Music FUNdations is a band book that was expedited during the Covid-19 Shutdown in March of 2020. The two writers, Scott Lang and Robert Sheldon, had been working on a band activity book that infused Social-Emotional Learning Lessons. These lessons cover a huge rainbow of topics but are all told through characters in their own words through out each book. Through out my years at Pleasant View and 19 years in teaching, I have worked with many kids. My goals have always been for students to learn how to be GREAT young people, play their instruments, and know how to enjoy playing their instrument for their entire lives. This book is a great step in creating that atmosphere with our PV Families. I would like nothing more than to be the teacher that helps them along this path through this book.
The following is an excerpt taken from the writers of the book:
The book’s five chapters are sequentially built to address the five elements of social-emotional learning. The curricula starts with self-awareness and progress through units on self- management, social awareness, relationship skills, and decision making. All SEL elements are woven into the music so teachers can provide real-life skills while developing real musical skills.
Real Characters, Representing Real Diversity, Solving Real Problems
Our nine characters (Brayden, Mada, Evan, Elisa, Aiko, Miguel, Tanisha, Amir, and Rexi the dog) represent different ethnicities, nationalities and personalities. Each character speaks to their unique challenges (Asperger syndrome, paraplegia, struggles with learning) in a meaningful way that speaks to diversity, empathy, and acceptance.
As a part of this book, students will explore musical styles, improvisation, conducting, arranging, and so much more. Students receive a more complete and holistic look at what music is and how they can do really big things even as a beginning. As the book progresses, single line exercises become duets, trios, quartets, and small ensembles. The parts (A, B, C, D) provide for layered instruction with increasing difficulty. Students can be met and challenged at their individual level inside a group setting. Directors can assign parts with skill sets in mind or randomly to keep it fresh and fun.
The book encourages meaningful engagement with parents, on a musical and personal level. Practice records are replaced with conversation starters, performance opportunities, and familial interaction. Parents will see their child growing as a musician and a person right before their very eyes.
Learning How to Learn
Early in the book, students establish a code of conduct and make decisions as a group about acceptable and unacceptable behavior. We even provide a leadership application and a list of potential jobs. More importantly, we give the students a variety of ways to play and rehearse (pad slapping, buzzing, bopping, clapping, counting, air-banding, etc…) that provide YOU with a variety of teaching tools, and THEM ways to keep band fun and fresh.
- Need Represented: The need represented by my project is the social-emotional health of our students. In the middle school years I feel like students need guidance in this area more than ever.
- Academic Impact: It is always my goal in teaching to make students confident about themselves and their abilities. Many times students need an extra push of positivity through out their day to know they are fully capable of great things. This book would be a way for us to openly communicate about their needs, goals, and ways to be a confident middle school student. This confidence and strength would help them in ALL of their classes academically.
- Student Population: Our student population is a mix of all socioeconomic levels and academic levels. We have around 364 students and around 49% of those are on Free/Reduced Lunch. We have students who are in great need of help in ALL areas and students who just need a little encouragement to do great things. I have found that our students need more than ever a stable adult who cares for them and can give them the compassion to know how great they are. We work very hard as a building to be the Pleasant View Family that our students need.