Music Matters: No More Textbooks

by Abby @ Quaver on October 6, 2011

in At Quaver HQ,In the Quaver Classroom!,Music Matters,

Dave Mastran,  Co-creator & Executive Producer of Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music &, is back again with another edition of Music Matters!

Today you’ll hear a bit of the behind-the-scenes brain work that went into creating Quaver’s resources as an alternative to textbooks. Dave has spent years researching and digging into the world of education, and I’m excited to pull back the curtain and let him speak on what he’s learned.

Take it away, Dave . . .


Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music finds itself in competition with textbooks – of all things!   Our experience has shown that money is set aside in schools either for textbooks or for technology, but not for technology-based teaching resources.

Schools spend millions of dollars on music textbooks each year. A mini-bureaucracy  is needed in each state to manage the content and procurement of these textbooks, while adhering to a strict set of contracting rules.  Every six years or so, two major companies compete with each other for these sales. The amazing thing about the textbooks is that they that seem to have the same content for all grades, yet every grade needs its own textbook according to the rules!

At Quaver, we’ve worked hard to put together comprehensive online and video resources for teaching music.  Each episode has a corresponding Teachers Guide full of activity ideas for teachers to choose from, but we don’t have any textbooks.  Plus – our teaching resources are good for all grades, customizable by the expert – the teacher!

Our goal is to take advantage of technology to provide the latest interactive, innovative environment for teachers to help kids learn music. It’s the teacher’s job to use these resources in the way most effective for his or her class.   That’s an individual decision and allows customization of the lesson plans.

Quaver’s online resources can be updated practically every day – not every six years – and are designed for entertainment and fun.   They are accessible both at school and at home.   Kids can learn to love music where ever they gather and however they play – with video games and in virtual worlds.  There are no textbooks to buy or lug home.

By our calculations, textbooks are at least five times more expensive than Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music for just one school over a six-year period.  We also believe the books are only a fraction as comprehensive or effective.

I believe, it’s time.
For more music.
For more technology.
For more cost-effective, interactive teaching.
I believe it’s time for no more textbooks.

What do you think?

How do you use textbooks and/or technology?

What resources would you need in your classroom to make you trade in the textbooks?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah October 11, 2011 at 10:17 pm

As a kid, I remember coming into music class, sitting down (on hard uncomfortable benches), opening our books and singing songs for 30 minutes. We all stared longingly at the Orff instruments and begged to play the drums. I remember thinking, “Music has to be more interesting than this!”
When I walked into my first classroom 10 years ago, I vowed never to use the books. My kids had hands on, noisy, and FUN lessons that (I hope) showed them just how awesome music can be. We are still learning the theory and concepts just like the books teach but we learn them inside of a great song or game. It takes (a lot) more time but it is worth it to me.
Quaver’s materials totally fit into my teaching philosophy. I love that there are visual pieces, listening examples, and fun songs and technology activities to reach all learners. Plus, his engaging presence sucks the kids in and they talk about it for days after we do a lesson!
Technology is amazing and the fact that I can send a kid home with a website and say, “Here. Go and practice what we learned today ONLINE” They eat that up. Your website is fabulous. Just fabulous.
I gave up my textbook years ago for more hands-on, engaging, and technology filled lessons. I would encourage more people to do the same!


2 Abby @ Quaver October 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

Thanks so much for your words, Sarah! They are an encouragement to all of us at Quaver! Keep up the great work!


3 Donna Berg May 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

LOVE the Quaver lessons. They are action packed and filled to overflowing with information and application. The quizzes are GREAT – smart board activities too – and the kids LOVE going home and using the website. I have two midi lab computer stations in my classrooms for more hands on application.

Our district bought us music curriculum textbooks about 5 years ago. I have never used them for lessons but more for music that supplements my lessons and performances. I am so excited to use Quaver’s lessons as the centerpiece of my curriculum next year.

For music teachers out there who are looking for textbooks – STOP right there. You will be SO much better served by purchasing the Quaver products. The time has come to use the technology we have in our classrooms and in our students homes – and spend our classroom dollars on 21st century learning tools like these.


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