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become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Spring 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Help! What Do I Teach When? Designing or Revising a Standards-based Curriculum for K-8 Vocal Music Classes


February 12-May 3, 2024

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits*


$1,125 is due in full with registration. A $15 Early Bird Discount will be applied until January 14.


  • This course will feature a practical approach to designing (if no curriculum exists) or revising your present elementary vocal music curriculum. The focus will be on both sides of the elementary vocal music experience: classroom general music and beginning choir. We will also look at representative activities and materials that can be used to teach curricular concepts in both areas. 
  • Special considerations in choir will include: teaching pitch-matching, incorporating multi-modal teaching, understanding and assisting with boys’ changing voices, developing literacy skills (pitch and rhythm) through the use of solfege, developing healthy vocal technique through warm-ups, and exploring repertoire that supports a standards-based curriculum using rounds and a variety of genres. 
  • Special considerations in classroom general music will include: sequencing musical concepts by grade level (pitch, rhythm, form, etc, based loosely on solfege and Kodaly sequence); teaching standards-based curricular concepts using the processes of the National Core Arts/Illinois Fine Arts Standards: creating, responding performing, connecting; exploring activities and materials that support a standards-based curriculum.
  • The final project will consist of designing (for those with no current curriculum) or revising (for those with a current district or school curriculum) a practical and usable K-8 vocal music curriculum which will minimally include K-4 gen music and (3-4) 5-8 choirs. This document will be customized for the individual’s teaching situation and may also include supplementary materials, activities, and a pacing guide (what to teach when). Assignments will be made throughout the semester to guide the student toward completion of the final project using various templates. Students will work on the curriculum project individually but with feedback from the professor and colleagues.

* This course is offered at two course levels. Students enrolled in the MMEd program at VanderCook are eligible to enroll for the 500 course number. Students not enrolled in the MMEd program who wish to earn graduate credit as a MECA Continuing Education student should register for the four digit course number. The difference in credits earned and tuition cost is attributed to the difference in tuition rates for the MMEd and MECA Continuing Education programs. If you are unsure which section is best for you, please contact us directly at [email protected].


Chat Session

Thursday evenings: 5-7:30PM Central



Required Text(s)

 Brumfield, Susan. (2014) First, We Sing! Kodaly-Inspired Teaching for the Music Classroom, Hal Leonard. [$17.91 on Amazon]

Highly Recommended Text: Denise Odegaard, Music Curriculum Writing 101: Assistance with Standards-based Music Curriculum and Assessment Writing K-12, Second Edition; GIA Publications [$38.95] 

Learning Platform Information (Online Courses Only)

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


Leslie Manfredo

Leslie Manfredo

Choral/Elementary General Music

A native of Indiana, Leslie Manfredo received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Indiana University and Master’s degrees in Music Education and Educational Organization and Leadership (EOL) from the University of Illinois. Retired in June of 2017, Leslie served as the Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Illinois State University for 5 years, where she directed the women’s choirs, taught music education courses in choral conducting and choral methods, and assisted with edTPA student teacher preparation. Previous to her tenure at ISU, she taught public school vocal music for 23 years at all levels in Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee and directed choirs at the Elementary, Junior High, Senior High, and adult levels in both school and non-school settings. In addition, she served as a full-time Church Music Director for St. Mary Cathedral in West Lafayette, IN and the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana for 7 years. Leslie was a National Board Certified teacher (EAYA Music) and holds Illinois licensure in General Administration as well as teaching.

Leslie has served as a festival guest conductor, contest adjudicator, and choral clinician; has published articles for the State Music Education Journal; and has presented many sessions at the Illinois Music Education Conference (IMEC). She was honored to receive the Mary Hoffman Award of Excellence in 2017 from the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA). Over the years, Leslie’s choirs were invited to participate in numerous special performances: her elementary choirs sang with the Eastern Illinois Orchestra and in the Rotunda of the State capital; her Mahomet-Seymour High School Chamber Choir and Madrigals performed at the IMEC and the Millikin University Vocal Festival; and her ISU Choir, Belle Voix, performed at the IMEC as well as at the Benjamin Britten 100 Year Conference and the U of I Women’s Choir Festival. She served as a vocal instructor at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan for 5 years and at Illinois Summer Youth Music (ISYM) for 4 years. Leslie currently serves at the ACDA Central Division Treasurer and previously served as Treasurer for the Illinois Chapter of ACDA for 4 years and as IMEA District 3 Rep for 8 years.

In her retirement, Leslie has relocated to the South Loop of Chicago with her husband, Joe. In addition to taking advantage of all the cultural opportunities that the city offers, she also sings in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago and as a church musician at Old St. Mary’s Parish in the South Loop. In addition, Leslie serves in an adjunct capacity at Roosevelt University and Vandercook College of Music, where she supervises choral student teachers. She also scores edTPA music portfolios for Pearson and presents professional development sessions as an Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) Clinician. She and Joe have two adult children who live and work in the Chicago area, along with two beautiful granddaughters she loves to babysit on a regular basis.

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