Music Curriculum

Some may ask, what do elementary students learn in music class? My 
response is what DON'T they learn?! Singing, dancing, and playing musical 
instruments involves both sides of the brain and engages all modes of 
learning; i.e., visual, aural, tactile/kinesthetic, and cooperative. Music 
as a subject itself integrates language arts, social studies, science, and 
mathematics, which are all necessary to properly understand music. 
Conversely, music aids in understanding and reinforcing these concepts, 
while also adding a little "spice" to the standard curriculum. Finally, 
participating in the performing arts allows children to play and 
appreciate the beauty of the world in a way few other activities can.

Kindergarteners begin by learning to find their singing voices, match 
pitch, and keep a steady beat. We incorporate song through familiar 
stories and learn to play various non-pitched percussion instruments. We 
learn to move our bodies in place and through space with simple movement 
games and dances, and begin to explore quarter note, beamed eighth notes, 
and quarter rest rhythms.

First Graders continue to explore their singing voices and steady beat, 
and perfecting these skills if they have not yet mastered them. We will 
dip our toe into singing rounds. We continue playing non-pitched 
percussion and will also add pitched percussion (barred instruments, such 
as the xylophone) into our exploration of stories and games. First graders 
should become proficient by the end of this year at identifying, reading, 
and performing quarter notes, beamed eighth notes, and quarter rest 
rhythms. We will also learn more challenging dances and movement 

Second Graders should attain proficiency with matching pitch and keeping a 
steady beat by the end of second grade. We will add the half note onto our 
rhythm repertoire as well as explore singing rounds and canons. Second 
grade will learn more complex accompaniments on the barred instruments. 
Second grade can also do more complex partner dances and beginning square 
dance concepts.

Third Graders begin learning to play recorder and read music, and are 
assessed on their proficiency with this instrument through Recorder 
Karate, wherein they receive "belts" to put on their recorders when each 
new note is learned. They also continue with pitched percussion, learning 
accompaniments, ostinati, and color parts, and will be assessed on their 
proficiency with these instruments and concepts as well. Syncopated 
rhythms are added to the existing rhythmic repertoire, and they learn the 
difference between major and minor modes. Third graders can do beginning 
line dances as well as complex group and square dances.

Fourth Graders continue learning more advanced recorder notes and music 
through Recorder Karate. Barred instrument instruction and assessment 
continues, with the addition of playing melodies. They add sixteenth notes 
to their rhythm repertoire, and begin learning the major scale formula as 
well as how to compose music. Fourth graders can sing partner songs (basic 
two part harmony). Fourth graders can also do beginning line dances as 
well as complex group and square dances.

Fifth Graders aim to achieve a black belt in Recorder Karate, which means 
they are able to assist the teacher in helping struggling students. 
Playing four part orchestrations with voice as a class, including thirds 
and functional harmony, on barred instruments is another goal. Very 
complex dances, such as the Virginia Reel, are both challenging and fun 
for this group. Students should be proficient at reading music both with 
voice and selected instruments by the end of fifth grade. Fifth graders 
should understand the difference between melody and harmony, identify 
basic chord progressions, and sing two or more independent vocal parts in 
a group. Future opportunities in music (band, choir, and orchestra) at the 
junior high and high school levels are discussed and facilitated whenever 
possible through visits, notifications, and extra band/orchestra 

Music Curriculum Links

Ohio Department of Education Music Standards, K-12

Twelve Benefits of Music Education

Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA)

National Association for Music Education (NAfME)