Typhani Harris | June 2016

Week 16: “Viewing” Music

The Art of Curriculum Design: Viewing Music

We are about 2/3 through this six month series where we have been exploring the why and how of curriculum design via an Arts Appreciation course created through an artistic collaboration.

During the current portion of the series we are looking at weekly objectives, outcomes, and assessments designed for the Arts Appreciation course. Links to the entire series can be found below. The full curriculum including daily lesson plans, handouts, and assessments will be available at the culmination of the series.


When Planning Like an Artist, everything is designed with the end performance in mind. So, as the course was designed, we remained focused on our ultimate goal or aim of the course and the final assessment/performance task; how the students are going to demonstrate the aim.

Aim: After this course it is our hope that students are able to articulate an appreciation of all art forms while defending artistic preferences.

Final Assessment/Performance Task: Students will design an arts company and create a performance season utilizing a common theme based on their personal artistic preference and present their performance season to a board in the form of a proposal for funding as a way to articulate an appreciation of all art forms.

The current portion of the Arts Appreciation course we are taking an in depth look at the viewing Music unit for the Arts Appreciation course. Through this unit, students are continuing to develop their final project which is a theme-based performance season for their arts organization.
Week 14: Introduction to Music
Week 15: The Major and Minor of Music

Week 16: Instrumental Music
At the culmination of week 16, students will be able to:

  • Apply their knowledge of viewing music vocabulary to describe musical compilations
  • Distinguish between tempo, volume, unison, consonant, dissonance, and harmony
  • Distinguish between major and minor
  • Apply the distinctions to discuss musical interpretation
  • Participate in discourse regarding how music evokes emotion

Week 16: Instrumental Viewing Music
At the culmination of week 16, students will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of how the parts of music create an overall whole
  • Determination of artist intent based on the sum of parts
  • Proper decorum for class discussion
  • Clear articulation of personal preference for viewing music
  • Determination of pieces that will fit the theme for their arts organization

Week 16: Instrumental Music
At the culmination of week 16, students will be evaluated on:

  • Discussion of viewing music, both historical and contemporary
  • Incorporation of class definition of art, personal preferences, theme, and artist intent of pieces listened to
  • Application of viewing music terminology to defense of preference, theme, and artist intent
  • Defense of personal preference and potential pieces to be included in arts organization

Series Recap

The first few weeks were devoted to the how and why of the curriculum design process.
The Art of Curriculum Design
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “Why”
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “How”

We then took a look at applying the Plan Like an Artist method of Curriculum Design to create a secondary level Arts Appreciation course.
Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist

Arts Appreciation Weeks 1-5
The first 5 weeks of the Arts Appreciation course provided the foundational information for students to participate in viewing and discussing art in preparation for building their own arts organization. Week one built a class definition of art, the second week focused on applying the class definition to artistic work, the third week helped students to identify artist intent.

Identifying the intent, defending the intent, and determining the effect of artist intent on the emotional landscape of the art as viewed by an audience and as viewed through the lens of the class definition of art. Through the viewing of controversial art, students are continuing to defend what they believe art “is” and “is not,” and acknowledging the emotion behind the art as well as identifying the artist’s intent. The fourth week concluded the foundational information students need in order to actively view art by taking a look at theme.

The ability to identify the theme behind the art will help students to create their final project. The goal of the fifth week was to start helping the students to profile their arts advocacy, by brainstorming the ways in which they want to showcase art for their final assessment. This involved composing an artist statement, determining the theme of their performance season, developing their artistic brand, and drafting the mission and vision for their arts organization.

Arts Appreciation Weeks 6-9: Theatre
The Theatre unit was divided into 4 weeks.  The first week introduces Theatre, the second week takes a look at understanding theatre through scripts and structure, the third week walks students through how to view and critique Theatre, and the final week of the Theatre unit helps students to design their Theatre portion of the performance season for their arts organization.

Arts Appreciation Weeks 10-13: Dance
The Dance unit was also divided into 4 weeks.  The first week introduces students to dance as art, the second week takes a look at the history and foundation of the oldest codified dance forms, Ballet and Modern.  The third week takes a look at the more contemporary forms of Jazz and Hip Hop.  The final week  helps students to bring all of their dance knowledge together to determine what they will include in their performance season for their arts organization.

Next Week: Week 17: Designing the Viewing Music Performance
Week 17 of the Arts Appreciation course, including lesson plan objectives, outcomes, and assessments.

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Chief Academics Officer, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.