Category Archives: Featured Projects

Chicago Opera Theatre (multiple schools), Chicago, IL

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2010

View Team Planning Process Digital Portfolio: 2010

Download School Project Report: 2010

Project Background:

Story: In the Fall of 2009, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education staff and the Chicago Opera Theater education coordinator, Linden Christ, met with the General Director of COT, Brian Hickie, the General Manager, Roger Weitz, and the COT board education committee. The COT team asked CAPE what COT’s education program needed to go to the next level both aesthetically and pedagogically, and how that growth might be shared with the opera company’s publics.

The program was structured as a 25-week residency in multiple Chicago public schools, with a script, score, costumes and props shared across schools. Each school double-cast their production, with different actors performing the lead roles in the culminating performances. The scripts were designed to give performance opportunities to as many students as possible. The instruction was provided by talented young singers who worked in collaboration with the classroom teachers at each school. Visiting artists from the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) added composition and design elements during a total of two visits per each of the five schools.

Partnership Organizations:

Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key Elements:

Teaching opera as a multi-media art form. CAPE pointed out that as well received the Opera for All program has been by both teachers and students in participating schools, having singers as the only type of teaching artists fails to represent the richness and complexity of opera as an art form. As a result, CAPE identified artists of several different disciplines who could collaborate with the students, singers and the classroom teachers to present a more comprehensive and authentic encounter with opera. This team included a musician who would teach composing to the students, a theater artist who would teach blocking and characterization, a sculptor to design innovative props and costume pieces with the students, a videographer to design projections with the students, a 2-D visual artist to work on set design elements, and a photographer to work on documentation. Each of 5 participating schools worked with singers and one member of the CAPE team to create design elementsused across all 5 schools. During the 2009-2010 school year, the students created student versions of Giasone, the thrilling story of Jason and the Argonauts. The CAPE artists worked with the students to create monster projections, harpy wings, fire breathing bull costumes, and “hero” music.

Raising the bar for aesthetic daring As COT prides itself on being “opera less ordinary” – performing contemporary and overlooked works from the classical repertory–COT challenged CAPE to provide its most experienced, cutting-edge artists as partners in the COT/CAPE collaboration.

Raising public awareness about innovations in opera education As COT provides a wide range of public forums, lectures, and seminars exploring its main-stage productions, COT sought to create an equally compelling series of public forums, lectures, and seminars exploring its education programs. This required rich and rigorous documentation of the COT/CAPE collaboration, professional development for teacher and artist presenters, and planning and collaboration with opera and education experts in designing an exemplary lecture/demonstration workshop for the public as a model for future programming.

Hickory Hills Elementary Arts Academy (Marietta, GA)

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2010

Download School Project Report: 2010

Project Background:

A neighborhood school for 50 years that has recently been remodeled to serve as an Integrated Arts School for the Marietta School System.   The school provides Kindergarten through fifth grade students a comprehensive, standards-based academic program that incorporates the arts as a way to enhance students’ academic achievement; and likewise, the entire staff provides integrated arts instruction on a weekly basis.

The transition from a traditional elementary school to an arts academy initially fueled interest in arts integration teaching and learning. The dramatic change in the student population prompted by the changing community demographics and the change to a charter school provided strong incentive for instructional change. The transition to an arts academy also prompted personnel changes as faculty and instructional leaders decided about appropriate “fit” for faculty members in this new instructional environment. Traditional instructional approaches were not effective or appropriate for the changing student population; thus, arts integration was explored as a best practice that might effectively meet the needs of a “new” Hickory Hills.

Partnership Organizations:

ArtsNOW
Auburn Elementary School
Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key Research Considerations:

  1. Continuing to insure that all teachers are using best practices consistently;
  2. Encouraging and facilitating increased collaboration between all teachers (including music specialist, other arts specialists, and classroom teachers);
  3. Addressing the needs of, and providing engaging instruction for, all student populations (particularly ELL);
  4. Moving school culture beyond “status quo” to one that embraces continuous improvement; and
  5. Invigorating teacher comfort with and commitment to investigation, research, and authentic assessment.

Conservatory Lab Charter School (Boston, MA)

Download Case Study School Reports: 2003 (JLTM II), 2007 (JMIE)

Project Background:

Boston public school in need of stability due to funding, building operations, transient students, and administrative leadership creates partnership with New England Conservatory’s Research Center and establishes prototypical standards for the RUBRICS CUBE assessment system.  Generative models for MLL curriculum development, teaching practices, student work documentation, and teacher professional development take root in the context of NEC’s MIE Guided Internship Program and Research Center.

