Foundations of Music

  • Elementary music provides a foundation for future music making.  Concepts of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre are emphasized throughout these experiences.  In elementary music, students learn to match pitch, remember and sing a melody, recognize common melodic patterns, keep a steady beat, remember and perform rhythm patterns, play and identify instruments with different timbres, and perform music that includes interacting parts. 

  • Singing

    Singing is at the heart of music-making, and it is a regular part of instruction throughout the elementary music programs.  In addition to vocal technique, students learn to sing a wide variety of songs, remember melodies, and develop the ear.

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  • Orff & Percussion

    Other developmentally appropriate instruments for the elementary level include the Orff instruments of xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels, and a wide range of percussion instruments such as drums, shakers, scrapers, wood blocks, triangles, finger cymbals, and many more.  A wide variety of percussion ensemble experiences develop concepts of rhythm, timbre, and harmony.

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  • Recorder

    All students learn to play the recorder, which requires breathe support, fine motor coordination, and learning to read music notation in the treble clef.  This provides a solid foundation for students continuing in the middle school instrumental music programs.

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  • Responding & Connecting

    Children are introduced to a wide variety of musical styles, composers, and performers.  They have opportunities to respond in various ways, including discussing, writing, drawing, and moving.  Movement is a natural response to music, and clapping, stomping, jumping, and other movements are regular parts of music classes.  Movement can be improvised, or choreographed.  Music is deeply connected to history and culture.  Students are exposed to a wide variety of musical cultures, and learn historical context and various musical styles.  In addition, they explore connections to other subjects, such as science and sound.  

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K-12 Music Standards

  • Early experiences in music lay the foundation and develop skills, concepts, behaviors, and dispositions essential for future arts participation.  Instruction is sequential, and grounded in the NC Essential Standards for Arts Education.

    Musical Literacy

    ML.1 Apply the elements of music and musical techniques in order to sing and play music with accuracy and expression.

    ML.2 Interpret the sound and symbol systems of music.

    ML.3 Create music using a variety of sound and notational sources.

    Musical Response

    MR.1 Understand the interacting elements to respond to music and music performances.

    Contextual Relevancy

    CR.1 Understand global, interdisciplinary, and 21st century connections with music.  


    View the complete NC Essential Standards for Arts Education for grade-specific clarifying objectives.