Southland Opera

Everyday Music in the Classroom

Everyday Music in the Classroom

To collaborate with this provider, contact:

Ann Noriel
Executive Director

450 Tocino Dr.
Duarte, CA 91010






Web Address:


Southland Opera is a growing and creative organization that believes in the value of arts enhanced learning. We are committed to bringing opera, musical theatre, and vocal and music composition instruction into the classroom and to the community. Our talented company of teaching artists and cast performers are dedicated to providing our highly acclaimed residencies, professional development and performances to our Southern California classrooms, audiences and community. In addition to being an original, and current, member of the LA Unified Arts Community Partnership Network (ACPN), Southland Opera has provided over three thousand student workshops and over 200 Professional Development sessions throughout the Southern California community.

Program Objectives

Teachers are introduced to methods and techniques that can be used to integrate vocal music into the classroom. Teachers will learn how to use, deconstruct and create simple melodic and rhythmic lines as the base for creating lyrics from poetry, journal writing, and cross-curricular vocabulary.

How to use basic singing, speaking and performance (theater) techniques to teach artistic expression and use those same techniques in creative classroom management. Teachers will learn effective voice and stage techniques which are used to improve presence, focus and concentration, vocal delivery, expression and intent. These include warm-ups, stretches, solfege (vocal exercises), tableau and breathing and how they can be used in classroom management.

Teachers will be provided with vocal music teaching resources. All teachers will receive CD’s which contain basic melodies, rhythmic lines and recordings which they can use when implementing the program into their classrooms, an outline of a VAPA standardized lesson plan and exercises, and a copy of Everyday Music in the Classroom which is used during the PD session.

The teachers obtain tools and techniques to overcome obstacles when incorporating music and singing in the classroom. They will learn basic vocal techniques used in singing, recitation, oratory and theatre to preserve the performance voice. These techniques will also serve to inform the teacher in the preservation of their everyday classroom voices. We will explore the basic music structure of familiar melodies and learn how to deconstruct and use those melodies to compose original lyrics for and with students. Teachers will use curriculum concepts from math, grammar, social studies, language arts and history, and learn how to compose lyrics that teach these concepts through the mnemonic device of music and rhythm.


Single and multiple workshop sessions are available and are designed to fit the needs of the school and district. Planning can be done by email and phone for shorter professional development sequences. Longer programs require in-person meetings with the coordinating teacher or administrator to insure alignment with district and/or site needs and plans. Follow up support and sessions are available. With the goal of encouraging teachers' continued use of music in the classroom, we provide several online resources that facilitate integration of music and song writing. CD's of melodic and rhythmic tracks and familiar melodies are provided for each participating teacher. Confidential evaluations at the end of the program provide valuable feedback for our program development and are shared with the school and district administrators. Fees start at $500. Additional and sequential program pricing will be dependent upon the number of sessions and program customization planning requirements.


The program has been designed to support the delivery of VAPA standards based vocal music instruction and integration and to provide classroom teachers with practical techniques and tools to not only deliver basic sequential vocal and composition instruction to their students, but to also assist teachers in deepening core curriculum learning through the arts. Classroom teachers are provided with arts educational tools and techniques to: 1) access student prior knowledge – familiar songs and melodies; 2) teach basic vocal and theatre techniques; 3) create a performance and 4) integrate cross-curricular material and increase the mnemonic retention of history, language arts, math and science. This hands-on program engages teachers in learning vocal music and composition instruction skills through active learning. The teaching methodology being delivered has been assessed by the VSA California Artists in Schools program for special needs populations.

Participants' Experience

I. Intro-Vocal Warm-up. II. Hansel and Gretel-movement and music sample. III. Sing through melodies of familiar songs, these melodies will be used for the original songs. IV. Create original songs a. Break out into small groups b. Pick curriculum or topic (e.g., history, bullying) c. Pick song, melodic line or drum loop for those wishing to use spoken word d. Write poetry, if uncomfortable with singing, use rap, theatrical oratory, etc. V. Perform for group- Practice identifying problems e.g., blending, pitch, etc. VI. Discuss possible revisions including a. More difficult concepts b. Integration of spoken rhythm and pitch c. Improvisation of melody or tempo. The program begins by teachers participating in a professional warm-up exercise including breath support, stretches, vocal and spoken range and many other tools that will teach them basic vocal production and care. Using a familiar melody, each group will write a new song and then perform their masterpiece.

Classroom Relevancy

In addition to direct arts education delivery techniques and the VAPA standards, the program also connects with the California Language Arts standards and has been implemented equally with mainstream, ELL and special needs populations. The program encourages student participation in various forms: voice, spoken word, theatrical expression, and in the staging of student performances, direction, narration and production. Teachers may employ the warm up exercises on a daily basis with their students this can also be used as a classroom focus and management tool. Music written with and by the students provides continual classroom vocal practice and experience. Teachers are provided with prerecorded songs and music tracks to sing with their students. In particular, the music tracks provide the teacher who does not have piano access or skills, with a melody line accompaniment for which students can continually create lyrics enabling the teacher to self-implement the program in the classroom.


During the program, participants explore vocal technique, rhythm, rhyme, to create and perform their original songs.

Classroom Management

Teachers will learn effective voice and stage techniques which are used to improve presence, focus and concentration, vocal delivery, expression and intent. These include warm-ups, stretches, soflege (vocal exercises), creating tableaus and breathing and how these can be used in classroom management.


The program demonstrates and teaches how core curriculum vocabulary, poetry, journaling, storytelling, i.e, language arts are used to create song lyrics.

Special Populations

During the 2010-2011 school year, 32% of our 450 student workshops were delivered to students with special needs. Our student populations are further supported by our strategic partnership with organizations that specialize in adaptive and inclusive programs for special needs students. Because of our experience with this demographic, this program not only includes techniques for inclusion but also adaptive skills techniques for special needs teachers.

VAPA Standards

The curriculum meets the California VAPA standards. The lesson plan and written curriculum provides teachers with the standards for each of the lessons in our residency program. The teachers will learn key methods for developing better singing and vocal technique (learn how to match pitches, blend their voices) and problem solve issues that may arise when incorporating vocal music in the classroom. At the end of the session, teachers participate in an assessment and revision exercise which reviews the standards and how they were applied during their performance.