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Music, Middle School 3 - Orchestra

TEKS Strand Expectations
Foundations: Music Literacy Students continue technical studies as they work on performance literature. Through selected literature, exercises, and warm-ups, they expand ranges, refine and teach articulations, develop and sustain breath control to support tone, work on precision in rhythmic patterns, and clarify intonation. Students learn to tune to one pitch, then learn to tune harmonically within a chord with other members of an ensemble. Focused listening skills are refined and combined with skills that enable students to make adjustments in pitch.
Creative Expression Ranges are expanded to necessitate the use of expanded positions for all instruments. Typically violins become proficient in 1/2 to 3rd positions and are possibly acquainted with 5th position; violas: 1/2 to 2nd positions and possibly 3rd; and cellos and string basses: 1/2 to 4th positions. Music is more technically and musically demanding. Students read in major keys and their relative minors (C, G, D, F, B-flat, A minor, E minor, B minor, and G minor) and in meters including 2/2, 12/8, and 9/8. They perform articulations such as spiccato and hooked bowing. The development of the vibrato is an essential technical skill that enhances the expressive qualities of the music and results in increased personal satisfaction for students.
Historical and Cultural Relevance With increased technical proficiency, students successfully play more difficult music and perform selections that reflect a broader representation of styles, forms, cultures, and historical periods. In addition, live performances and selected recordings introduce students to new music representing diverse heritages. Students identify characteristics of particular time periods, styles, cultures, and/or individual composers and apply their knowledge to performance. Having students prepare study guides of performance music helps students connect music with its heritage. Teachers might also select listening material that can be usefully compared and contrasted with performance selections.
Critical Evaluation and Response Listening, analyzing, and making adjustments in exercises and in performance literature is a continual process of growth. Reflecting on one's own and others' performances and applying thoughts to performance practice are the keys to success. Teachers demonstrate exemplary technique, helping students learn the characteristics of exemplary performance. Students evaluate specific performances and learn to make constructive criticism based on musical concepts. Students may keep journals that include tapes of performances. Appropriate rehearsal and performance etiquette is developed over time.

The ability to improvise simple harmonic accompaniment is an important goal in Elizabeth Carrey's eighth-grade orchestra. Towards the end of the year, Ms. Carrey prepares her students for an assessment of improvisation skills.

Ms. Carrey asks each student to improvise an accompaniment on a fretted instrument, a keyboard instrument, a mallet percussion instrument, or a chorded zither (e.g., Autoharp or Chromaharp) while the class sings a familiar song containing simple chords (e.g., I, IV, V).

The student being assessed improvises an appropriate accompaniment using traditional chords. Ms. Carrey identifies the tonic chord and suggests chords that would be appropriate, but she does not tell the student when or in what order to play them. She gives the student 3–5 minutes to prepare.

Differentiation Strategies for Students with Special Needs
©Copyright 2015, Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA). This chart is developed by the Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA) as a resource for Texas teachers. All rights reserved.
Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA)
9233 Partridge Circle
Austin, TX 78758
Phone: 512-491-8087
©Copyright 2015; Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts all rights reserved.