The following is a sample outline for a five-day Topics in Tempo educational program.
Lesson 1: Language Arts
A Topics in Tempo teacher discusses elements that comprise a story (characters, setting, action, problem, solution) as well as structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution). Students listen to a recording of the Topics in Tempo music and, using a worksheet provided, create a story inspired by this music.
Lesson 2: Math
Students study fractions and math functions by exploring rhythm and beat division in music. They create a cardboard triangle and square and compare and contrast these shapes while comparing and contrasting the rhythmic feeling of music with 3 or 4 beats per measure. This comparison is accomplished by marching to a recording of a variety of music and by becoming maestros who conduct the Topics in Tempo music.
Lesson 3: Social studies
A Topics in Tempo teacher speaks to students on communication and sharing.
Lesson 4: Science
A professional violin maker discusses the way sound travels, exploring concepts such as the Doppler Effect. The violin maker explains how these concepts are used in the making of a violin. Students view instrument making tools and pieces of a violin.
Lesson 5: Live professional performance
Topics in Tempo culminates in a live performance with professional musicians in the student’s classroom or auditorium. The musicians use elements from the previous four lessons to fully integrate the subjects of language arts, math, social studies, science and music. The musicians introduce each instrument and answer students’ questions. Playing small bits of the Topics in Tempo music, the musicians suggest an action that the students perform when they hear that bit of music (wiggle the fingers, conduct, sway left and right). The professional musicians then perform the Topics in Tempo music in its entirety.