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Sample Music Standards for Students in Grades 5-8

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Content Standard: Students improvise music in a variety of styles.

Achievement Standard:Students:

  • Improvise short original pieces and variations on existing pieces, using voices or instruments (e.g., traditional, nontraditional, electronic).
  • Improvise music that demonstrates originality and imagination in choices of tempo, rhythm, timbre, dynamics, and sound sources for expressive purposes.
  • 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.

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