Music Education

STate education specialist in music

Perpich Center’s Music Education Specialist serves the work of Minnesota music educators and administrators through dynamic face-to-face and online workshops, consultation, and professional development customized to school or district needs.

Michael Buck, PhD, is Minnesota’s Music Education Specialist. Currently, a major part of his work centers around implementation of the 2018 Minnesota Academic Standards in Music. Along with the new standards and benchmarks, Buck actively engages in many related topics including:

  • Standards-based grading
  • Curriculum mapping
  • Create – Perform – Respond – Connect strands of the standards
  • Assessment in the music room
  • Student retention in ensembles
  • Culturally relevant teaching
  • Student choice and voice
  • Core literacy through music

You can expect a rigorous, yet pragmatic, approach to your questions and requests.

Michael Buck, phD, music education specialist  |  763-279-4285

Michael Buck, PhD currently serves as the Music Education Specialist for Perpich Center for Arts Education and Director of the Norseman Band at St. Olaf College. Previously, Dr. Buck held higher education posts at The College of St. Scholastica and Augsburg University.

Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Buck served over twenty years as a K-12 instrumental music educator in Minnesota and in two overseas American international schools.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Buck has enjoyed making music in numerous groups including church choir, community choir, barbershop choir, brass band, community band, community orchestra, brass quintet, and an acapella vocal sextet.

Dr. Buck has presented peer-reviewed research projects and workshops in local, regional, national, and international settings. His work includes appearances at the International Symposium of Assessment in Music Education (ISAME), the International Society for Music Education/European Association for Music in Schools (ISME/EAS), Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA), the South Asia International Schools Association (SAISA), the College Music Society/Association for Technology in Music Instruction (CMS/ATMI), the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA), the Minnesota Band Directors Association (MBDA) and Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Dr. Buck’s professional areas of expertise include assessment/evaluation, teaching/learning pedagogy, music curriculum development, brain research on music, and music technology.

An active band and orchestra clinician, Dr. Buck has led numerous festivals and workshops, and is a frequent guest conductor of regional and conference festivals.

Dr. Buck’s leadership roles include chair of the Minnesota chapter of the College Band Directors National Association (MN CBDNA), MMEA Band Vice President, MMEA All-State Band and Orchestra section coach, and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony section coach (GTCYS).

Dr. Buck holds degrees in music education and conducting from The University of Southern Mississippi, VanderCook College of Music, and St. Olaf College.

Dr. Wendy Barden, Director of Professional Development and Resource Programs, talks about the MusEd Conference in August, 2019, when she was Music Education Specialist. This one week conference brings together music educators from across the state for professional development and networking.

Curriculum Resources for K-12 Music

Here are many standards-based resources – developed with the 2018 music benchmarks in mind – that have been created especially for your K-12 music classrooms. These resources look like “worksheets” because that’s the easiest way to communicate ideas to you. For in-person, hybrid, or distance learning: feel free to use the resources “as is,” cut them apart, use sections, and/or put them in a new format that best fits your students and teaching situation.

Lesson experiences are grouped in several categories. In each category, a table of contents introduces the lessons with suggested grade levels, “I can…” statements, whether internet is required, and a short description. A video introduction is included in the categories of Social Emotional Learning and Music of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.

  • Intentionally Address Social Emotional Learning through Music – In the music classroom, applying opportunities to support student development in Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Skills
  • Music of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities
  • Create (and Connect) lessons – Generating original music with intent
  • Perform (and Connect) lessons – Sharing existing music using interpretive or re-creative skills with respect to the cultural or historical context in which it was created
  • Respond (and Connect) lessons – Listening to and analyzing, describing, or evaluating music with respect to the context in which it was created
  • Everything Beethoven! – Celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth (December 1770)
  • Foundations or Combine Standards lessons
  • Instrumental Intonation Skills Assessment
Instrumental Intonation Skills Assessment

"I always come away from your workshops with things that I can immediately apply in my classes plus you get me thinking outside the box on ways I can improve."

Heidi Olson, Big Lake Schools

“Thank you for your time and expertise today with our music needs. Your insights for retaining students in the music program and assessment ideas were invaluable.”

Bloomington Secondary Music Department, Jane Lescarbeau, Curriculum & Instruction Specialist

“Today’s workshop showed me that many 'small parts' make an impressive 'whole.'"

Linda Smith, Avon Schools

“I'm always looking for ways to tie engagement and extension activities that help connect our concerts to learning outside of the concert hall. The formats and various breakdowns of the standards and benchmarks make it so easy for me to make these extra lessons I'm creating applicable and relevant.”

Eleanor GrandPre, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Education Manager

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Why music education matters?

Perpich Center believes in art education for all. We are here as a resource to ensure all children can participate in and benefit from the arts.

  1. Music opens pathways to creative thinking. Music training sharpens other qualities like collaboration, the ability to listen, thinking that weaves together disparate ideas, and the power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.
  2. A study of students ages 9 and 12 who took part in extended music classes found they reported higher satisfaction at school in almost every area, even those not related to the music classes themselves. Participation in sports or visual arts classes did not present similar benefits.
  3. “A kid with a music degree isn’t limited to a performance or teaching career. Musicians are everywhere. We are project managers, marketers, Finance folks, IT people and engineers. In my twenty-some years as a corporate HR person, I was always impressed by the way musical people excelled at logic and non-linear thinking, both.”
  4. The arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds that students will go on to graduate from college.
  5. Students in high quality music education programs outperformed those in lower-quality programs in standardized tests of English and mathematics. Scientists now believe that the changes in the brain caused by music training can lead to improvements in general cognitive skills like memory, attention, and reading ability, all of which are predictive of educational outcomes.
1. Joanne Lipman, “Is Music the Key to Success?”, The New York Times, October 12, 2013
2. Eerola & Eerola, “Extended music education enhances the quality of school life,” Music Education Research, Volume 16, 2014 – Issue 1
3. Liz Ryan, “Let the kids study music, already!”, Forbes, September 3, 2014
4. Secretary Arne Duncan, “The Well-Rounded Curriculum,” Remarks at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC, April 9, 2010.
5. Johnson, CM and Memott, JE, “Examination of Relationships between Participants in School Music Programs of Differing Quality and Standardized Test Results, Journal of Research in Music Education (Winter 2006), Volume 54, Number 4


Workshop Examples

  • Implementing the New Creating & Responding Benchmarks in K-12 Music
  • Performance Assessment in the Music Room
  • Standards Based Grading in Music
  • Demonstration School Visits
  • MusEd Summer Series – happens every August at Perpich!
  • and more!