The Lower School music program works to foster an environment in which students develop musical literacy through active, creative participation in individual and group experiences; gain understanding of our rich musical heritage and those of other cultures; and develop an appreciation of the connections between music and other forms of artistic expression. Incorporated into these guiding principles are pertinent areas of study as defined by the State and National Standards for Arts Education. These include: listening, creating/improvising, movement, rhythm, singing, reading and writing notation, playing instruments, and evaluating and understanding artistic culture.

The Lower School music program strives to create the necessary time and space for exploratory play, and provides scaffolding that guides students toward musical form and understanding. The following are specific curriculum goals organized by grade level.

Music - Early Childhood

The major goals for early childhood students in Music are to:

  • keep a steady pulse
  • use motions with songs
  • distinguish between high and low pitches
  • match pitches
  • begin to develop head voice
  • experiment with a variety of instruments and sound sources
  • perform simple beats on percussion instruments
  • create songs by combining original words and melodies
  • include music in creative play

Music - Kindergarten & Grade 1

The major goals for kindergarten and first-grade students in Music are to:

  • move to a steady pulse
  • learn simple circle games, circle and line dances
  • echo short rhythmic phrases
  • distinguish fast/slow, long/short, same/different
  • understand and match high and low pitches
  • know the difference between the speaking voice and singing voice, and between using the head voice and chest voice
  • sing with and without a variety of accompaniments
  • sing loud and soft
  • recognize difference between duple and triple meters
  • perform a steady beat on percussive instruments
  • play instruments using gross motor skills (frame drums, tambourine, maracas, triangle, rhythm sticks, and barred instruments)
  • perform and improvise ostinato patterns
  • improvise instrumental accompaniments for songs, poems, etc.
  • improvise songs using proper singing voice
  • experience various musical styles and cultures
  • begin to identify musical forms

Music - Grades 2-3

The major goals for second- and third-grade students in Music are to:

  • tap, pat, clap, and chant rhythms while performing a steady beat
  • perform more complex dances in circles, lines, squares, and with partners
  • respond to changes in tempo, rhythm, and texture through movement
  • replicate rhythmic patterns
  • sing with appropriate dynamics and articulation
  • begin to sing from notation
  • begin to sing basic harmony, partner songs, and rounds
  • play music by ear
  • play an independent part in a small musical ensemble
  • play recorder with proper hand position and breath support
  • improvise within form and structure
  • perform, read, and write basic rhythmic notation
  • read and perform music in treble clef
  • notate short creations in standard and non-standard notation
  • identify a variety of instruments by sight and sound
  • identify the instruments of the orchestra
  • understand the differences between opinions and evaluation of music
  • describe musical concepts with appropriate terminology: tempo, dynamics, form, instrumentation, major, or minor
  • perform, read, and write rhythm patterns with quarter and eighth notes, and rests in duple and triple meter

Music - Grades 4-5

The major goals for fourth- and fifth-grade students in Music are to:

  • perform choreographed movement to music
  • recognize and respond to meter in 2’s, 3’s, and asymmetric meters (5/8, 7/8)
  • sing expressively, with appropriate dynamics, phrasing, and interpretation
  • perform canons, rounds, descants, ostanati, and counter melodies
  • sing in groups, matching dynamic levels and following conductor cues
  • perform two-part music
  • read, write and perform simple notation using solfege (singing by syllables)
  • demonstrate proper technique on various instruments and participate in ensemble playing
  • create and arrange music to accompany readings or dramatizations
  • create and arrange short songs and instrumental pieces
  • use a variety of sound sources when composing
  • use standard symbols to identify and notate meter, rhythm, pitch, and dynamics
  • identify and label sections of music
  • perform, read, and write quarter, eighth and dotted notes, and rests
  • improvise melodically and harmonically
  • demonstrate knowledge of various musical styles from different cultures
  • use appropriate musical terminology in explaining music notation, instruments and voices, and performances
  • discuss applications of music in contemporary society
  • identify composers, their periods of music, and important facts about their lives