How to Use the Curriculum
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Each Link Up curriculum is divided into five sections:
1. Concert Repertoire includes the music your students should be prepared to play or sing at the culminating concert, as well as performance assessments.
2. Repertoire Exploration includes hands-on activities for deeper exploration of the musical concepts represented in each work, as well as information about each of the composers.
3. Instrument Families includes lessons and activities to help your students learn more about the orchestra, the role of the conductor, and the instrument families.
4. Concert Experience includes lessons and activities to help your students prepare for and reflect on the culminating concert.
5. Additional Information includes indexes for sheet music, audio tracks, videos, and student activities, as well as supporting resources and standards and acknowledgements.
Each lesson begins with an aim, a summary of educational goals, music learning standards addressed, vocabulary, and any additional materials required, if applicable. Directions are bulleted and verbal prompts appear in italics.
Fundamental Music Skill Resources
Link Up is designed as a supplementary music resource and is not intended to be a recorder method curriculum. Activities and warm-ups that can be used for recorder and vocal techniques, as well as introductory lessons for rhythm and melody, can be accessed in the Fundamentals section.
The units within the Repertoire Exploration section are sequential, with one unit providing the scaffolding for the next. You may complete the activities in the order that best suits your needs, depending on your goals, time with students, and student skill levels. See Pathways for Teachers for suggested program sequences.
Music Skills Assessment
The Music Skills Assessment tasks address music skills that are directly and indirectly associated with Link Up concert preparation. Selected student worksheets are included in the Concert Repertoire, Instrument Families, and Fundamentals sections. The complete Music Skills Assessment manual and audio tracks are also available in the Assessments Index.
The Link Up program addresses National Core Arts Standards for Music and Common Core State Standards, as well as benchmarks in the New York City Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Music.
Options for Teachers of Students with Special Needs
- Students can participate in Link Up in a variety of ways and may learn the works by singing, moving, and/or clapping. You may also want to focus on smaller sections of the works. Since you know your students best, allow them to participate in ways that will help them feel the most successful.
- Encourage students to engage with the music using tangible objects, such as handmade instruments (e.g., cups with beans for shakers), rhythm sticks, Orff instruments, and drums.
- Allow time for students to experience the music and repeat as often as necessary. The activities outlined in this curriculum may span more than one class period. Use one-step directions and visuals as often as possible to help students understand the concepts.
- Some visual aids are provided within the curriculum and at the Link Up concerts, but you may wish to provide additional resources to help your students engage with the material.
Pathways for Teachers
Link Up is a flexible curriculum that teachers can adapt according to the needs and levels of their students, the other curriculums being taught in their classrooms, and the amount of time they spend with students each week. The following recommended program pathways are designed to guide you through Link Up. The Basic Program Path includes the most essential elements of the program and lists the minimum requirements for successful student participation in the culminating Link Up concert. The Basic+ Program Path and Advanced Program Path add additional performance challenges and in-depth learning opportunities. We encourage you to consider all three pathways, not only for different grade levels at your school, but also to differentiate instruction within the same classroom.
Basic Program Path
(Minimum requirements for culminating concert participation)
- Link Up’s participatory repertoire invites students to sing, play a basic recorder part using only three or four notes, or perform choreography along with the selections. Choose one mode of participation for each piece of participatory repertoire that students will perform at the concert along with the orchestra.
- Introduce your students to the listening-only pieces they will hear at the concert.
- Learn about the composers featured in the Link Up repertoire using the biographies in the Repertoire Exploration section.
- Select a sampling of activities from the Repertoire Exploration section that best supports your work with your students.
- Select activities within the Instrument Families and Concert Experience sections to introduce your students to the orchestra and prepare them for the culminating concert.
Basic+ Program Path
(If you have more time and/or need additional challenges for your students)
- After students have learned to sing or play a basic part for the participatory repertoire, invite them to play or sing additional parts, including the advanced recorder parts.
- Dive deeper into the hands-on activities in the Repertoire Exploration section, which engage with fundamental musical concepts such as form, melody, rhythm, and meter.
- Guide your students through active listening to the listening-only repertoire through listening maps, creative movement, and group discussion.
- Familiarize students with the orchestra through additional activities listed in the Instrument Families section.
Advanced Program Path
(If you’ve completed everything in the Basic and Basic+ program paths)
- The Link Up curriculum includes activities that prompt students to Go Deeper or try a Creative Extension. These supplemental activities enhance students’ understanding of musical concepts and the Link Up repertoire, as well as provide opportunities for students to share their voices through composition, improvisation, and other forms of creative expression.
How to Use Soundslice
Soundslice is an interactive sheet music player with a variety of features that allow you to explore the music featured in our curriculum even further. You can see different instrument and singing parts together on the same score or toggle individual parts on and off. Other features include the option to zoom in and out, create loops in the notation with your cursor, enable keyboard visualization, and switch between recordings to synchronize with the notation. Visit Soundslice for additional tips on how to use the interactive sheet music, and use “Come to Play” below to experiment.