Introduction

Welcome to the online module of the revised music Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that will guide high school music curriculum and instruction for the state of Texas.

Students may select Music Levels I, II, III, and IV or Music Studies courses to fulfill the fine arts requirement for graduation. Level numbers represent achievement levels, not grade-level classification. For example, a student in high school choir for the first time is typically enrolled in Choir I, regardless of the student's grade level. Therefore, any Music I course might have students from various grade levels. Likewise, the "top" high school band will likely have students enrolled who are in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Image of choir director and students with instruments and a microphone

 

Because students in secondary level performance classes often have differing skill and experience levels, performance expectations are individualized.

The levels of materials used in performance groups change from year to year and are also tied to the level of the course. For example, each of the four levels of choir has its own lesson plans and materials. As teachers analyze and choose literature, they consider the skills and techniques needed to build student proficiency while making selections that represent a broad range of cultures, time periods, and genres.

The following questions might be useful in selecting literature:

  • Will teachers be team teaching?
  • Do students' developmental levels vary significantly?
  • How much individualized instruction will beginners need?

Strong student achievement should always be the focus.

Finally, students and teachers will need access to digital resources and devices in most music studies courses.

Objectives

Image of a girl playing the violin in front of her laptop
By the end of this module, you will be able to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:

  • Articulate differences and similarities between the original and the revised high school music TEKS
  • Explain principles and concepts that guided the development of the revised music TEKS
  • Plan revisions of local curriculum, instructional practices, and classroom learning experiences to align with the revised music TEKS

Before you get started, take a look at the revised high school music TEKS. You may also wish to view the high school music TEKS alignment chart. This document shows how skills are scaffolded from one grade level to the next.

Please review the high school music TEKS comparison. The side‐by‐side chart shows the changes from the original high school music TEKS to the corresponding revised TEKS. You may wish to refer to this chart throughout this module.

Overview of the Revised TEKS

The revised fine arts TEKS—like the original fine arts TEKS—are divided into four basic strands.

Original TEKS Revised TEKS
  • Perception
  • Creative expression/performance
  • Historical/cultural heritage
  • Response/evaluation
  • Foundations: music literacy
  • Creative expression
  • Historical and cultural relevance
  • Critical evaluation and response
Image of drum major leading a marching band

 

The four strands provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. Each of the strands serves distinct learning purposes.

Music Strands

Foundations: music literacy
The student describes and analyzes musical sound.

This strand fosters the reading, writing, reproducing, and creating of music, thus developing a student's intellect.

Creative expression
The student performs a varied repertoire of developmentally appropriate music in informal or formal settings.

In this strand, students apply their music literacy and critical thinking skills to sing, play, read, write, and move to music.

Historical and cultural relevance
The student examines music in relation to history and cultures.

This strand consists of standards for experiencing music periods and styles in order for students to understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world. This strand includes the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and the vocational possibilities music offers.

Critical evaluation and response
The student listens to, responds to, and evaluates music and musical performances.

This strand is concerned with the critical listening that aids students in analyzing, evaluating, and responding to music in order to develop criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices.

Please review the course discovery secondary music to get an overview of how each strand is taught in Music, Level I courses, such as Band I, Choir I, Instrumental Ensemble I, Jazz Ensemble I/Jazz Improvisation I, Mariachi I, Piano I, Orchestra I, Vocal Ensemble I. Take a moment to review the chart before we discuss each strand. Keep this chart handy as you may want to refer back to it as we review each strand. You may also wish to review Level II, III, and IV courses.

Foundations: Music Literacy (Example 1)

In addition to fostering students' skills of reading, writing, reproducing, and creating music, the Foundations: music literacy strand includes new levels of rigor, higher levels of engagement, and continued progress on the New Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning. Students are also expected to apply problem‐solving skills from other disciplines to their study of music.

Foundations: music literacy

  • Reading music
  • Writing music
  • Reproducing music
  • Creating music
  • Problem solving

Image of a drumline in motion
In the original TEKS, the first strand was entitled Perception. In the revised TEKS, we have transitioned to Foundations: music literacy. This strand can be considered the "toolbox" for music students—the foundational knowledge that allows students to work with and understand many other musical concepts. It should be noted that expectations related to an ever‐increasing level of musical artistry have been removed from this strand. Those student expectations are now in the Creative expression strand. This strand is divided into two sections; the first portion is shown below.

Perception Moves to Foundations: Music Literacy

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Music, Level I (c)(1) Perception. The student describes and analyzes musical sound and demonstrates musical artistry.

