Planning Music Curriculum to Align with TEKS

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a music teacher in Texas, you are probably required to align your curriculum with TEKS. This lesson gives you some tips for how to make sure your music curriculum works in accordance with the standards.

Why TEKS Matters for Music

Are you a teacher of music in the state of Texas? If so, then you know that you are required to meet the demands of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. These rigorous standards give you guidelines for what students are expected to know at the end of each grade level. TEKS can help you plan and organize your instruction and figure out how to sequence your curriculum across different grade levels. It is important to remember that TEKS is not there to tell you how to teach, but rather how to keep your curriculum consistent and continuous over the course of students' education. This lesson will give you some ideas of how you can plan your curriculum to align with TEKS, all the while maintaining your freedom to teach music in a way that makes sense to you and works for your specific student population.

Elementary School

In the elementary grades, the music standards focus on four basic strands:

  • Foundations and music literacy
  • Creative expression
  • Historical and cultural relevance
  • Critical evaluation and response

While you can find the specific requirements for each elementary grade level for free online, it is important to think about what these four categories mean for how you can plan your curriculum.

One way to map out your year is to divide it into quadrants. Spend one quarter of the year focusing on each domain of music instruction, regardless of which grade you are working with. For instance, spend the first part of the year focusing on music literacy. You can teach your students about different instruments, music theory, and reading and writing music, at levels appropriate for each age and to students' interest. The second part of the year can focus on creative expression, with more opportunities for students of all ages to sing and experiment with instruments, including expressing their thoughts and feelings through music. The third part of the year can be dedicated to the history of music and learning about music from a variety of different cultures, and in the last part of the year, students can listen to the music produced and written by others and learn about what it means to be a critical listener.

Middle School

TEKS for music in middle school begins slightly more complicated, in that some schools will have students taking music for all three years of middle school, while other schools will allow students to alternate among music, theater, and other fine arts. You will need to adjust your planning accordingly, since there are some students who you will only teach for one year of their middle school experience.

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