Performing as an Artistic Process

My course, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, through VanderCook College of Music, is continuing to progress through the National Core Music Standards. Last week, we were looking at Creating as an Artistic Process. That blog post details a lot about what NAfME and other organizations have crafted in the new Core Arts Standards. This post is a continuation along that line focusing on Performance. This week, we were delivered the following prompt:

The reality is that the National Standards for Music Education, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards and others are "highly recommending" that music educators include the three artistic processes into the music curricula for all music students. Write a narrative explaining in detail how you plan to incorporate "Responding" into your curriculum.

I currently teach in a vertical team of five teachers across grades 6-12. We are split across three buildings: Prairie Ridge (6-7), Northview (8-9) and Centennial (10-12). Prairie Ridge has four 6th Grade Concert Bands, two 7th Grade Concert Bands, and two 7th Grade Jazz Bands with two teachers. Northview has two 8th Grade Concert Bands, one 8th Grade Jazz Band, and one 9th Grade Concert Band with one teacher. Centennial has two 10-12 concert bands and two 9-12 jazz bands with two teachers. The Centennial Marching Band and Pep Band consist of students in grades 9-12. Our vertical team co-teaches the Marching Band. My courses include Symphonic Band (10th grade concert band), Music Fundamentals (10-12 non-AP music theory), Jazz Collective (top auditioned 9-12 jazz band), Pep Band (9-12 jazz students and volunteers), and Brass Studio (individual and small-group 6-12 lessons).

Nearly all of our performances include some sort of vertical component. Below is a chart of all the performances involved for band students in our feeder system for grades 6-12. Performances listed in red involve ensembles across grade levels/buildings. These performances are typically 6-9 weeks apart except for the high school jazz and marching bands.

As a vertical team, we have taken our Power Standards listed below and identified what each of these skills looks like at each grade level. We are currently in the process of identifying what each of these skills look like on each instrument at each grade level. Because we work in a vertical team, all five of us are aware of the skill sets necessary moving in to the next grade level. The documents we maintain for these standards are shared using our district’s Google Apps accounts, so they can be viewed and edited by anyone in the team.

Power Standards

The student will be able to:

  • Rhythm/Beat Meter Competency

    • Dictate a performed rhythm (play and/or write)

    • Perform a given rhythm with characteristic tone

    • Identify a performed rhythm

    • Identify meter

    • Maintain a consistent pulse

    • Breathe in time with proper technique and in musically appropriate places in performance

  • Tonal Literacy

    • Perform a major scale with characteristic tone

    • Identify do through key signatures

    • Identify tonal center

    • Dictate a performed tonal sequence

    • Perform a tonal sequence with characteristic tone

    • Identify a performed tonal sequence

    • Identify a harmonic sequence

    • Perform a harmonic sequence with characteristic tone

  • Expression

    • Identify, label, define, and perform dynamics articulation and tempo marking

    • Make expressive decisions based on historical context, genre and style

  • Ensemble

    • Apply learned musical performance, literacy, and critical thinking skills to the music- making process with various sizes of ensembles


Burton Hable

Burton Hable is an instrumental music educator from Central Iowa. In 2013 he helped open Centennial High School in Ankeny, the first time in forty years that a school district in Iowa expanded to two high schools. He served there through 2018 as Assistant Director of Bands: conducting the 10th Grade Symphonic Band, directing the varsity Jazz Collective, co-directing the Centennial Marching and Pep Bands, teaching music theory, and providing individual and small group lessons to brass students in grades 6-12 at Prairie Ridge Middle School, Northview Middle School, and Centennial High School. During his tenure in Ankeny, enrollment in band grew from 450 to nearly 700, the jazz program expanded from four to seven ensembles, and ensembles under his direction were invited to perform at Iowa State University, Harper College, and the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.