As a requirement for my student teaching experience, I had to create a unit plan for my emphasis, secondary choral music. Since there are no real "units" in high school choir (as repertoire is the curriculum), I decided to choose one of the pieces I was teaching and create a three lesson "unit" on the items I focused on while teaching it. This unit focuses on Randall Thompson's "Choose Something Like A Star" from Frostiana. Though there are only three lessons here, one lesson would most likely be spread out over several school periods due to time restraints. Additionally, I taught this piece to Master Singers, an advanced, auditioned choir consisting of grades ten through twelve. Due to their advanced musicianship skills, they were able to sightread this piece in my very first lesson, something that may need to be adapted for less advanced choirs; at times I had to stop to teach individual parts, but I did not include such activities in my lesson plans as their occurrence is somewhat implied. Despite the ease of learning for the notes and rhythms in this piece, the challenge lies not in the musical elements but in the relation of music to Frost's poetry.
As I reflect, I realize that teaching this piece was immensely rewarding for both my students and for me as a teacher and conductor. This piece holds a very special place in my heart, and now my deep understanding and relationship with "Choose Something..." and Frostiana has been instilled in my students. Though the role of the text in this piece is rather advanced, the comprehension of the poem provided an appropriate and gratifying challenge to my students that proved to be worthwhile.
Below is my unit
plan for this piece, complete with National Standards for Music
Education, as well as Pennsylvania Standards for the Arts and
Humanities. Beneath my lesson plan is a recording of this piece as
performed at the Master Singers spring concert on April 30th, 2014 in
State College Area High School North Auditorium.
Instructor: Alison Geesey
Unit: Randall Thompson’s “Choose Something Like A Star”
Class/Group/Grade Level: State High Master Singers (Advanced Choir, Grades 10-12)
Teacher Techniques and Strategies:
Assessment Tools and Standards
National Standards For Music Education Achieved:
1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
5. Reading and notating music.
6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.
Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Standards Achieved:
Music selections: Randall Thompson’s “Choose Something Like A Star”
Other materials: Laptop to play recording, mp3 recording (teacher’s own), speakers to play recording