Placing music at the center of the curriculum and professional development produces evidence of substantial academic improvement linked with growing excellence in music and leads to the formation of the Music-in-Education National Consortium in 2002 and its Learning Laboratory School Network in 2005.

Partnership Organizations:

New England Conservatory (NEC)

Key Elements:

The Five Processes Framework and Shared Fundamental Concepts: School adopts the Five Fundamental Processes (Listening, Creating, Performing, Inquiring, and Reflecting) intrinsic to fully engaged learning in music and any other subject area.  Interdisciplinary Lessons are designed to help students understand (1) fundamental concepts shared between music and language, math, science, history, movement, visual art, social-emotional development, and technology, and (2) key interdisciplinary features shared among all disciplines including:  Shared Concepts (proportion, sequence, part-whole relationships, symmetry), Shared Strategies (sorting, counting, collaboration, decoding, systems thinking), Shared Contexts (historical periods, cultural perspectives), Shared Representations (graphs, words, notations), and Shared Assessment Devices (performance assessment, tests, portfolios, rubrics).

The Teacher Portfolio: Classroom teacher and music specialist Teacher Portfolios become tools for practitioner-based action research.  With professional development support, teachers develop and revise their portfolios, which become rich descriptions of the individual teacher’s interpretation of work, questions, and issues raised throughout the year.  Teachers report enhanced engagement with their more active teaching practices and thus enhanced, ‘hands-on’ student understanding of music and its connection to other academic classes.

The Student Portfolio: Student Portfolio System provides evidence of learning from multiple sources and thus a validation of the essence of the school’s mission in public education.  Based on rigorous standards of data collection and annotation and multiple rubrics for various categories of student progress and content-based learning, the portfolio process provides a close-up view of how music enhances learning across the curriculum.  Teachers gather student work to provide evidence of Engagement; Progress over Time; Achievement of High Standards of academic, social-emotional and musical development; High Standards of Interdisciplinary Learning; and Five Processes Learning.

Music and Math: The study of rhythm music notation provides an alternative symbol system for understanding fundamental concepts of duration, proportion, ratio, and fractions.  Student work samples show evidence of student learning in both music and math.

Music and Language Arts: Teaching for Learning Transfer strategies provide multiple strands of evidence of music-integrated learning.  E.g., one lesson focuses on the process-rich investigation of ‘main idea and supporting details’ in language arts and music and provides evidence of causal links between the two disciplines.

Data Analysis: Student academic, music, and music-integrated learning outcomes are analyzed, displayed, and employed to further the institutional advancement of the laboratory school and contribute to research in the field of Music-in-Education.  Data show a strong correlation between academic and music learning over time within the context of music-integrated instruction.

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Beaumont & Empresa Elementary Schools/Music Ventures Program (Vista, CA)

Download Project Research Report: 2007 Integrated Teaching and Learning Case Study

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2006 (Empresa)

Project Background:

Public school music specialist at a K-8 magnet arts school and an elementary school that is challenged to improve its language literacy program partner with the MIENC to investigate how instruction and teacher professional development designed to integrate the development of both music and linguistic literacy skills would benefit student learning. Consortium member from 2005-2007.

Partnership Organizations:

Center for Music-in-Education (CMIE)

New England Conservatory (NEC)

Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key Elements:

Introduction of a Music and Language Literacy Integrated Curriculum emphasizing teaching for transfer strategies.

Professional Development: Project emphasizes the quality of ongoing teacher training to address (1) the school’s need to reinforce language literacy skill development for both English Only students and English Language Learners and (2) the school’s desire to provide access to formal musical instruction.

Research Findings: A detailed examination of the Music Ventures project indicates that statistically significant, positive links between music and language reading and writing skills exist at the early stages of literacy development, and that these links strengthen considerably, especially with ELL students, as teachers are trained to support music and language-integrated reading and writing instruction through ‘teaching for transfer’ strategies in their classrooms.  In this way music reading and writing become an essential tool for creating a broader and deeper understanding of general symbolic skill development.

