Instrumental Music

These take a look at what a typical student at the end of an identified grade span would look like in terms of understanding and sophistication of thinking. These documents look at the big picture, not specific skills or content the student will encounter to gain this expertise. 

Grades K-2:  By the end of grade 2 students will sing simple songs, alone and in unison, with appropriate voice quality. Students will perform simple rhythms and melodic patterns, alone and with others, on instruments. Students will identify basic written notation and simple forms of music, both visually and aurally. Students will respond with purposeful movement in relation to the style and context of music. Students interpret and compare musical selections for mood, purpose, and style. Students will aurally and visually identify orchestral instruments and human voices. Students will demonstrate appropriate audience and performance etiquette.

Grades 3-5:  By the end of grade 5 students will sing simple songs with appropriate voice quality, and with others in two parts in an ensemble. Students will identify and perform basic written notation on a variety of pitched and unpitched instruments. Students will perform independent instrumental parts while others sing or play contrasting parts. Students will use simple notation to record musical ideas through a variety of media. Students will demonstrate appropriate audience and performance etiquette and engage in critiques of musical performance. Students will study historical aspects of musical selections, musical composers, and connect music to other disciplines through a variety of avenues.

Grades 6-8:  By the end of grade 8 students use critical thinking skills to identify the theme of a musical selection and reflect on why the composer chose the theme; examine two musical selections looking for commonalities and differences; identify fundamental elements, such as key signatures, time signatures, standard notations, of musical composition; and discuss how they would use these elements in writing music. Students exhibit complex communication skills through their ability to organize practice sessions and conveying intentions of a musical selection through their performance. Students can demonstrate fundamental dynamics and interpretations. Students listen to musical selections targeting balance, blend, etc. They show creativity while developing context for an original theme and arranging an existing one into a new setting; writing based on musical performances; taking part in planning, designing, and problem solving while preparing for a variety of performances. They write a short melody over a simple chord progression. Students improvise solos of eight to sixteen bar length and compose melodies for themselves. Students demonstrate evidence of positive collaboration skills through performing alone or in small ensembles, managing their time and energies effectively, using a novice level of critiquing another’s performance, and accepting other’s critiques of their own performances. They make decisions regarding relevant aspects of music and possess the openness to trying new techniques. Students are able to self-monitor their time, quality and quantity of participation.

Grades 9-12: By the end of grade 12 students discuss a composer’s intent for compositional techniques including style and cultural region; play a musical selection in multiple ways and analyze the results; listen to advanced selections targeting balance, blend, etc.; interpret musical styles including several languages; write a melody over a given chord progression. They will collaborate and perform accurately based on a conductor’s movements and instructions and are able to develop their own interpretation of a selection of music based on other’s interpretations. Students improvise solos of longer bar length than prior to high school; compose melodies for themselves and small groups; create writings using music as a guide; dissect difficult rhythms in order to learn difficult selections of music. They organize rehearsal schedules; perform publicly; value their own and other’s contributions to the performance of an ensemble and how other disciplines are connected. They listen with a critical ear to make adjustments in execution of performance, developing self-monitoring skills as they progress. Students take responsibility for preparing for lessons, sectionals, and performances. Students evaluate performances based upon established criteria and develop musical performance skills that satisfy the criteria for a successful performance.
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