Frequently Asked Questions

How do I access the lesson plans? To access the detailed lesson plans and media, you must submit a request by completing our online form.  You can choose to receive hard copy materials or only have electronic access to the curriculum.  Each volume of curriculum is free to educators in northeastern Illinois; there is a modest charge of $15 for educators outside the region.  Once you have submitted your request, you will receive a password that will enable you to access all areas of this website.

Do I need to be a music teacher to use this curriculum? No. This curriculum is designed to be accessible for classroom teachers with little or no experience with music education. Elementary music teachers and other arts specialists have also found this curriculum to be useful.

How can I increase my comfort level in teaching this material? The Orchestra Explorers curriculum becomes quite accessible when teachers attend an Orchestra Explorers teacher workshop. Workshops are offered throughout the school year in locations across the Chicago metropolitan area.  For information about upcoming workshops, please click here.

How long does the curriculum take to teach? Each volume of the curriculum can take a few weeks to teach if used multiple times a week. Conversely, it can also be spread out over an entire quarter, teaching approximately one unit a week.

For which grade levels is Orchestra Explorers intended? This curriculum can be adapted to teach grades kindergarten through three, however teachers outside this grade band have found Orchestra Explorers to be very successful.

Do I have to teach all of the lessons in the curriculum? No. You are the expert in your classroom. Feel free to choose which lessons best meet the needs of your students.

Can I add my own material to the lessons? Yes, absolutely. We encourage teachers to modify and enhance the curriculum to best fit the needs of their students.  We also encourage teachers to share their modifications with us, using the comment widget at the bottom of each unit page.

How do I use the Orchestra Explorers playlist?  Playlists are embedded within each unit.  Individual tracks appear within each lesson and a full playlist of tracks appears at the bottom of each unit page.  Just click on the track you want to hear!

What other resources does the Chicago Symphony Orchestra offer for my classroom? For more information on other resources and programs offered by the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, please click here.

Submit another question by emailing us at orchestraexplorers@cso.org.