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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
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Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Stimulus Materials for Music

Stimulus materials are resources used in assessment activities to help establish context, purpose, and focus.   They should be developmentally appropriate and essential to the contextual framework of the task.   Stimulus materials for music items may be aural and/or visual.   They should be selected to represent the genres, styles, and forms of both Western music and those of a variety of other cultures.   They may include musical scores, samples of musical notation, and audio- and videotapes of performances (both informal and formal).

In most instances, stimulus materials are presented to students at the time of test administration.   However, some tasks may require advance listening, viewing, or other exposure to the material.   Students should not be expected to be familiar with particular works other than those for which preview instructions are provided.  

Obtaining Permission for Use of Copyrighted Material

Every published work of art is subject to restrictions for use.   Before downloading or reproducing any material for any purpose, it is important to research the conditions under which it may be used.   Works considered to be products of creative expression (or “intellectual property”) are protected by prevailing copyright laws.   Materials may take various forms such as text-based material, film or audio recordings, visual images, etc., and may be accessed from various sources such as books, commercially available video or audio tapes or CDs, or through the Internet.   Prior to making a stimulus selection for an assessment task, it is important to research the conditions under which materials may be downloaded, duplicated, and distributed.   The penalty for violating copyright law can be very severe.

Possible sources of stimulus materials for music include:

  • Commercial recordings, recordings of public events such as concerts and recitals (with permission), school-based and personal recordings, along with recordings made specifically for assessment purposes;
  • Visual resources including still images such as pictures, photographs, or drawings of instruments, people using musical instruments, venues for musical performances, and moving images (e.g., videotape, electronic displays) of musical performances that focus on performers or an audience; and
  • Music texts, including musical scores, notation, text about music (e.g., reviews, historical text), musicians, and aspects of culture related to music (e.g., folktales and legends about the origins of music).

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