Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Love at First Sight ... SBL Music Resources

After embarking on the road to Standards Based Learning in music, the first thing I did was seek out resources.  I'm not sure how I came upon this set of books, but it was love at first sight.  I started flipping through the pages ... I came upon this image ... I remember sitting at my desk and seeing it ...
From page 2 of "Scale Your Way to Music Assessment"
If this picture is fuzzy to you, let me explain.  It says Musical Understandings + Student Performance Skills are what contribute to Independent Musicians who create quality performances.  Why was I in love?  Because it's exactly how our department had set up our units in our new curriculum model about 8 months prior on our own.  The difference is that we call the units "Musical Skills" (performance skills such as tone) and "Musical Knowledge" (topics not exhibited in performance, such as theory).  See my blog post to learn more about our units & topics.

It is a series of three books by Paul & Ann Kimpton as well as Delwyn Harnisch on the second book. The first is called "Grading for Musical Excellence", and the second is called "Scale Your Way to Music Assessment".  There is a third book that we do not have (yet) entitled "Common Core: Reimagining the Music Rehearsal and Classroom".  The Kimptons are a husband and wife team - Paul is a retired music teacher and Ann is a curriculum administrator, so they put their books together from the practitioner's view of a music teacher and the curriculum view of an administrator.  I was so smitten that we ordered 3 sets to share in our K-12 music department.  The books are published by GIA Publications.

The books lead your team through the conversations and prep work that you just can't skip as you change the way you look at student work in the music program. It leads you through talking about our "baggage" as music teachers, aligning our department goals to district goals, identifying what quality performances are, writing assessments, collecting and analyzing data, etc.  There is a CD included with the "Scale Your Way to Music Assessment" book that includes many of the assessments developed by the Kimptons.

One of the reasons this series resonated with me is because it confirmed my belief that we need to make time to hear every student individually, not to track their abilities, but to advance their abilities as young musicians.

I have not received anything for this blog review, nor have I ever communicated with the Kimptons, but I do hope to someday.  These books would be great for any music department that either wants to assess students in a better way or finds themselves in a district requiring more assessment of students and wants to do it the right way.

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