How and when does one begin to incorporate sheet music to the methodology?

I received this question from an S-Cubed user:

How and when does one begin to incorporate sheet music to the methodology?


I start S-Cubed on day one of the school year.

I see my students daily for 50 minutes, and my students begin using sheet music at the end of week 2. 

When I begin teaching rep to the kids, I take time to teach them how to follow the system.  I usually teach staffs, systems, measures, and how to find the soprano line and alto line.  Expecting 6th graders to follow systems without our guidance is like expecting English speakers to understand something that is written in Japanese or Arabic.   I know because I learned the hard way!  

Here is a video I made a while ago that explains a bit more about what I do with repertoire while they are becoming proficient.    

I hope that helps you!

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Announcing the S-Cubed Sight Singing School District Pilot Program

I began sharing the S-Cubed Sight Singing Program for Beginners with teachers on TPT four years ago.

When I began sharing it, I was nervous.  I didn't know whether it would translate for other teachers, but I knew I had to try anyway because I had seen too many teachers and their beginning singers walk out of the sight singing room at adjudications completely disillusioned.  

Fast forward to the present...

It's been reviewed and tested by thousands of teachers all over the world, and I am so grateful that it has helped teachers who so desperately want the type of guidance offered in the program.

From the beginning, I wanted S-Cubed to be unique.  That's why I offer the specific lesson plans one expects to receive when purchasing a curriculum, but I also took it several steps further by showing teachers how I've taught it to my 340 non-auditioned middle school singers for over 10 years in the Title 1 school where I teach in Atlanta, GA.  I've heard from countless teachers that seeing the teaching examples and watching the teaching tips before they teach the lessons for the first time has made the difference for them.  

Text books can't offer that. 

And S-Cubed is more than just another sight singing program.  It has helped teachers with program growth, classroom management, vowel production, tone, pitch matching, and so much more.

I have always felt strongly that S-Cubed offers a great opportunity to school districts.  Because of how I have packaged S-Cubed, school districts can help all of the teachers in their districts to more closely align how they teach music literacy to their beginning singers.  And the best part?  The S-Cubed approach focuses on engaging interaction between the teacher and students as they learn the skills in the program.  

So, for the 2017-2018 school year, I am going to choose some school districts and give the program to each teacher in that district. This includes middle school, high school, elementary schools and even the general music, band, and orchestra teachers if they want it!  
How do you make it happen?

1)  Pick a liaison for your district who will fill out the application.
2)  Complete the application by midnight, July 14.  

Here is the link!  

The application itself will only take about 10 minutes to complete, but there will be a little organization for you to do ahead of time, so go ahead and read it now so you can begin gathering the information you need.  

I will review the applications during the week of July 17, and I will contact the districts that are chosen to be a part of the pilot program sometime that week.  

Thank you so much for your interest in being a part of the pilot program for the S-Cubed Sight Singing Program...It's the 21st Century way to learn how to teach sight singing better to your beginners!

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Wrapping the arms of structure around your Middle School Singers

Wrapping the Arms of Structure Around Your Middle School Singers

 I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not, but I have been asked many times after a concert with my 300+ middle school choral music students, “What do you SAY to the students that keeps them so disciplined?”

When I hear that, I chuckle inside because it isn’t just one thing.  I wish it were.  It would be so much easier!

Middle school students thrive on structure.  How many times have your students walked into your class and said, “What are we doing today?” 

I usually make up a funny thing like “We are going to dissect cockroaches and sing songs about it” and then point them to the promethean board where the first activity of the day is ready for them.

From the first day of school, I make sure that when they walk into my room, they know that my classroom is a place where we have a plan.

Is it ok to let up on that structure once in a while?  Sure.  But only after you have established strong scaffolding and the daily routines are set in stone.

When I first started teaching public school middle school chorus, I didn’t understand how important structure is for them.  My verbal instructions were not clear.  I hadn’t thought through the sequencing with the brain of a sixth grader…which is different than the brain of an 8th grader…which I didn’t realize in those early years…and which caused me so much grief.  The kids wanted to do the right thing, but I was clueless about how to convey the information in an effective manner that yielded results.

We can’t just talk when we give directions. 

We have to demonstrate, and they must experience what we are teaching…not just hear it. 

We have to bring the learning objectives to life.

It all goes back to the three types of learners:  visual, auditory, kinesthetic.  In my experience, we have to hit all three when we are teaching this age group…whether we are teaching music or a process/procedure, and it helps if we can do it with humor.  Everyone likes to laugh. 

I created this video for my students, and we worked to make it as silly as possible.  I show it to my students at the beginning of the year, and they absolutely love it. 

 So, back to the question I get asked…”What do you say to the students that keeps them so disciplined”?

I have no idea.

…but I do know that I’ve learned to anticipate what they need.  I take time to teach processes.   I give them structure.  And we laugh. 

I think that all of those things combined encourage respect that is mutual and circular.   

Hope you are enjoying your summer rest!  I know that I am!

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District Purchases and Multiple license discounts!

When I started teaching...about 400 years ago...the only resources we had were textbooks that someone else purchased that I rarely used, and a small budget to purchase sheet music and warm up books.

Times have changed, and they have changed fast.
I received the email below last week.  

We are looking at sight-singing methods for next year in our district. One thing that our district is having a question with is "Is there another way that this is published other than Teachers Pay Teachers?" I'm good either way, but if I can get the district to buy it, bonus!
Potential Buyer

I want to get S-Cubed Sight Singing Program into as many schools around the globe as possible, and I am very excited to get emails like this.  

Here are some of the ways I respond when I hear from folks who want this program for all of the schools and music teachers in their district.  

S-Cubed is a 21st-century textbook. Textbooks are part of the past. Young teachers realize that there are other ways to find resources. The textbooks that the district buys every few years often sit on the shelf.  Resourceful teachers are doing research and finding the answers they need as they work toward creating paperless classrooms.  

1) With the advent of Chromebooks, Ipads, and Smartboards, classrooms that use digital resources represent the future.
2) Textbooks are far more expensive than purchasing digital resources because you have to purchase many textbooks, and you have to do it every few years. With digital resources, that is not the case. And on TPT, each teacher gets all product updates for free after they purchase.
3) Digital resources offer things that textbooks cannot. In S-Cubed, teachers get specific lesson plans, video teaching tips to help teachers teach each lesson plan and video teaching examples of me teaching the actual lesson to my public school students...all by clicking a link. Textbooks can't do that.
 4) TPT offers a multi-license discount. A district can purchase the first copy of S-Cubed full price and then purchase the remaining copies for other teachers in the same district/school from 10%-50% off the original price.
The amount of the discount depends on the number of teachers for whom they are purchasing.    If they are considering purchasing S-Cubed for the district, have them contact me directly at, and we will work out the details.
5)  S-Cubed was created by a real teacher in a real classroom. 
6)  S-Cubed has been vetted, rated and reviewed for four years by teachers who are using it all over the world.  

Lastly, it's gotten a lot easier to purchase with TpT for Schools!  Check it out and let your administrator know about S-Cubed!

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