Music, Level I (c)(1) Foundations: music literacy Perception. The student describes and analyzes music and musical sounds and demonstrates musical artistry. The student develops organizational skills, engages in problem solving, and explores the properties and capabilities of various musical idioms.

 

Foundations: Music Literacy (Example 2)

Image of young student with headphones, laptop, guitar, and keyboard
The second section of the Foundations: music literacy strand states that the student reads and writes music notation using an appropriate notation system. In the revised TEKS, the second and third "basic" groupings in the strands have been reversed. The second section of the revised Foundations: music literacy strand speaks directly to reading and writing music. Previously, these student expectations were covered in parts of several other strands. In the original TEKS, students were not expected to have a formal or organized way to notate music as they wrote or created that music. With many technological advancements, computerized music notation is easily accessed. However, if these technologies are not available, students are still expected to use an appropriate notation system.

Foundations: Music Literacy

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Music, Level I (c)(3) Creative expression/performance. The student reads and writes music notation.

Music, Level I (c)(2)(3) Foundations: music literacy Creative expression/performance. The student reads and writes music notation using an appropriate notation system.

 

Creative Expression (Example 1)

The second strand in the revised TEKS is Creative expression. The definition of Creative expression, directly from the introduction in the revised TEKS, states that, "Through creative expression, students apply their music literacy and the critical thinking skills of music to sing, play, read, write, and/or move." To create a more seamless lesson and to more closely reflect actual learning practices in the high school music classroom, many previous student expectations have been gathered from various locations and organized in the Creative expression strand. Some student expectations were combined or revised to be more in line with what typically occurs during classroom instruction. It should also be noted that this strand was previously titled Creative expression/performance, and now the term "performance" has been dropped. This is in direct response to the idea that certain students in certain situations may be able to demonstrate mastery of student expectations without actually "performing" music.

Image of two students playing pianos

 

In this strand, the student demonstrates musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument, both individually and in groups. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an appropriate level of difficulty. Additionally, the student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate, developing cognitive and psychomotor skills. This strand has several interesting and important additions. The issue of music selected at an "appropriate level of difficulty" gives greater flexibility to music teachers to differentiate instruction based on the skill levels of students. Additionally, the idea of performing by memory or with music is addressed here. All of this means that the teacher, when working in the area of creative expression, is encouraged to deliver instruction at an appropriate level and in an appropriate way.

Creative Expression

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Music, Level I (c)(2) Creative expression/performance. The student sings or plays an instrument, individually and in groups, performing a varied repertoire of music.

Music, Level I (c)(3)(2) Creative expression/performance. The student demonstrates musical artistry by singings or playings an instrument individually and in groups, performing a varied repertoire of music. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an appropriate level of difficulty. The student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate. The student develops cognitive and psychomotor skills.

 

Creative Expression (Example 2)

Image of a student playing the flute and reading music from a music stand
The second section of the Creative expression strand requires all skills demonstrated by the student while performing "prepared" music to also be demonstrated when sight reading. Thus, the importance of sight reading has been elevated in the revised TEKS. Further, there is a delineation of terms related to the instrumental classroom and the vocal classroom.

This second section of the student expectations emphasizes the importance of demonstrating a high level of musical skill while sight reading. Sight reading is an extremely important part of a student's overall musical skillset. This group of student expectations draws attention to this skill and reminds the student and teacher that all foundational musical concepts must not be overlooked as students sight read.

All specific student expectations listed under this section are restated from the previous Creative expression section with the assumption that the particular skill can also be demonstrated at the same level while sight reading.

Creative Expression

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Music, Level I (c)(4) Creative expression/performance. The student creates and arranges music within specified guidelines.

Music, Level I (c)(4) Creative expression/performance. The student sight reads, individually and in groups, by singing or playing an instrument. The student reads from notation at an appropriate level of difficulty in a variety of styles. The student creates and arranges music within specified guidelines.

 

Historical and Cultural Relevance

The third strand in the revised TEKS, Historical and cultural relevance, gives students opportunities to experience various musical periods and styles so they will understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world. This strand also includes building an understanding of the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and of vocational possibilities in the field of music. Texas has become one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse states in the country. Building an appreciation for cultural differences is critical for adolescents in our music classrooms. These cultural differences are very often illustrated in music. Through the study of music, students can gain greater insight into themselves and others.

The descriptions of the original Historical/cultural heritage strand changed very little in the revision to Historical and cultural relevance. However, the deeper student expectation—discussed later in this course—encourages students and teachers to take a global view of music. Increased use of technology in the classroom enables students to "look in" to many other musical cultures and creation styles. Also, music often can be used to explain historic events and societal shifts, helping students make connections to their learning in other content areas.

