Teaching Music Digitally!
[Connections Education (800) 382-6010]

       Using a computer to teach core music concepts and cultural arts to school-age kids could evoke skepticism
. Connections Education, a fully accredited provider of high-quality, online educational solutions for students in grades K-12, partnering with the renowned Juilliard School of Music (Juilliard eLearning) prove it can be done. Together, they effectively bring music appreciation and musicianship skills to classrooms, employing sophisticated audio, visual and interactive technologies.
       Two music entries were winners in this year's
BESSIE Awards - Experiencing Music (K-2) and Living Music (grades 9-12). The online classes are designed with a comprehensive, sequenced lesson tree in the left pane which lists chapters and units. Course components appear on the right, comprised of instruction and interactive lessons. Music theory and techniques are embellished with demonstrations, recordings, and high resolution videos of performances by Juilliard faculty, students, and alumni.

Experiencing Music

        Designed for students in grades K-2, this course introduces younger students to the basic components of music - melody and rhythm. Focusing on Music Standards 1 and 2, an adult guides students as they learn to use critical listening skills to examine the one instrument people carry everywhere - the human voice (body percussion). Units include (1) Singing, Moving and Shaking (2) A Musical Adventure! (3) High, Low, Loud, Soft! (4) Sound Familiar? and learning is reinforced with a review and a test.

Living Music

      This course uses a Western classical approach to teach fundamental musicianship skills, and is aligned to national music education standards. Students in grades 9-12 explore different sections of the orchestra, and study rhythm, beat, notation, music history, improvisation and composition.
      Examples of units are: (1) Keeping Time: Understanding Rhythm (2) Keeping Score: Understanding Music Notation (3) It's All Relative: The Musical Family Tree (4) The Big Picture: Music History and Styles. In a typical lesson on
The String Family, students listen to an excerpt of the Barber of Seville. Learning is reinforced with a recap and a quiz, and units end with a review and test.
       A downloadable program,
Virtual Music Tool, accompanies the course, and contains three tools (Virtual Instrument, Digital Sampler, and Metronome) that simulate real instruments used in an orchestra (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboard).
      It is remarkable that the programs are free to qualified parties, and include books and curriculum. Optional costs can be discussed with the publisher.

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