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Unit 2 - Introduction to Fundamental Skills

Unit 2 - Introduction to Fundamental Skills

   First Six Weeks

Stage 1 Desired Results

Introduction to Fundamental Skills
Transfer Goals: Students will be able to independently use their learning to...

Describe and analyze music and musical sound. Demonstrate fundamental skills
appropriate for a developing young musician
Demonstrate musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument, alone and in groups,
performing a variety of unison, homophonic, and polyphonic repertoire. Make music at an
appropriate level of difficulty and perform in a variety of genres from notation and by memory.
Understandings: Students will understand that...
Adopting preventative habits reduces the likelihood of injury and damage during music-
Proper development of fundamental skills are crucial to a quality performance.
To express their musical ideas, musicians analyze, evaluate, and refine their performance
over time through openness to new ideas, persistence, and the application of appropriate
Essential Questions: Students will keep considering...
Why is proper technique important?
Can a musician be successful with bad technique?
How do musicians improve the quality of their performance?
Why is it important to be able to read music independently without help?
Why is rhythmic counting important to musical performance?
Knowledge: Students will know...
Names of the open strings
Musical alphabet
Notes on the lines and spaces
Elements of a measure
Time Signature
Bar Line
Double Bar
Skills: Students will be able to...

Stand and sit with a lengthened, balanced, and centered posture.

Support their instrument without tension.
Perform pizzicato with a clear and resonant tone.
Count simple rhythms with quarter note/rest values.
Sing tonal patterns on nuetral syllables.
Pre-Requisite Skills

Students should have a basic understanding of rhythmic values.

English Language Proficiency Standards:

1C: Use techniques to learn new vocabulary

1F: Use accessible language to learn new language
2B: Recognize English sound system in new vocabulary
2H: Understand implicit ideas and information
2I: Demonstrate listening comprehension
3F: Ask and give information using high-frequency and content area vocabulary
4C: Develop sight vocabulary and language structures
4H: Read silently with comprehension
4I: Show comprehension through basic reading skills
4K: Show comprehension through analytical skills
5B: Write using newly acquired vocabulary

Stage 2 Assessment Evidence

Students will show their learning by...
Performance Tasks:

Competing with peers in pizzicato contests.

Reading musical examples when they begin to perform simple songs.
Counting and clapping rhythms out loud.
Ongoing Formative Assessment:
The director actively monitors student posture and position and corrects as needed.

The director leads an informal group discussion and inquiry question and answer on
music notation.

The director checks individual students' ability to match pitch in aural skills.

Other Evidence:
Director-made rhythm worksheets where students write in the counts or notate
Students take dictations starting with open strings.

Stage 3 Learning Plan

Executive Skills and Knowledge
Body Format:
Establish Basic Posture and Playing Position


The teacher will demonstrate correct playing posture.

