Rock band is a nine week course designed for students who want to develop music-making skills and music literacy using primarily rock and pop music. To participate in this class, you need to talk to Mr. Whitehead and audition to become a performing member of the ensemble.
Some key takeaways from the class are that students:
- Learn new musical instruments such as guitar, electric bass, drums, and keyboards
- Explore an interest in singing with a group
- Deepen understandings of the fundamental elements of music
- Study the history and evolution of rock music
- Explore live sound reinforcement techniques
- Use popular and rock music as the springboard to group music making
How Are Students Graded? How Do I Track Individual Progress?
The question of how students in rock band are assessed has come up occasionally with parents, administrators, and other teachers. Rock band assessments are opportunities for students to showcase what they have learned in our four main foci of the course.
Rock Band focuses on these four categories:
- Elements of Music
- Instrumental/ Vocal Exploration
- Group Music Exploration
- Music Roles in Society
Within the four course categories, rock band has overarching learning targets for the semester, all of which align with district music and state/national music education standards. I use a proficiency based grading system (4 – 3 – 2 – 1) in which students are working to develop concert mastery.
In rock band, student progress is tracked through a combination of:
- Individual Progress Checks
- Performance Evaluations (occur daily and weekly in the class)
- Final concert at the end of the nine week quarter.
Courses in popular music making, specifically rock, pop, and blues, serve as a vehicle for students to learn about music. Rock band more specifically is a great way for students to have a more personalized learning experience. Students choose what, when, and how they learn. My role is to help facilitate conversations and to be a resource, mentor, and when needed, a referee.
Finally, non-traditional secondary music courses open music education to more of our students, the “other 80%” who are thirsty for school music that makes sense to them and teaches them how to make the music they listen to. By offering a music education that mirrors what students experience outside of school we can help connect the school music to adult music making experiences and bridge the gap between what is considered in and out of school music.