Staff notation, Stickings, Quarter notes/rests
Winds: Alternating between 2 pitches w/o rests between
Percussion: Sticking in groups of 2 and 4
Winds: Concert “Bb,” Alternating between 3 pitches
Percussion: Alternate sticking, Reduced pattern predictability
Winds: Half notes, whole notes, fermata, time signature
Percussion: Introduce bass drum, right-hand lead, half notes, whole notes, fermata, time signature, rhythmic independence between snare and bass
Winds: Hot Cross Buns, draw measure lines, write in note names, repeats
Percussion: Hot Cross Buns, draw measure lines, write in note names, repeats, exercises duplicated on bells
Winds: Mary Had a Little Lamb, Au Claire de la Lune
Percussion: Mary Had a Little Lamb, Au Claire de la Lune, muffling
Winds: Duet, Rhythmic independence
Winds: Concert “Eb,” alternating between 4 notes
Percussion: Multiple bounce stroke
Winds: Concert “F,” breath mark, drawing notation elements (clef, time signature, final bar line)
Percussion: Continued development of the multiple bounce stroke, drawing notation elements (clef, time signature, final bar line)
Winds: Good King Wenceslas, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Ode to Joy
Percussion: Good King Wenceslas, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Ode to Joy
Winds: Concert “G,” Old McDonald, alternating between 6 notes
Percussion: Flam, Old McDonald
Winds: Concert “A,” Phrasing, Alternating between 7 notes
Percussion: Alternating between flams and multiple bounce strokes, long roll (fermata)
Winds: Key Signature
Percussion: Continued flam development
Group 2 (literacy-enriched) lesson sequence and strategy application.
Lesson and Full Band Number
Group 2 addressed the same skills and knowledge as group 1, plus the following additional strategies
Frontloading with images (Exploring the format and images of the method book.)
Vocabulary predictions (Predicting articulation, pitch.)
Summarization (Summarizing the differences between quarter notes and whole notes. Also, summarizing vocabulary in the blue boxes, including staff, bar lines, and final bar line.)
Turn and talk (Associating the name of the songs with their content, e.g., Up and Down.)
Think aloud (Asking: How is the new note produced? How should it sound? How do you overcome mistakes and misconceptions?)
Frontloading with images (Showing students images of clefs and asking them to predict what different clef characteristics mean (the loop in the G clef or the dots on an F clef, for example.))
Coding (Remembering to observe the repeat sign.)
Think aloud (Asking: How many beats are in a measure? How do beats influence where bar lines are drawn?)
Turn and talk (Asking: What are the differences between two similar songs?)
Turn and talk (Asking: How did your partner perform the duet? What advice can you give to help your partner?)
Turn and talk (Asking: How is the new note different from the other notes? How does your face (embouchure) change to make the higher notes speak?)
R-D-W (Asking: Considering the historical information presented for 1.25, what patterns do you see or how are the events related?) Note: The vignette describes several events occurring at roughly the same time: Stephen Foster’s compositions, Frederic Church’s paintings, the Gettysburg Address, and Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
Vocabulary predictions (Asking: What is the double meaning of the word “scaling?”)
Think aloud (Exploring the process of conducting.)
Summarization (Using music to tell a story or express a feeling, work with a partner and perform a story for them. Ask 1 question about partner’s story or feeling.)
Turn and talk (Discussing the mechanics necessary to create a new note.)
Post-it response notes (Students read concert handout and develop questions.)
Annotating (Marking important items on the concert flyer.)
Frontloading with images (Interpreting the shape and meaning of the fermata.)
Read aloud (Reading the concert instructions with fluency.)
Summarization (Concert handout instructions were given.)