Sequence of Activities:
Standing Posture
Standing tall, students stand with arms hanging normally at their
sides, one foot under each shoulder, and weight balanced on both feet.
The left foot may be slightly forward and turned a little to the left.
Students should practice shifting weight from one foot to the other and
then coming back to a centered standing position, so they understand
what a balanced position feels like.
Sitting Posture
Sit forward on edge of chair
Place feet slightly apart on floor
Student body should be balanced and ready to stand without moving
feet or sliding forward in chair
Violin & Viola Playing Posture (Should begin standing)
Student body should be balanced
A two-handed hold is preferable when learning how to place the
instrument in playing position. The left hand holds the instrument by the
left upper bout (with the instrument facing away from the player) and the
right hand holds the instrument on the right lower bout.
The instrument is raised above the shoulder and lowered into position
(this helps establish a balanced and level hold)
The end button is aimed toward the throat.
The instrument is balanced between the left collarbone and the base
knuckle of the left hand.
Place scroll at approximate 45 degree angle from imaginary lines
drawn out from the nose and left ear (when facing forward)
Indicators of success:
Posture is lengthened, balanced, centered, and not posed or
The student should be relaxed and able to move from side to
The left thumb rests gently on the side of the neck
There should be an open space under the instrument neck
between the thumb and the base of the first finger knuckle
The instrument is parallel to the floor or the scroll is even with
the chin height
The head is turned slightly to the left so the jawbone rests gently
on the chinrest
A chinrest or sponge must be used to provide adequate support
Students should be able to move their head and maintain a
relaxed position
The left arm should be under the violin and able to move easily
The left elbow is approximately under the fingerboard
The left wrist should be straight
Cello Playing Posture
Pull the endpin out, adjusting the length so the back of the scroll of the
cello is as high as the nose when standing (this position may range from
the chin to the nose, depending on the height of the student)
Once the student is seated, the cello should be held away from the
body, using both hands, placed on the upper bouts (shoulders) of the
Using both hands, bring the cello back into playing position
The upper back right edge of the cello rests on the body around the
lower 1/3 of the sternum (breastbone)
The endpin height allows the cello to be angled 55-65 degrees. Adjust
the endpin as necessary.
The C-peg is behind the left ear. For tall students this may be a
problem, so the vertical angle of the cello may need to be adjusted by
using a longer endpin or moving the neck slightly away from the head.
The inside of both knees gently touch the sides of the cello below the
Indicators of success:
Posture is lengthened, balanced, centered, and not posed or
The student should be relaxed and able to move from side to
The left arm is extended straight out and hand forms a relaxed
"C" with hand and thumb curved.
The left elbow bends and brings the left handand aligns fingers
with first position.
The left wrist should be relaxed and aligned, not arched or
curved backwards.
The pad of the left thumb rests behind the neck under the
second finger.
Students should be able to support the cello without using the
hands or arms.
Bass Playing Posture - Standing
Adjust the endpin so the nut is between the forhead and the top of the
head while standing.
Stand with one foot under each shoulder and weight balanced on both
Using both hands, place bass at arm's length away from the bass
placing the endpin in front of the left foot. Turn the bass slightly to the
right so the back right edge is facing the stomach.
Bring the left foot forward and the bass toward the body touching the
left side of the stomach.
Bass Playing Posture - Sitting
Use a good quality commercial adjustable stool or a standard padded
kitchen stool. The height of the stool should be adjusted so that the
student can comfortably reach the floor with the heel of the right foot
while having a slight bend in the right knee and the left foot can rest on
the rung.
Adjust the endpin so the nut is between the forehead and the top of
the head while standing.
Sit on the front edge of the stool with the right foot on the floor.
The left foot should be placed on a rung of the stool, approximately 8-
10 inches off the floor, depending on the size ofthe student. THe legs
and knees are far enough apart to accomodate the width of the bass.
Using both hands, place the bass at arm's length with the endpin in
front of the left foot. Turn the bass to the student's right so the back right
edge is facing the stomach.
Bring the bass toward the body so the edge touches the left side of
the stomach and the back rests against the inside of the left leg.
Indicators of success:
The neck ofthe bass should be close to the neck of the student
The palm of the right hand should be able to reach the bowing
area of the strings.
The instrument can be balanced without hands.
The left arm is extended straight out and the hand forms a
relaxed "C" with the hand and thumb curved.
The left elbow bends and brings the left hand and aligns fingers
with first position
The left wrist should be relaxed and aligned, not arched or
curved backwards.
The pad of the left thumb rests behin the neck under the second
  Right Hand Skills and Knowledge:  
Proper Pizzicato Technique
Students must have instruments placed in the correct position. The
director will demonstrate proper pizzicato technique.
Sequence of Activities:
Violin and Viola
Shake right hand out to relieve tension.
Using right hand, form a gentle fist. Raise the thumb so it points
Bring thumb to the fingerboard on the high-string side and place
the tip under the edge of the right side of the fingerboard,
approximately 1" from the end.
Using the fatty pad of the index finger, gently pull the string to the
Cello and Bass
Shake right hand out to relieve tension.
Turn (pronate) the right hand (like emptying a glass of water) so
that the index finger is closest to the ground.
Bring thumb to the fingerboard on the low-string side and place
the tip on the edge of the right side of the fingerboard, approximately
8-10 inches from the lower end of the fingerboard.
Using the fatty pad of the index finger, gently pull the string to the
Additional Information:
The shape of the right arm and hand should be curved and
relaxed; this assists in preparation of the arm mechanism (musles
and movement) for initial bowing activities.

Musicianship Skills and Knowledge

Tonal Aural Skills & Ear Training:
Introduction to Aural Skills

The director should introduce singing immediately. The director may

come up with their own tonal patterns to sing, use method books, or
reference the examples in the unit resources.
Sequence of Activities:
Students echo simple tonal (major and minor) patterns on a nuetral
Students sing simple folk songs in major and minor tonalities; both
melody and bass line should be taught. The bass line is particularly
important in helping students develop a sense of tonality and harmony. 
Students altar folk songs in major tonality into minor and vice versa.
Students improvise basic melodic patterns (i.e. single-note, 2 or 3 notes,
or longer melodies)
Students sing open strings before playing and while playing.
Rhythmic Skills:
Counting simple rhythms with quarter note/rest values
The director should explain how rhythms are counted using the
Eastman Counting System. Examples should begin at a basic level with
students counting in 4/4 time. Students should be taught that each
measure is counted starting with 1.  
Sequence of Activities:
Students can practice counting examples from a variety of sources such
as their method book examples, rhythm cards, Smart Music examples,
RhythmBee, Sight Reading Factory, and teacher created materials.
Students should be able to:
Find the pulse/beat by listening to musical recordings
toe-tap, clap, sing or count note values orally
write simple rhythms dictated by the teacher
compose their own simple rhythmic patterns
match the sound or sight of a metronome to practice and check
the accuracy of their steady beat
clap and count basic rhythmic patterns daily

Music Literacy:
Introduction to Music Notation 
The director will develop a lesson on how to introduce musical notation
and counting to the class.
Sequence of Activities:  
Students can be introduced to musical notation through examples in
their method book, flip-charts, or any other teacher created materials. The
teacher should discuss the following music symbols:
Time Signature
Bar Line
Double Bar
Staff (line notes and space notes)
Musical Alphabet
Note and Rest Values
Students will practice identifying musical notation through teacher
questioning and reading musical examples.
Students could also practice rhythms by writing rhythm trees to better
understand the fractional relationship between notes/rests. The teacher could
write notes and rest patterns on the board for the students to identify.

