SCORE with Student Engagement

As a band director, I conducted my fair share of performances. In case you’re wondering, it does involve a little more than just standing in front of the musicians flapping my arms! Creating a beautiful performance involves knowing how all the parts work together to achieve the musical goals of the composer. All of the pieces are noted on one single document for the conductor. That document is called the score. 

Can the score model used in music be beneficial in the non-music classroom? Certainly. In the article Strengthening Student Engagement: What Do Students Want?, authors Richard Strong, Harvey F. Silver, and Amy Robinson identify the following student needs to be met to increase student engagement using the acronym SCORE (

  1. Success. Students need to pursue mastery of content. They will likely feel they have the opportunity to succeed when the criteria for success is clearly articulated and when they receive quality feedback in a timely manner. 
  2. Curiosity. Students need to pursue answers to their questions. They will likely feel they have the opportunity to have their questions answered when they have stimulating information (i.e. they have conflicting hypotheses to consider or interesting questions) and when the topic is relevant to their daily lives. 
  3. Originality. Students need to pursue original expression of content understanding. They will likely feel they have the opportunity for originality when they have choice in product or content presentation, when they have some level of creative license given, and when they have an audience (i.e. they present to peers, other students, or other adults). 
  4. Relationships. Students need to interact with others in the learning process. They will likely feel they have the opportunity to build relationships when they work in a collaborative model (group works on the same parts of the problem to find a unified solution) or in a complementary model (group members work on unique parts of a problem and then come together to provide a unified solution – think “jigsaw puzzle” building). 
  5. Energy. Students need to energetically engage with content. They will likely feel they have the opportunity to energetically engage with content when the prior four elements – Success, Curiosity, Originality, and Relationships – are present in their daily classroom work. 

As you prepare for next week, think of ways you can include SCORE elements in your classroom. You and your students will be glad you did!

PS: My son is a composer. The image above is the first page of the musical score for his band piece Clown Car. It is is his first piece completed in 2022 and is available for purchase if you happen to have a band to conduct! One high school band and one university band have programmed the work for this spring. Pretty exciting stuff for the young man!

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