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Walt Disney School (Chicago, IL)

Download School Project Report: 2008

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2007

Project Background:

Chicago Fine Arts Magnet School with student body that is diverse and predominantly low-income uses digital music and reading technology to examine to what extent music literacy impacts or predicts success in language literacy achievement.  Researchers examine the impact of music instruction coupled with Fast ForWord program instruction on literacy development (music and language arts) and the impact of music instruction coupled with Fast ForWord instruction as it relates to auditory processing and cognitive development. Consortium member from 2006-2008.

Partnership Organizations:

Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Kensington-Parkwood Elementary (Baltimore, MD)

Download School Project Report: 2008

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2007

View Music Learning Leadership Team Planning Digital Portfolio: 2009

Project Background:

Arts integration Model School, wanting to be more proficient in music integration, seeks out partnerships with higher education and arts organizations, target professional development, and make a commitment to develop, document, and disseminate multiple instructional and assessment strategies. Consortium Member from 2005-2009.

Partnership Organizations:

Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance (AEMS)

Towson University

Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key Elements:

Integrating Music and Writing:  Students listen to a piece of music several times and each time generate a list of ten words or phrases that describe either the music or something it brought to mind, then write a story using as many of the descriptive words and phrases from their lists as possible.  Students’ ability to use descriptive words improves dramatically. The success is most obvious with previously reluctant writers.

Music and History:  “Follow the Drinking Gourd”: Students research the history, music, and symbolism of the Underground Railroad in order to compose their own spirituals, create story boards in the style of Jacob Lawrence, and write historical fiction.  Students’ ability to match emphasized lyrics to the strong beats and rhythms to lyrics improves.  They also improve their use of proper musical notation to write their melodies.

Rhythm and Poetry: A project designed to improve reading fluency with a group of fifth grade students with reading difficulties by performing drum rhythms.  Project also seeks to improve the students’ self esteem through the composition and performance of the students’ original compositions and to see if this new learning would transfer to other classes.  By-product of project is greater teacher communication and mutual understanding.

Auburn Elementary School (Auburn, GA)

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2010

View Music Learning Leadership Team Planning Process Digital Portfolio: 2010

Download School Project Report: 2010

Project Background:

The partnership between ArtsNOW and Auburn Elementary began in 2008 as Auburn sought to utilize the arts as a way to improve instruction cross-curricularly. Additionally, Auburn was seeking to establish meaningful, consistent collaboration between teachers and to improve student behavior. Central to this change was the belief that arts integration throughout the curriculum would engage and motivate students and teachers, thereby enhancing instruction, improving student achievement, and improving student and teacher attitudes.

While the focus of the ArtsNOW/Auburn partnership has been (and continues to be) multi-arts integration in grades K-5 across the curriculum, the intent of the MIENC project is to discern, define, design, and assess specific instructional strategies that focus on music plus music integration as a way of positively impacting language arts literacy in grade 1.

Partnership Organizations:

ArtsNOW
Barrow County Public Schools
Hickory Hills Elementary School
Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key Research Considerations:

  1. Reinvigorating the professional culture, thereby allowing more communication, collaboration, engagement and respect among teachers;
  2. Developing increased understanding of and respect for music specialists (and other arts specialists);
  3. Developing increased understanding of and commitment to the power of Music PLUS Music Integration (M+MI) instruction throughout the school;
  4. Addressing the needs of, and providing engaging instruction for, all students consistently;
  5. Moving school culture beyond “status quo” to one that embraces continuous improvement; and
  6. Invigorating teacher comfort with and commitment to investigation, research, and authentic assessment.

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Amphitheater School District, Walker Elementary (Tucson, AZ)

Download School Project Reports: 2009, 2010

View School Project Digital Portfolio: 2010

View Music Learning Leadership Team Planning Digital Portfolio: 2010

Project Background:

Urban K-5 school seeks to provide students with a wider range of educational experiences and contexts that help create relevance, emphasize 21st century skills, and teach state standards and school curriculum in a manner that is engaging and lends itself to different learning styles.  With teaching Artist Carroll Rinehart, students create an opera integrating the learning of reading, comprehension, fluency, writing and content areas. Joined the Consortium in 2008.

Partnership Organizations:

Amphitheater School District

New England Conservatory (NEC)

Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key elements:

Creating Opera and its Impact on Academics and Learning: In 50-minute lessons once per week over 6 weeks, the teaching artist works with cohorts of classroom teachers to facilitate the students’ development of literary story elements in an opera format.  Students write, compose, choreograph, perform and evaluate every aspect of these projects.  Researchers use the Rinehart Learning Factors to identify and measure how music integration affects academics and learning.  Students show greater enthusiasm and energy and appear to make more connections to the rhythm of reading.