Ensemble Skills:
Performing open strings by rote
The director should have open string musical examples planned for
student practice. These examples could be in the student method book or
consist of items created by the director.
Sequence of Activities:   

Recite the names of the open strings. Students should understand that
all of the string instruments have G-D-A strings. The cellos/violas have a C
string and the violins/basses have and E string.
Sing or play simple 4 beat patterns with subdivsions; Students echo
patterns by singing and playing pizzicato or arco with the subdivisions. This
will allow students to start internalizing pulse and not rush the pizzicato.
Students can be directed to count and say note names out loud.
Students could demonstrate the rise and fall of pitch with hand signs.
Let open string echoes become a part of the daily warm up routine.
Students should be heard individually or in small groups for


Set clear expectations regarding entering and exiting the rehearsal area-orderly
behavior is essential
Check daily to see if students have proper equipment
rock stop
shoulder rest
Tune the D and A strings every class period
Check the tension of all strings to maintain appropriate instrument set-up
Have a regular tuning method so students know what to expect each class.  Some
examples include:
walk to each student and tune pizzicato by matching reference pitch
walk around the room and tune pizzicato as students play along with A and D
exercises on CD, this allows students to warm-up as the teacher tunes (use A
and D notes from pieces on CD as reference pitches)
stand at the front of the class and have students line up with instruments to
be tuned
tune student instruments as students play open A with bow
Warm-ups should be utilized in the orchestral rehearsal.  Here is an example of an
appropriate warm-up: 
Aural Skills- open string pizzicato
D major scale pizzicato
Be cautious that music stands are not barriers between you and the students during
this crucial time of producing good technique and quality tone
Constantly check and reinforce posture- proper instrument, bow hold, hand, and finger
Ensure each new skill is developed upon the previous skill
Address intonation and tone production daily
The quality of your demonstration or modeling directly impacts what the student will
When creating the calendar for the school year- plan for events
Required:  winter and spring concerts and a beginner contest/festival
Suggested:  trip to Bass Hall, community concert, instrumental music events

Orchestra Director Administrative Tasks

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FWISD Learning Model

Technology SAMR

Culturally Responsive Instruction

Culture is central to learning. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving
information, but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. A pedagogy that
acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures offers full, equitable access to
education for students from all cultures.Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that
recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning.

As you prepare to deliver any lesson, strive to:

1. Maintain Positive Perspectives on Parents and Families

Seek to understand parents' hopes, concerns and suggestions

Keep parents apprised of events in their home language
Gain cross-cultural skills necessary for successful exchange and collaboration
"Whether it’s an informal chat as the parent brings the child to school, or in phone conversation
or home visits, or through newsletters sent home, teachers can begin a dialogue with family
members that can result in learning about each of the families through genuine
-- Sonia Nieto
2. Communicate High Expectations
Communicate Clear Expectations
Create an environment in which there is genuine respect for students and a belief in
their capability
"When a teacher expresses sympathy over failure, lavishes praise for completing a simple task,
or offers unsolicited help, the teacher may send unintended messages of low expectations."
-- Kathleen Serverian-Wilmeth
3. Allow Learning Within the Context of Culture
Vary Teaching Strategies
Bridge cultural differences through effective communication
"The increasing diversity in our schools, the ongoing demographic changes across the nation
and the movement towards globalization dictate that we develop a more in-depth
understanding of culture if we want to bring about true understanding among diverse

-- Maria Wilson-Portuondo
4. Focus on Student-Centered Instruction
Promote student engagement
Share responsibility of instruction
Create inquiry based/discovery oriented curriculum
Encourage a community of learners
"In our multicultural society, culturally responsive teaching reflects democracy at its highest
level. [It] means doing whatever it takes to ensure that every child is achieving and ever moving
toward realizing her or his potential."
--Joyce Taylor-Gibson 
5. Use Culturally Mediated Instruction
Research students' experiences with learning and teaching styles
Devise and implement different ways for students to be successful in achieving
developmental milestones
Create an environment that encourages and embraces culture
"Ongoing multicultural activities within the classroom setting engender a natural awareness of
cultural history, values and contributions."

-- Kathleen Serverian-Wilmeth 
6. Reshape Curriculum
Use resources other than textbooks for study
Develop learning activities that are more reflective of students' backgrounds
Develop integrated units around universal themes
The curriculum should be integrated, interdisciplinary, meaningful, and student-centered. It should
include issues and topics related to the students' background and culture.

7. Teacher as a Facilitator
Learn about students' cultures
Vary teaching approaches to accommodate diverse learning styles and language
Utilize various resources in the students' communities
Teachers should develop a learning environment that is relevant to and reflective of their students'
social, cultural, and linguistic experiences. They act as guides, mediators, consultants, instructors,
and advocates for the students, helping to effectively connect their culturally- and community-based
knowledge to the classroom learning experiences.