Music in Our Schools Month is in March.
Since 1985, March has been filled with sound as music in our schools is celebrated around the nation. Sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, the event focuses the nation's attention on the need for and benefits of quality music education programs. Schools and community groups celebrate with creative activities and events, based on a designated theme. This year's theme is "Music Inspires"
American film and theater have many examples of musical works that have been adapted from a novel or other non-musical version. Explore the effects of music on a story by examining one example with your class.
- First, brainstorm a list of such works, which could include examples such as A Christmas Carol, Les Misérables, and numerous Disney films.
- Next, after reading a story, novel, or play (or viewing a non-musical version on film), have students view the musical version.
- Then, have students discuss the differences they observed between the two versions of the story. Were the characters, setting, and main events the same? In the musical version, what role did song lyrics play in telling the story? Do both versions seem equally dramatic (or funny, or sad, etc.)? Which version do students prefer? Why?
- Finally, have students select a text that you've read in class. They should imagine that they are a songwriter working on a musical adaptation of the story. They can work alone or in groups to write lyrics to one song. They can use the tune to a song they know or compose their own music. Students should be able to explain how this song would help tell the story and which character or characters sing the song. Students can perform their songs for the class or use the interactive CD/DVD Cover Creator to design a cover for the soundtrack. More tips are available for use with this tool.
This site, from NAfME, offers information about the history of Music in Our Schools Month, as well as suggested activities, and advocacy information.
The Kennedy Center's ARTSEDGE provides tools to develop interdisciplinary curricula that integrate the arts with other subjects. Their site offers free standards-based lessons and other student and professional development materials, including Perfect Pitch, an exploration of the orchestra.
This site from the National Arts Centre offers media-rich resources for kids and their teachers and parents related to music and orchestra, including an instrument lab and music library.