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Orchestrating Learning: The Example of To Kill a Mockingbird

About this webpage

Cover of "To Kill a Mockingbird" : Scout, a mockingbird, and a tree in silhouette against a full moon. The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, & Communication at Cal State Northridge hosted a professional development event for K-12 teachers on November 6, 2010. This page offers resources originally presented as part of that event by David Aks (professor of Music) and Cheryl Spector (professor of English) as part of a session on incorporating music into the teaching of literature.

Session handouts

(Note: You can view .pdf documents on this page using free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

  1. "Orchestrating Teaching: Making Musical Connections to Your Curriculum": graphic organizer (.pdf, 34KB)
  2. "Finding Music Anywhere, Anytime": some suggestions as you begin working with a text in your own classroom (.pdf, 29KB)
  3. Matching music to the time of your text: "A Cheat Sheet for Teachers" (.pdf, 25KB)
  4. Session description: "Our lives today (and those of our students) are orchestrated: music is with us wherever we go. We can use this aspect of contemporary life to our advantage when we teach written texts, by using the implicit and explicit music surrounding the characters' lives to inform and increase our understanding of their place and their time. Our example text is To Kill a Mockingbird. Session includes audience participation and interaction."

The music we found and the book chapter we paired with it

  1. The song of the mockingbird: (ch. 28; also ch. 10)
  2. "Sourwood Mountain": "fiddlin' and things like that" (ch. 23; also ch. 26)
  3. Movie trailer for Dracula: Dill's "revelation" to Scout and Jem (ch. 1)
  4. "Cheek to Cheek": radios (ch. 29 and elsewhere)
  5. Pedal organ: Mrs. Merriweather (ch. 24)
  6. "Nearer My God to Thee": in church with Atticus (ch. 15)
  7. "Long Way to Travel": with Zeebo in Calpurnia's church (ch. 12)
  8. "Dixie" ("I wish I was in the land of cotton"): the high school band in Maycomb County's Halloween pageant (ch. 28)

Please let us know if you have further suggestions or questions about our session

Email Cheryl Spector (English professor) or email David Aks (Music professor) and we'll be happy to hear from you.