What is DSMusic?

What is DSMusic?

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Deborah Smith has taught music in many classrooms, ran Music Departments in schools and now helps students and educators to keep making wonderful music. She is active in the Kodály space – lecturing, advocating and creating content that supports this comprehensive music literacy approach.

DSMusic is built from understanding the realities of the classroom context. Teachers do not always have enough time to properly plan lessons or really focus on resources or teaching approach. The DSMusic material was designed to help teachers keep track of progress made previous classes, in order to discover what needs more attention and work, and then provide strategies for stronger, more effective ways to help students.

The aim of everything we do at DS Music is focused on teaching the language of music and ensuring a scaffolded and sequential foundation in music literacy for all students, but it is also about supporting teachers – this way, all the planning and preparation has already been done.

What does this support look like?

Teachers get ready-made lesson plans, curriculum documents, preparation activities, sample answers, audio files and more – and much of that content is editable and customisable. Students can access an incredible amount of online content – free teaching and practice videos, 100s of engaging songs, games, movement activities and canons, worksheets and more! Let’s unpack a few of these resources.

Within the Musicianship & Aural Training textbooks across Level 1, 2 and 3 – which teach, scaffold and strengthen music literacy in a sequential way — you’ll find Teacher Books which include lesson plans.

In Level 1 & 2 these outline how to “prepare”, “present” and “practice” the areas covered and in Level 3, this content is concept-based. This means that we’re constantly reinforcing the skills and knowledge we’ve previously taught our students alongside the teaching of new concepts, making the DSMusic approach academically rigorous, creative and engaging.

It’s not just the teaching and learning side of things that’s covered, as DSMusic content also gives teachers ready-made assessment materials, including Creative Assignments as well as Aural & Written Tests.

Beyond that, DSMusic also maps the sequential musicianship curriculum for you. That’s right — here’s a scope & sequence we prepared earlier! Not exactly right for you? The mapping is customisable and the learning material itself is adaptable.

This content is designed teach students to know the language of music, the way we know any other language. That is, when we see words written we understand their meaning and we know how they would sound if they were spoken. When we hear words spoken, we again understand their meaning, and we know how they would look when written down.

This approach is based on the belief that good quality music education is for EVERYONE, regardless of background, learning style, ability OR prior learning. It is singing-based, which means there’s no expensive equipment required, no technical or practical difficulties involved in playing instruments and it helps students develop the most direct relationship with music possible.

Along with all of the planning material and the textbooks themselves, there’s also a huge collection of even more digital resources, including songs, games and canons!

Then there’s a vast collection of videos that complete these resources by helping you with the actual teaching/practicing of the concepts and skills taught in your classrooms. 

As an experienced teacher with Kodály training these videos support what you already do so well. Use them to revise a new concept or skill, for students who were absent in the “present” lesson’ or to teach the concept or skill on a day where you and/or your voice are not 100%.

These videos can be set as homework to teach or revise a concept. The 100s of practice videos can be used by your students, ensuring they are practicing correctly every time.

As a beginning teacher, or someone new to this way of teaching, these videos can be viewed prior to teaching a new concept to your class to help clarify the process in the teacher’s mind before passing it on the the students. Of course they can be used to actually teach the concept itself and/or practice it once learned.

Where to now?

We provide teachers with ongoing support and advice in using the books and we offer school visits, music teacher professional development and workshops for music students and teachers.

Get in touch to organise a teacher consultation – even though everything is ready-made for you, we understand that some of the concepts within this approach might be new to you. Don’t let that stop you – anyone can learn to teach music language this way and the same is true for students. No matter their instrument or musicianship level, music literacy is inclusive and accessible.

And I’m always available via email – or even a phone call or Zoom session – to give some one-on-one support, answer questions or point you in the right direction. I want to help in whatever way I can. DSMusic resources are designed to support the great work you’re already doing – they’re everything you need.

Hopefully whichever way you choose to use DSMusic material makes your life easier and lifts some of the planning stress from your shoulders.

Enjoy!

Deb

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