Dear Teachers!

Welcome to the ACO Music and Art Program! I’m so excited to embark on this journey together!

In the Teacher Resources section of the website you will find an Overview of Year One with all the necessary logistical information, as well as lesson plans for each unit in three parts — an outline, my notes and ideas in more detail, and a copy of both to download for print if desired.

The best tool to listen to the musical examples is Spotify. It is free, just sign up for an account. When you open Spotify (it will run discretely in the background on your computer) all of the music files can play directly from the website.  If your school has a firewall that blocks Spotify, there are youtube links for every musical example as well.

You will begin the Year One curriculum on your own with Unit 1 Introduction Classroom Lesson.   (This is a stand alone unit/lesson.)  After Unit 1, each unit will have three parts.

  1. A video conferencing session with an ACO musician will set up the concepts for each unit
  2. Then you will go to the corresponding unit’s classroom lesson page on the website with your students to learn concepts, listen to music and look at paintings.
  3. The third part is an interactive, creative activity.

This curriculum is a guide. You can adapt it to fit your needs and can be creative in altering or expanding lessons and activities.  You do not need to have any prior experience with music or art to teach this curriculum, in fact, I have noticed that students react even more enthusiastically when they see their teachers discovering and exploring along with them. If you have time, listen to the examples on your own before each lesson and read through the In Detail document. I have tried to help by pointing things out to listen and look for, but really these are personal and you and your students will find your own responses.

A note about listening: there are many moments in this curriculum when you will ask your students to listen to music. Sometimes students will listen and draw, or listen and look, but sometimes the only activity is listening. In these moments, it is important to create the right atmosphere to listen. If possible, separate students so that they have their own private space (try to have decent speakers!) You can turn the lights off. Allow students to sit comfortably, put their head down or close their eyes.   (I like to tell students that for me listening to music is a time, especially when I was a kid, that I could be alone in my head, without grownups, in a special place all by myself, where I could think on my own). You can give them something to think about before they start to listen, and you can have a discussion afterwards, but try to make the listening process itself as uninterrupted, silent and serene as possible.

One last thing, this curriculum is a flowing work in progress and the more feedback and dialogue we (you the teachers and me and the ACO team) have, the better it will be. Please don’t hesitate to send your thoughts and questions.

Good luck and have fun!
Sharon Roffman
Principal Curriculum Developer for the Australian Chamber Orchestra