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Research tips and Resources

Research Tips and Resources

Where and How do I start my journey with the research process?

Start with a broad description of the music and work your way to the specific details. This includes analysis of your piece with regards to these musical elements: form, rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, expression. Include specific details so that your analysis is rooted in strong intellectual, cultural and historical context. (Shaping Sound Musicians, p 4.)

Once you have a focused idea about the piece you are ready to voyage farther.

1. Specific labeling of a genre. This can lead you to exploring the historical and cultural significance of the music.

Don't go overboard here! It is very easy to be drawn into minute details that may only lead to learning trivia about your piece.

2. Compositional Devices and Elements of Music

The intentional analysis of your piece (with regards to musical elements: form, rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, expression) will lead you to teaching ideas. Shaping Sounds Musicians, p. 10 is a great resource for brainstroming ideas and guiding you toward points of discovery.

3. This will lead to "Additional considerations" These questions are in the book (Shaping Sounds Musicians, p. 11) and are a good place to start for guidance with deeper research.

Wait! I'm a middle school band/choral director and I am not finding anything that will help me in these resources for the piece I have selected.

This is a common question, one that can be answered in a variety of ways. Consider these questions and feel free to discuss with your small group leader.

  1. Have you done a thorough analysis?
  2. Have you applied the music standards to your piece?
  3. Have you considered an affective link to enhance the music instruction?
  4. Is the piece worthy of your time and effort to write a CMP plan?

Using Google for research

Chances are that you have used the Google search engine to access information from the World Wide Web. Did you find what you needed? Did you find too much? Did you find too little? Did you retrieve a lot of "irrelevant hits?" If you have used Google for any length of time, then you know that your results may vary from search to search depending on what words you type and also how the words are entered.

Try these sites for more information on how to use Google effectively.

University of No. Carolina

Harvard College Library

Use your Google page to sort a specific hit video, 

Other Resources

Teaching Music Through Performance Book Series

This best-selling series of books and CDs has quickly become the indispensable resource for music educators searching for the best possible music at all levels. Each book includes analyses of select pieces and insights from national leaders in the field. Recordings by top ensembles make this series truly invaluable.

Use this site to browse repertoire, listen to excerpts, learn about the books, and find up-to-date publisher information.

Library of Congress


National Archives


American Choral Directors