Chicago Public Schools students perform in CSO-Connect video

CSO-Connect is an arts-integration partnership between the Negaunee Music Institute and Chicago Public Schools that brings arts and non-arts teachers together to develop curricular units tied to a theme and orchestral music featured in a CSO School Concert.

Nine Chicago Public Schools participated in CSO-Connect in the 2020-21 school year. Teams of teachers from each school participated in five workshops where they collaborated to develop an arts-integrated curriculum centered on the theme of music and emotion. Students in grades first through eighth explored orchestral repertoire, literature and social/emotional learning via each unit.

Throughout the year, students enjoyed videos from the CSO for Kids series and a special video performance and virtual visit by the Fellows of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Hundreds of Chicago Public School students participated in the partnership.

Here are the schools that participated in this year’s partnership:

Agassiz Elementary School — 3rd grade
Decatur Classical School — 2nd and 6th grades
Jahn Elementary School — 4th grade
Kilmer Elementary School — 5th and 7th grades
Pasteur Elementary School — 1st-4th grades
Pickard Elementary School — 2nd and 4th grades
Sawyer Elementary School — 3rd grade
Schubert Elementary School — 2nd and 3rd grades
Swift Elementary School — 7th and 8th grades

“Wednesdays are devoted to SEL (social/emotional learning), and the CSO-Connect curriculum promoted and facilitated this student learning among all third graders at the school. Students worked together to reflect on the Zones of Regulation (a framework designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control) as expressed through music, pictures and words. Students learned to identify and connect to the various emotions they experience each day. They then explored the ways composers use tools to express emotion through music. Finally, they composed and performed original instrumental music for each of the four Zones of Regulation, along with photos, drawings and audio reflections.”

— Nicholas Hall, music teacher at Harriet Tubman Elementary School (formerly Agassiz Elementary School)

“At Decatur Classical School, sixth-grade students listened to pieces of music and then decided on an emotion that fit their chosen musical piece. Inspired by the music, they created artwork to showcase that emotion.

Meanwhile, second-grade students learned all about the building blocks of music like melody, harmony, dynamics, articulation, instrumentation and tempo. They listened, they improvised, they discussed and finally — they composed. Each second-grade student created a melody that represented an emotion of their choice using Chrome Music Lab's Songmaker.

Second- and sixth-grade students then met with their partners to share their art and melodies. Second graders shared ideas about how they wanted their melodies to sound, and sixth graders took notes so that they could help to realize their vision.

Finally, sixth-grade students used Soundtrap to create a final musical piece that combined their art and emotion and their second graders' musical ideas, melody and emotion.“

— Cate Schmittle, music teacher at Decatur Classical School

During this year of the pandemic, schools in the CSO-Connect partnership created videos as the program’s culminating event. This video features student performances by seven of the CSO-Connect partner schools, exploring music and emotion.