Image of a Mariachi band and an image of a sitar player

 

Historical and Cultural Relevance

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Music, Level I (c)(5) Historical/cultural heritage. The student relates music to history, to society, and to culture.

Music, Level I (c)(5) Historical and cultural relevance heritage. The student relates music to history, to society, and to culture, and the world.

Image (left): Elidealista via wikimedia

Critical Evaluation and Response

The fourth and final strand in the revised TEKS is Critical evaluation and response. Through critical listening, students analyze, evaluate, and respond to music, developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices. In the previous TEKS, the statement, ". . . developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices" was not present. Students are now expected to develop skills in how to listen to music and once the "how" of listening is mastered, students will be expected to process what they heard.

The descriptions of the original and revised strands are presented here. Of special note are new student expectations that address concert etiquette in multiple venues. How one listens to music varies with the genre and the setting. Students must be aware that concert etiquette when listening to a live performance of a major symphony orchestra is quite different from the etiquette when listening to the marching band at a school pep rally or a recorded performance of a rock band.

Image of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and a marching band on a football field

 

Critical Evaluation and Response

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Music, Level I (c)(6) Response/evaluation. The student responds to and evaluates music and musical performance.

Music, Level I (c)(6) Critical evaluation and Rresponse/evaluation. The student listens to, responds to, and evaluates music and musical performance in both formal and informal settings.

Image (left): Kindig, Jason. Dallas Symphony Orchestra via wikimedia

Goals of the Revised TEKS

Image of a singer recording in a studio and a xylophone player on the field
The revised TEKS for high school music address five critically important areas. First, they attempt to appeal to a broader range of musical interests, as not all high school students who are interested in music are drawn to band, choir, or orchestra. Second, they distinguish between the skills sets required for vocal music as compared to those required for instrumental music. Additionally, the newly revised TEKS encourage the development of 21st century learning skills and increase alignment with TEKS from other disciplines. The revised TEKS also create more opportunities to use technology in the music classroom and emphasize the health and well‐being of young musicians.

The revised music TEKS:

  • Appeal to a broad range of interest
  • Differentiate music disciplines from one another
  • Align with 21st century skills, career and college readiness standards, and TEKS from other disciplines
  • Create more opportunities to use technology in the music classroom
  • Emphasize health and physical well-being

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS (Scenario 1)

Image of band students playing instruments in a classroom
Let's complete a quick exercise to allow you to apply your learning from this module.

Scenario: It is the students' first day learning a new piece of music. Your students have never heard, read, rehearsed, or performed this piece. This is a piece they will perform several weeks from now at a school concert.

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

With the original TEKS, your lesson might have included these student expectations:

Music, Level I (c)

(1)(A) identify melodic and harmonic parts when listening to and/or performing music.
(2)(A) demonstrate independently and in ensembles accurate intonation and rhythm, fundamental skills, and basic performance techniques while performing moderately easy to moderately difficult literature.
(3)(A) sight-read ensemble parts.
(5)(A) listen to and classify music by style and/or by historical period; and
(6)(B) evaluate musical performances by comparing them to exemplary models.

 

Lesson Objectives:

Students will begin to understand the basic stylistic and musical components of a new piece and practice sight-reading skills.

 

Instructional Activities:

  1. Listen to a CD recording of new musical selection.
  2. Discuss the styles and important musical details.
  3. Sight read the new music.

 

Assessment:

Critical listening, teacher feedback

Music, Level I (c)

(1)(A) experience and explore exemplary musical examples using technology and available live performances.
(2)(A) read and notate music that incorporates rhythmic patterns in simple, compound, and asymmetric meters.
(3)(A) demonstrate mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre.
(4)(A) demonstrate mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre while sight reading.
(5)(A) compare and contrast music by genre, style, culture, and historical period.
(6)(B) design and apply criteria for making informed judgments regarding the quality and effectiveness of musical performances; and (D) evaluate musical performances by comparing them to exemplary models.

 

Lesson Objectives:

Students will begin to understand the basic stylistic and musical components of a new piece and practice sight-reading skills.

 

Instructional Activities:

  1. View a recorded performance of the new piece of music.
  2. Download and read program notes and music publishers' rehearsal notes.
  3. In small groups, view the performance again, identifying in the music specific observations in the notes.
  4. Evaluate differences in the various sets of notes.
  5. In a music journal, write observations about how the recorded performance and notes will effect your playing of your part.
  6. Sight read the new music.

