Brain Hive in the (Music) Classroom

When we talk about “reading across the curriculum,” the conversation is often focused on reinforcing literacy skills not only in English or language arts classes, but also in the other “core” subjects: science, social studies, and math. To be sure, this is an immensely important endeavor. Especially when we consider Common Core’s emphasis on exposing students to high-rigor informational texts, it is imperative that students have the opportunity to practice a variety of reading strategies in all of their content-area courses. While we’re at it, however, why don’t we integrate more reading into the rest of the school day as well? In arts classes, extracurriculars, or even PE? Doing so will not only help students continue to hone their reading skills that they practice in “core” subjects, but it will also assist them in understanding the interconnected nature of knowledge and education: an understanding of music is tied up inextricably with culture, history, and even math; similarly, excelling in woodworking and metal arts must come with knowledge of math, science, and historical tradition.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing some blogs that cover ideas for integrating texts into classes outside of the language arts/science/math/social studies “core.” Today, I’ll be highlighting some titles and series available on Brain Hive that can enhance or support what teachers are doing in music classes.

Celebrate FAMILIES of DEEP textsweet music in harlemHey charlestonRHAPSODY IN BLUE Jkt  is the violin for you

  • Emphasize the cultural and communal function and history of music across the world with Celebrate! Connections Among Cultures, by Jan Reynolds (Lee & Low), or with Music Everywhere! by Maya Ajmera, Elise Hofer Derstine, and Cynthia Pon (Charlesbridge).
  • Examine the early days of Jazz with Sweet Music in Harlem, by Debbie Taylor and illustrated by Frank Morrison (Lee & Low), or with Hey Charleston! The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Colin Bootman (Carolrhoda Picture Books).
  • Take a look at the story behind the music in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, by Anna Harwell Celenza and illustrated by JoAnn E. Kitchell (part of a larger series published by Charlesbridge).
  • Encourage budding musicians to research the history and cultural impact of instruments that interest them with books like Is the Violin For You? by Elaine Landau (part of the Ready to Make Music series, published by Lerner).

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Let us know at, or give us a call at 855-554-4483.

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