Sample Music Standards for Students in Grades 5-8
Content Standard: Students improvise music in a variety of styles.
- Improvise short original pieces and variations on existing
pieces, using voices or instruments (e.g., traditional,
- Improvise music that demonstrates originality and imagination in
choices of tempo, rhythm, timbre, dynamics, and sound sources for
- Improvise on given musical materials (e.g., melodic patterns,
harmonic progressions) or within the conventions of a particular
style (e.g., blues, rock).
- Create thoughtful alterations and variations in familiar music
representing a variety of styles.
- Improvise simple melodies and rhythmic and harmonic accompaniments for live or recorded musical performances in a style appropriate for the specific work.
Content Standard: Students read music notation.
Achievement Standard: Students:
- Read music in standard notation with a level of difficulty of I,
on a scale of I to VI.
- Sing or play music from notation using rhythmic values of whole,
half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and dotted rhythms in 2/4, 3/4,
4/4, 6/8, 3/8, and 2/2 meters.
- Sing or play at sight simple rhythms, melodies in both the G
(treble) and F (bass) clefs, and chord symbols, including fingering
symbols for fretted instruments.
- Explain, and apply when performing, standard notation symbols for pitch, rhythm, articulation, dynamics, tempo, and expression.
Students who participate in a choral or instrumental ensemble or class:
- Read music in standard notation with a level of difficulty of II,
and sight-read music with a level of difficulty of I, on a scale of I
to VI, with attention to dynamics and expression.
- Read nonstandard notation symbols sometimes used in 20th-century music.
SOURCE: National Committee for Standards in the Arts.