Music Resources, K-12

According to the National Association for Music Education, the benefits of music education fall into four "success" categories: success in society, success in school, success in developing intelligence, and success in life (NAME, 2002). The Internet can serve as one accessible way to provide students and teachers with access to a variety of musical dictionaries and encyclopedias – reference materials not commonly available in classrooms (Thompson, 1999). Several recent studies point to the effects of music education on student achievement.

Gordon Shaw (University of California-Irvine) and Frances Rauscher (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) started discussion about the connection between music and learning when they revealed the results of their work with college students. The researchers found that listening to 10 minutes of a Mozart piano sonata improved students' abilities to perform some spatial-reasoning tasks (for example, to see patterns in objects or numbers). While the benefits faded quickly after the music was stopped, that research opened the door to a follow-up study with preschool children.

In the follow-up study, 78 preschoolers were given tests designed to measure spatial abilities. A fourth of those students were then given a 12-15 minute private piano lesson each week for six months. At the end of that period, the tests were administered again. The results confirmed the impact of music instruction on students' spatial-reasoning skills. On one test that required students to assemble a puzzle of a camel, the students who received piano instruction showed significantly more improvement than the other children.

In another study, published by Martin Gardiner (currently at Brown University's Center for the Study of Human Development) in the May 1996 issue of the journal Nature, groups of first graders were given music instruction that emphasized sequential skill development and musical games involving rhythm and pitch. After six months, the students scored significantly better in math than students in groups that received traditional music instruction. (Reading scores for the two groups didn't show marked differences.) Follow-up studies with different groups of students showed similar results. Music training may condition the brain to do tasks similar to those it has to do when working on math problems.

Science of Music: Accidental Scientist
Includes interactive exhibits, movies and questions. Compose your own music with virtual kitchen objects. Find out why voices sound so much better in the shower. Learn how the opera singer can hold a note so long.

PBS Jazz Kids
Includes information about current and past jazz artists. Activities include improvisation and honing musical memory skills. Also includes curriculum links to the PBS Jazz video series.

New York Philharmonic-KidZone
Students can learn about the orchestra, meet musicians, hear what the instruments sound like, create your own orchestra, make virtual instruments in the Instrument Laboratory, learn about composers in the Composers' Gallery, and compose their own music in the Composition Workshop.

JazzKids will help students learn to hear and accurately perform swing and straight rhythms. It will help students invent their own music, while also developing their ear and reading skills. This is a commercial site.
Students can experience creative play in the creation of music.
Interactive music and artistic animations help students learn about instruments, sounds, and composers.

San Francisco Symphony for Kids
Includes an interactive exploration of basic music theory, tempo, rhythm, pitch, harmony, symbols, instrumentation, performance and composition, etc.

This website features a listing of more than 2000 composers in the Schirmer publisher repetoire that contains a portrait, biography, list of selected works, select discography, and at times, links to other sites.

From the Top
This not-for-profit multi-media organization encourages and celebrates the development of youth through classical music. Students can listen to the archived radio programs and read biographies and interviews of the young musicians. The site includes MENC 6-12 lesson plans.

Historic American Sheet Music: 1850 – 1920
This website includes 3,042 pieces of sheet music drawn from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University. This selection presents a significant perspective on American history and culture through a wide variety of music types. Also includes an "Historic American Sheet Music Timeline: 1850-1920."

Blues Journey
This is an interactive virtual journey from the origins of the blues in the South through its influence on music around the world today. The website features interviews, images, music clips, lesson plans, web links, and an extensive discussion of suggested educational uses.

Songs for Teaching – Using Music to Promote Teaching
This website offers practical suggestions based on the latest in brain-based learning. Innovative teachers share their classroom pointers and extension activities using children's music. Lesson plans, mood music, research, songs that call for physical music, and more.

From the University of California's Chicano Studies Research Library. This is a portal to art, music, dance, theater, film, and pictoral essays of Hispanic heritage.

Art and Life in Africa Project
This project provides resources using a variety of media promoting the education of art and life throughout Africa.

America’s Jazz Heritage
This website presents the history of jazz through exhibitions, performances, recordings, radio, publications, and educational programs at the Smithsonian and across the nation.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91)
You can listen to and even save up to five classical music files free each day from this site. The music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and that of over 555 other composers is available. Select live performances by performer, composer, or conductor.

Choral Public Domain Library
This website has 7,800 scores available to download in PDF format. The database is searchable by composer's name or title of the piece.

Music Online Tutor
This website is meant to be a companion to the textbook Enjoyment of Music, and it provides overviews of the chapters and units of the text. It includes over 250 musical excerpts from a variety of musical eras.

African American Sheet Music (1850-1920)
This collection consists of 1,305 pieces of African-American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920. Particularly significant in this collection are the visual depictions of African-Americans which provide much information about racial attitudes over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

K-12 Resources for Music

This is a list of links to websites for music educators. There is a special section for MIDI and music technology resources.