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National Arts Standards from the Kennedy Center Arts Edge (We use these)


Grade 5-8 Music Standard 1

Content Standard

Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music


Achievement Standard


Students sing accurately and with good breath control throughout their singing ranges, alone and in small and large ensembles.


Students sing with expression and technical accuracy a repertoire of vocal literature with a level of difficulty of 2, on a scale of 1 to 6, including some songs performed from memory.


Students sing music written in two and three parts.


Students who participate in a choral ensemble sing with expression and technical accuracy a varied repertoire of vocal literature with a level of difficulty of 3, on a scale of 1 to 6, including some songs performed from memory.



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 2

Content Standard


Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music


Achievement Standard


Students perform on at least one instrument (e.g., band or orchestra instrument, keyboard instrument, fretted instrument, electronic instrument) accurately and independently, alone and in small and large ensembles, with good posture, good playing +E11 position, and good breath, bow, or stick control.


Students perform with expression and technical accuracy on at least one string, wind, percussion, or classroom instrument a repertoire of instrumental literature with a level of difficulty of 2, on a scale of 1 to 6.


Students perform music representing diverse genres and cultures, with expression appropriate for the work being performed.


Students play by ear simple melodies on a melodic instrument and simple accompaniments on a harmonic instrument.



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 3

Content Standard


Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments


Achievement Standard


Students improvise simple harmonic accompaniments.


Students improvise melodic embellishments and simple rhythmic and melodic variations on given pentatonic melodies and melodies in major keys.


Students improvise short melodies, unaccompanied and over given rhythmic accompaniments, each in a consistent style, meter, and tonality.



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 4

Content Standard


Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines


Achievement Standard


Students compose short pieces within specified guidelines (e.g., a particular style, form, instrumentation, compositional technique), demonstrating how the elements of music are used to achieve unity and variety, tension and release, and balance.


Students arrange simple pieces for voices or instruments other than those for which the pieces were written.


Students use a variety of traditional and nontraditional sound sources and electronic media when composing and arranging.



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 5

Content Standard

Reading and notating music


Achievement Standard


Students read whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and dotted notes and rests in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 3/8, and alla breve meter signatures.


Students read at sight simple melodies in both the treble and bass clefs.


Students identify and define standard notation symbols for pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, articulation, and expression.


Students use standard notation to record their musical ideas and the musical ideas of others.


Students who participate in a choral or instrumental ensemble or class sightread, accurately and expressively, music with a level of difficulty of 2, on a scale of 1 to 6



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 6

Content Standard


Listening to, analyzing, and describing music


Achievement Standard


Students describe specific music events (e.g., entry of oboe, change of meter, return of refrain) in a given aural example, using appropriate terminology.


Students analyze the uses of elements of music in aural examples representing diverse genres and cultures.


Students demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of meter, rhythm, tonality, intervals, chords, and harmonic progressions in their analyses of music



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 7

Content Standard


Evaluating music and music performances


Achievement Standard


Students develop criteria for evaluating the quality and effectiveness of music performances and compositions and apply the criteria in their personal listening and performing


Students evaluate the quality and effectiveness of their own and others' performances, compositions, arrangements, and improvisations by applying specific criteria appropriate for the style of the music and offer constructive suggestions for improvement.



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 8

Content Standard

Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts


Achievement Standard


Students compare in two or more arts how the characteristic materials of each art (that is, sound in music, visual stimuli in visual arts, movement in dance, human interrelationships in theatre) can be used to transform similar events, scenes, emotions, or ideas into works of art.


Students describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with those of music (e.g., language arts: issues to be considered in setting texts to music; mathematics: frequency ratios of intervals; sciences: the human hearing process and hazards to hearing; social studies: historical and social events and movements chronicled in or influenced by musical works).



Grade 5-8 Music Standard 9

Content Standard


Understanding music in relation to history and culture


Achievement Standard


Students describe distinguishing characteristics of representative music genres and styles from a variety of cultures.


Students classify by genre and style (and, if applicable, by historical period, composer, and title) a varied body of exemplary (that is, high-quality and characteristic) musical works and explain the characteristics that cause each work to be considered exemplary.


Students compare, in several cultures of the world, functions music serves, roles of musicians (e.g., lead guitarist in a rock band, composer of jingles for commercials, singer in Peking opera), and conditions under which music is typically performed.



Photo by Fernando Jones


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