Feature essays at The Avid Listener can serve two primary functions in the classroom: as informational texts about music history and music in culture, and as exemplars of good writing for general audiences. Essays are brief, well crafted, and carefully edited. They introduce new ideas (such as hip-hop diplomacy) alongside creative takes on more traditional musico-historical narratives (such as the history of music notation, or the politics behind G. F. Handel’s oratorios). Each essay concludes with discussion questions; asking students to read the essays and engage with these questions is perhaps the easiest way to integrate Avid Listener essays into the classroom. But we also recognize that (1) classroom activities are more likely to appeal to school administrators if they can be linked to current educational standards, and (2) music educators are under increasing pressure to support language arts and math educational standards in music classrooms.
To facilitate the integration of The Avid Listener into high-school level curricula, we have developed a brief list of suggested exercises that use our essays to meet specific Common Core English Language Arts standards. We have chosen standards from grade levels 9/10 and 11/12 that can be adjusted to meet grade-level expectations. The activities can easily be adapted to a number of Common Core standards.
The handout is available for download here. Let us know what you think!