Atrium School (Watertown, MA)

Download School Project Report: 2009
View School Project Digital Portfolios: 2008, 2009, 2010
View Music Learning Leadership Team Planning Process Digital Portfolio: 2010

Project Background:

Progressive Pre K-6 school that values students’ social development as much as their cognitive and academic growth commits to M+MI practices as its principal music program strategy.  The school adopts the Music Literacy Skills Test and portfolio assessments as evidence of student learning.  Atrium’s music specialists form collaborative partnerships with classroom teachers and administrators and design and implement engaging, integrated music curricula that support other academic areas.

Partnership Organizations

New England Conservatory (NEC)
Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Key elements:

Violin program modeled on ‘Suzuki’-style instruction (Grades 2-3):  All 17 2nd and 3rd grade students are studying violin using music-integrated approaches:  decoding and reading alternative music notation via music-math matrices; developing self-awareness and an Artist-Teacher-Scholar persona through reflective writing and portfolio assessments; composing melodies and counter melodies using various rhythms, in accordance with harmonic structure and song form; developing awareness of song form through shared fundamental concepts such as symmetry, proportion, and pattern.  The violin program uses the same vocabulary and shared methods with the General Music (Grades Pre K-6) and Choral (Grades 4-6) programs.

The Atrium Children’s Opera:  In this after school project, grades 4-6 students are involved in all aspects of the opera creation from story development, music composition, and libretto writing, to opera performance, including designing and creating sets, props, costumes, and choreographing and staging movement.

Guided Interns: In addition to working with MIENC M+MI instructors, students are also mentored by guided interns from the New England Conservatory MIE Concentration and the NEC Opera Department.

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P.S. 10 (New York, NY)

Download School Project Report: 2009
View School Project Digital Portfolios: 2007, 2009
View Music Learning Leadership Team Planning Process Digital Portfolio: 2009

Project Background:

A Magnet School of Math, Science, and Technology in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera Guild engages in a school-wide MIE-focused examination of arts-infused teaching practice: the school’s K-5 curriculum maps in ELA, math, and social studies as well as partnership collaborations with other schools.

Partnership Organizations:

Metropolitan Opera Guild (MOG)
New England Conservatory (NEC)
Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)

Curriculum/Content Focus by Grade:

Pre-Kindergarten: Exploring storytelling through dramatic play and music

Kindergarten: Story and Song:  Language Acquisition through movement, music, and writing (retelling focus): Guided by a classroom teacher and a partnering artist, students create a short musical drama about ocean life.  Students create character studies by using descriptive adjectives, develop a storyline, a simple libretto, and a soundscape to apply to the libretto.  Additionally, students revise the libretto with movement in mind—physically showing or doing what was written out in the libretto.  In the early stages of composition, student suggestions and response are random, with little connection to character, emotion or setting.  As more work with soundscape is completed, students are able to connect musical/sound concepts to character with more ease.

1st Grade: Story and Song: Language Acquisition through movement, music, and writing (interpretation focus)

2nd Grade: Creating Opera to investigate Social Studies – The History of Jazz in NYC:

Students create character profiles based on their interpretation of a painting.  After determining who is portrayed in the painting, they create their own plot by pinpointing events in beginning, middle, and end of story.  From the beginning, middle, and end events they create a short libretto which they set to music.  Students’ musical language used to describe the characters becomes richer, more descriptive, and more imaginative.  Students also are able to describe the setting using music vocabulary.  Class also makes social-emotional gains in self-confidence, motivation, and ownership of work.

3rd Grade:  Investigating and comparing cultures through music and movement:

4th Grade: American History and Songwriting: Exploring Character: Students create original works of poetry based on historical events they are studying in conjunction with Social Studies.  After taking part in a writer’s workshop unit on poetry revision and editing, students then set their poems to music.  Using a number system to denote the major scale, students experiment with melodic shape to find the sequence of notes that best fit the mood and intent of the poetry.  The integration and use of music not only encourages students to think and consider elements of text at a deeper level, but also allows the students to layer multiple creative processes on one another, resulting in a meaningful experience where nearly all students are engaged and interested in the work.

5th Grade (Research and Professional Development Opera Institute):  Focusing on character and interpretation of point of view through elements of opera

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