 

Assessment:

Students self-assess and upload reflections to a web page designed to be shared with teacher and composer.

 

 

Lesson with Original TEKS: Your lesson might have included the student expectations shown above. You might have had the students listen to a recording of the work while following along on their parts, identifying the form of the work. Perhaps you may have had the students sight read the work. You might have asked the students to classify the music they heard according to the style or time period during which it was composed, or complete a short written assignment describing the quality of the performance they heard to determine if they believe they are capable of achieving this level of performance.

Lesson with Revised TEKS: Now compare the same potential lesson using the revised TEKS. What do you notice? Did you notice the greater specificity of the revised TEKS, as well as the increased rigor to the students?

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS (Scenario 2)

Image of a band director in front of students
Let's practice some real lesson plan creation. It's time to write a lesson plan, but before you begin, consider the questions below.

Scenario: It is two weeks before the big concert. Yesterday your students performed the entire piece. Today you will be listening to the concert recording during class. Using the revised TEKS, create a detailed lesson plan.

Download the interactive PDF to respond to the following questions:

  • Which of the revised TEKS will be covered in this lesson?
  • How can student engagement be measured using the revised TEKS?
  • What are some guiding questions the teacher can use to ensure learning?
  • How can the teacher assess student performance once the assignment is complete?

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS: Your Turn

Here are two student expectations from the original TEKS, Music, Level I, in the Response/evaluation strand. This might be a starting point for a lesson involving evaluation of the previous night's performance. When you have studied these student expectations from the original TEKS, take a moment to complete the lesson based on the revised TEKS.

Image of a concert band on stage
 

Evaluate Performance Recording

Lesson Plan Based on the Original TEKS:

Music, Level I (c)

(6)(A) design and apply criteria for making informed judgments regarding the quality and effectiveness of musical performances; and (B) evaluate musical performances by comparing them to exemplary models.

 

Lesson Objectives: Students will gain perspective on current performance levels by contrasting goals for future performances.

Instructional Activities: Students listen to and evaluate the previous night's recording and compare/contrast that performance with exemplary performance recordings previously heard. Students create a written plan for continued improvement.

Assessment: Critical listening, teacher feedback

Image: Lance Cpl. Brandon Suhr via wikimedia

Examples of Changes to Student Expectations

Students often look to their music teachers to provide learning in areas that are not always directly related to the pursuit of musical achievement. This student expectation addresses some of these topics. Most Texas high school music students will have careers outside of the music field. Music teachers in Texas have a responsibility to recognize this fact and work with students to have a high level of application from their high school music studies to non‐music related skills. This student expectation has several examples of how these skills are directly connected to several real‐world topics.

Music, Level I (c)(5) Historical and cultural relevance. The student relates music to history, culture, and the world. The student is expected to:


(F) identify and explore tools for college and career preparation such as social media applications, repertoire lists, auditions, and interview techniques.

Image of a choir (left) and three students practicing piano, percussion, and guitar (right)

 

In the previous TEKS, there was very little mention of the various ensemble genres—Choir, Band, Orchestra, and Percussion—that are typically found in the most traditional high school music groups. The revised student expectation below provides a better set of descriptors to serve as examples for the high school music teacher. For the choir director, posture, breathing, text, diction, and phrasing are most critical while, for the band director, posture, articulation, breathing, and vibrato fingerings are most important. For the percussion director, posture, articulation, phrasing, and percussion techniques matter a great deal while, for the orchestra director, posture, articulation, vibrato, bowing, fingering, and independent dexterities are most important for student success. Using the term "such as" means that these concepts are just a few of many examples that should be included as student expectations in a well-planned music lesson. The additional reminder included here is the clear expectation that students are expected to perform music by memory as well as reading from a notated music part.

Music, Level I (c)(3) Creative expression. The student demonstrates musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument individually and in groups. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an appropriate level of difficulty. The student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate. The student develops cognitive and psychomotor skills. The student is expected to:


(B) demonstrate psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques.

Course Offerings Now Include More and Varied Cultural Choices

In addition to the new student expectations in the revised TEKS, many new courses have been added. These will give students much greater choice in their actual course work. World Music Ensemble and Mariachi are important additions that acknowledge our Texan culture. All courses listed here have four levels, denoted by the Roman numerals. Take a moment to review the music course offerings.

These additional courses with unique PEIMS numbers will provide the following:

  • opportunities for students to study music, but not be enrolled in band, orchestra, or choir;
  • greater specificity on high school transcripts; and
  • acknowledgement that Texas has become a state of many cultures, each with its own musical styles.

