Ramsey International Fine Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN)

Download School Project Reports: 2007 (JMIE), 2009
View School Project Digital Portfolios:
2006, 2007, 2009 (2nd Grade; 4th Grade; Arts Learning Leadership; M+MI)

Project Background:

K-8 school with a long history of arts learning in a large urban school district embraces Music Plus Music Integration research practices as a strategic priority for school professional development and enhanced student leaning in music and in all disciplines. Joined the Consortium in 2005. 

Partnership Organizations:


Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA)
Learning Through Music Consulting Group (LTMCG), 2005-2009
New England Conservatory (NEC)
University of Minnesota School of Music (UMN)
Music-in-Education National Consortium (MIENC)


Key Elements:

4th Grade Opera Project: A year-long integrated project in which students create and perform an original opera based on the life of a chosen Nobel Peace Prize laureate from their social studies curriculum.  All 105 4th graders are involved in all aspects of the opera:  developing the story; composing the music; writing the libretto; choreographing the movement; designing and creating the sets, props and costumes; advertising and performing the opera; and critiquing the opera.  Students develop an authentic sense of ownership regarding both the process and the product.  The 4th grade teachers collaborate with the Fine Arts coordinator/choreographer, the general music teacher, the strings teachers, the Spanish Fine Arts Teacher, special education teachers, the visual art teacher, teaching artists, Learning Through Music consultants, and a group of music education interns from the University of Minnesota.  This opera-centered project results in improved student knowledge about:  music in general (and opera, in particular); language and music literacy skills (including composition); and the relationship of each to academic performance.

Reading to the Beat: An MIE language arts intervention for students who haven’t mastered high frequency sight words   Students participate in a drum circle to change the social dynamic and then perform words with rhythm sticks to embody word recognition.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice Project: Investigation of content and form of poetry through their connection to music, math, and language arts.

Pachelbel’s Music Matrix and Coordinate Systems: Exploration of fundamental concepts such as order, sequence, and pattern shared between reading representations of musical patterns in Pachelbel’s Canon and analyzing coordinate systems in 4th grade math.

Music Circle: The music circle project, team-taught by the classroom teacher and a music teaching artist, addresses the need for increased time on task through an understanding of musical concepts and uses these to develop a social/emotional vocabulary relevant to the context of the classroom and peer interactions.  Students learn to use the language of the musical concepts to identify and explain social situations, behavior, and classroom expectations. Teachers can then use this new vocabulary with their students to address behavioral expectations and classroom climate. At the end of the year, students perform for parents, teachers, and their peers a skit that shows the meaning of the word. Students participating in music circle are making strong gains in the externalizing and socializing behaviors.

Pre-post Assessments show correlation between music reading and academic achievement, with increasing strength over time.

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