Grades 6-8 Learning Expectations — Choral Music

By the end of Eighth Grade, students are expected to:

Vocal Technique
  • Understand that healthy vocal technique is critical to lifelong singing.  Posture, breathing, and resonance are the foundations of healthy vocal technique.
  • Understand that diction includes vowels and consonants.  Singers use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to identify pronunciation in English and other languages.  Consistency of vowels and consonants helps to produce a blended choral sound.
  • Understand that every adolescent will progress through an individual voice change at his or her own pace.  By understanding the physical development of the changing voice, students are able to facilitate singing through this change.
Music Literacy and Ear-Training
  • Appreciate that music notation is a universal language that allows musicians around the world to perform works created by someone else.  It preserves ideas in written form for future generations.
  • Understand that a strong foundation in music literacy allows a singer to learn music faster and become a more independent musician.
  • Learn rhythmic values in various time signatures, pitch and associated solfege syllables and hand signs, and standard notational symbols for dynamics, tempo, articulation, and expression.
Repertoire
  • Understand that by studying music of various cultures and style periods, we are able to experience and connect with people who may be different than us.
  • Appreciate that music is a universal language that can be understood and experienced by all human beings.
  • Learn expression appropriate to the work being performed and will learn about the culture from which each piece originates.
Structural and Musical Expression
  • Understand that music is the symbolic representation of human emotion.  Certain expressive elements can be emphasized to enhance the aesthetic experience.
  • Develop criteria for evaluating the quality and effectiveness of musical performances and compositions and apply the criteria in their personal listening and performing.
  • Apply appropriate musical expression, including phrasing and phrase destination, dynamic shading, rubato, tone color, articulation, facial expression appropriate to text meaning, and diction appropriate to the culture, period, and language.
Choral Ensemble Performance Skills
  • Understand that choral singing is different from solo singing.  Choral music demands a synchronization, cooperation, and collaboration between the conductor and every singer in the choir.
  • Sing in performance with correct pitches and intonation, maintaining their own parts; sing with accurate rhythm; sing with correct interpretation of dynamics, phrasing, expression, and style appropriate to the music; and sing with good tone quality and blend through proper vocal technique.
  • Learn the terminology and application of all elements of musical expression and interpret appropriate conducting gestures in choral performance.
Grades 6-8 Learning Expectations — Instrumental Music

By the end of Eighth Grade, students are expected to:

Fundamental Skills
  • Understand the value of reading music as a language and communicate with others through music,  regardless of cultural and language background.
  • Learn and apply the following musical concepts:  note value, rhythm, pitch, intonation, intervals, accidentals, articulation, dynamics, tempo, and form.
  • Be able discuss the parts of the instrument and basic instrument care, as well as the history of the instrument.
  • Demonstrate good tone quality in performance through good posture and technique.
Rhythm
  • Understand that rhythm is the foundation of music and serves as the central force in synchronizing performers.
  • Master rhythmic counting and subdivision and correctly analyze and perform rhythms as notated on the page.  An understanding of downbeats and upbeats is stressed.
  • Interpret and perform rhythms using note values from whole through sixteenth notes and rests, using syncopation, dotted rhythms, and triplet patterns.
  • Understand simple and compound meters in varying time signatures and apply these concepts in identifying strong and weak beats.
Melody
  • Understand that the main ideas of compositions are expressed through melody.  Students will identify stepwise and skipping motion and corresponding intervals, phrasing and phrase direction, nuance, and the rise and fall of the line.  In addition, the relationship between melody and harmony is understood.
  • Discuss and apply performance practices appropriate to the style, culture, or historical period.
Harmony
  • Understand that harmony is used as a tool to complement melody and is studied to understand its impact on human emotion.
  • Study the major and minor modes and the aesthetic influences of each mode.  Chords and intervals are studied and applied to concert repertoire.  Harmonic progressions are identified and used in improvisation.
Performance
  • Develop a freedom to be more expressive, to increase self-esteem, and to develop a lifelong understanding of the art and language of music.
  • Explore music from a variety of cultures and styles.  The background information pertaining to each work and composer is reviewed.
  • Perform with appropriate style, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, tempo, intonation, balance, and ensemble blending.  Students respond to appropriate conducting gestures.
  • Learn and practice appropriate rehearsal and concert etiquette.