Image of a young man with guitar
Many schools in Texas offer courses directly related to music, but are not driven by a performance component. The revised TEKS also create standards for Music Studies. Courses which are valuable in expanding opportunities for fine arts credits and graduation requirements by offering the nontraditional music student options in pursuing a variety of music studies that are not based on performance standards.

TEKS have been created for the new course offerings in Music Studies I and II. It is important to note that the specific student expectations in the TEKS for Music Studies still require all students to be able to read and write music and to demonstrate Creative expression, understanding of Historical and cultural relevance, and Critical evaluation and response. In fact, the Music Studies TEKS are similar to the TEKS for the more traditional high school music courses. The most significant difference is the specific absence of performance requirements in the more traditional courses.

The Revised TEKS with Special Education Considerations

Having the music teacher participate in developing the student's individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan can offer a different and valuable viewpoint regarding the student's learning and participation in school. Music teachers are often called to participate in the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) meeting and can give valuable input to how the music TEKS might assist in the student's overall achievement.

Music teachers regularly make accommodations for Section 504 and special education students, allowing all students to take part in music instruction. It is imperative that music teachers, along with all other teachers, are provided with professional development regarding Section 504 and special education accommodations in order to make the connections of learning across all disciplines. Additionally, music teachers need to be aware of accommodations for their students and have access to the resources needed to provide these in their classrooms.

Image of a student playing drums
Some of the accommodations that might help students be successful in music classes include the following:

  • Frequent reminders to stay on task
  • Special seating
  • Specialized technology
  • Supplementary written instructions
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Extended time
  • Alternative response modes

Some examples of opportunities for inclusion of special needs students may include the following:

  • Having a student who uses a wheelchair learn to play percussion in the band
  • Helping a student with a learning disability in math understand fractions by teaching the division of sounds in a beat
  • Giving the student who struggles emotionally an opportunity to find a creative outlet in music
  • Enabling the student who is emotionally disturbed to be part of a team by joining a music program

These, and so many more examples, are ways that the music TEKS can guide teachers to develop student skills by using kinesthetic, aural/oral, and visual techniques to address all learning styles and reach all learners.

The Revised TEKS with Considerations for English Language Learners (ELLs)

Image of a group of girls singing
English language learners (ELLs) may also benefit from instruction that not only helps them learn and perform music, but also helps them learn English. Music class provides a great opportunity for students to improve their English listening skills. In English Language Proficiency Standards (c)(2), the ELL student is expected to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Distinguish sounds and intonation patterns of English with increasing ease
  • Learn new language structures, expressions, and basic and academic vocabulary heard during classroom instruction and interactions
  • Use visual, contextual, and linguistic support to enhance and confirm understanding of increasingly complex and elaborated spoken language
  • Understand implicit ideas and information in increasingly complex spoken language commensurate with grade-level learning expectations

To help students connect learning, teachers can incorporate the four language domains in music curriculum.

The Four Language Domains

Listening is the ability to understand spoken language, comprehend and extract information, and follow social and instructional discourse through which information is provided.

Speaking is the ability to use spoken language appropriately and effectively in learning activities and social interactions.

Reading is the ability to comprehend and interpret written text at the grade-appropriate level.

Writing is the ability to produce written text with content and format to fulfill grade-appropriate classroom assignments.

The music TEKS directly call for skills in all of these areas. For example, listening to music and learning to write a critique, reading the text for a song and understanding its poetic or literary meaning, or simply learning to sing a song with proper pronunciation and comprehension can all help the ELL student in language acquisition.

Conclusion

Image of a drum major
As you developed your lesson, which of these topics did you think about?

  • New high school music courses
  • New strand titles with descriptions
  • Reasons for many of the TEKS revisions
  • Highlights of some new student expectations
  • Examples of spiraled, sequenced learning using verbs similar to the New Bloom's Taxonomy

Quiz

Extend Your Learning: Tools and Resources

There are many instructional and professional development resources to help you align your district's curriculum and your instruction to the revised high school music TEKS. These resources will be beneficial to creating and developing your music program and classes. Take a moment to review each one. You may wish to bookmark these resources or some of the others used in this module, such as the high school music TEKS alignment chart, the high school music TEKS comparison, or the course discovery secondary music as you revise your courses so that even more Texas high school students gain a deep knowledge and understanding of music and how it affects our lives.

Tools and Resources

Professional Development Opportunities for Music Teachers