Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) and the Standards
Wisconsin has been a leader in comprehensive music education for years and these standards speak well to those who want to incorporate CMP and other student centered approaches in the classroom. It also combines well with the CMP (Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance) model for designing curriculum.
There is a natural progression that guides curriculum design. Standards drive curriculum development, which in turn drives delivery of instruction. To make this all come together requires thoughtful planning on behalf of the teacher. A successful approach to planning meaningful instruction in the classroom is the Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Project Model.
What is CMP?
The Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Project was initiated in Wisconsin in 1977 as a means of assisting teachers with the development of performance with understanding in school music programs. The project began with a group of respected music teachers from diverse school districts and a project steering committee that facilitated development. The teachers and steering committee developed and field-tested a process for planning and carrying out instruction in performing groups.
In the CMP process, the rehearsal is seen as a laboratory where students can develop an understanding of musical concepts such as expression, melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, timbre and form by being involved in a variety of roles including performing, improvising, arranging, composing, conducting, and analyzing music.
The original need for the project was articulated by many educators, including Charles Benner, who concluded in 1972 that “in order to have an impact on musical behavior, there must be a planned effort by the teacher to enrich the performing experience with additional kinds of musical understanding.” (Benner, 1972)
The CMP Model was developed through a careful examination of the teaching and learning process in music performing groups. The learner and the music are central to the CMP planning process. Though the five components of the model are equally important, planning instruction can begin at any of the points. For instance, the selection of music is often a starting point for planning but the decision about what music to use may be based on assessment of student needs or previous learning. Assessment is appropriate before, during, or after the process of study. A desired outcome may be identified through the assessment process or outcomes may be stated in a local curriculum guide. It then becomes the task of the teacher to select music that is appropriate for working toward that outcome. Analysis leads to recognition of those music elements that need to be learned to develop Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (or understanding through performance). Strategies are the ways in which the teacher attempts to bring the music and the performer together so that quality performance and meaningful learning can take place simultaneously. This model of instruction is applicable in both performing and non-performing classrooms.
Standards and CMP Working Together
Using the guiding principles of the CMP model, teachers can design and customize a comprehensive approach to instruction over time. What guides instruction is the CMP Teaching Plan. Designing a CMP Teaching Plan is a very organic process that can incorporate standards and curriculum all focused on student-centered learning over time. The standards and the CMP approach to instruction complement one another. Much like the standards themselves, CMP emphasizes music literacy through understanding of music being studied.
The standards by their very nature are process oriented. Designing a meaningful CMP Teaching Plan based on the process of music making will allow for intentional instruction and allow students the opportunity to experience a deeper understanding of music.
In designing a CMP Teaching Plan, teachers can begin their planning at any of the five points of the model. To capsulate how the standards can connect with a CMP Teaching Plan, we offer a few thoughts and suggestions:
- Enduring understandings and essential questions can shape the design of CMP planning and instruction.
- Selecting a specific standard and/or artistic process can influence the general design of the CMP Teaching Plan, or it can influence a specific element of the teaching plan, such as the music to be studied.
- Standards allow for student experiential learning and growth over time. CMP Teaching Plans allow for music study over time.
- Since the standards are process-oriented, standards can serve as or resemble outcomes, strategies or assessment task.
- Standards drive music selection and the analysis of music being studied.
- CMP assessment tasks can guide instruction and determine the level of understanding in relationship to the proficiency levels found in the standards.
- Both the standards and CMP are process oriented and comprehensive in nature.
- CMP allows students the opportunity to draw upon the standards and link them to their individual experiences or personal connections beyond the classroom.
- CMP can draw out the affective responses of the any given standard.
These are some of the many commonalities and connections between the standards and planning for instruction using CMP. For information on the Wisconsin CMP Project, we encourage music teachers to attend a CMP workshop. The CMP Project also has a book (O’Toole, P. 2003 Shaping Sound Musicians: An Innovative Approach to Teaching Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance. Chicago: GIA Publications) that describes in detail the CMP model, with examples of its application in a variety of situations. (See Resources section)