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The music curriculum provides opportunities for students to connect to the world around them through creating, presenting, appreciating, and responding to music. As students become aware of the expressive elements of music, they develop insight into human experience. Foundational knowledge and understanding of the elements of music supports students in developing music literacy and skills through active musical engagement in the areas of singing, playing, listening, moving, reading, and writing. This knowledge serves as the foundation from which students can further develop an understanding of and appreciation for the beauty of music within historical, cultural, and contemporary contexts. Through creative processes, students learn that individual and collaborative music making fosters the expression of ideas, feelings, and experiences.
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Grade 6
Organizing Idea
Foundational Elements: Music literacy is developed through knowledge and application of foundational elements.
Guiding Question
How are musical structures represented across various musical contexts?
Learning Outcome
Students analyze musical structures to extend understanding of melody, rhythm, and harmony.
Pitch names ABCDEFG belonging to the grand staff and solfege can be used to structure a melody.

Melodies may be based on various scales, including
  • major or minor (diatonic)
  • pentatonic
  • blues
  • modes
Modes are scales that have existed since the Middle Ages and include Ionian, which is the same as the major diatonic scale.

A pentatonic scale with the addition of a raised 4th creates the structure for a blues scale.

A major and minor scale have a relative relationship, including
  • the relative minor of F major is d minor
  • the relative minor of G major is e minor
  • the relative minor of C major is a minor
Major and minor scales of the same key have the same key signature but a different home tone (tonic).

Key signatures are music symbols that indicate the key in which the music is written.

Key signatures are placed on the music staff at the beginning of a piece of music and include
  • F sharp to indicate the key of G major or e minor
  • B flat to indicate the key of F major or d minor
  • no key signature to indicate the key of C major or a minor
The rhythmic value of notes in 6/8 time are different than in simple metres and include
  • a quarter note, which is worth two beats
  • an eighth note, which is worth one beat
  • a dotted quarter note, which is worth three beats
A triplet rhythm structured with eighth notes is played in the space of one beat.
Melodic and rhythmic structures are foundational elements of music.

The structure of a melody changes when the rhythm changes.
Skills & Procedures
Explore how a melody can change when its rhythm changes.

Practise sight-reading rhythms and melodies.

Identify the absolute pitch names associated with the lines and spaces of the grand staff.

Experience major scales and minor scales in a variety of music activities.

Explore the function of a key signature.

Experience music structured on the 12-bar blues scale.

Notate from dictation rhythm patterns belonging to 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time signatures.

Sing and play music written in 6/8 time.
A complex harmony is structured with many tones and produces rich musical sounds, also known as texture, as found in
  • three- and four-part canons
  • two-part soprano/alto songs
  • descants
  • music arrangements with multiple parts
Many different kinds of chords can be used to accompany a melody.

A major chord is structured using the root note (tonic) and the third and fifth degrees of the scale. For example,
  • the C major chord contains the notes C, E, and G
  • the F major chord contains the notes F, A, and C
  • the G major chord contains the notes G, B, and D
A basic 12-bar blues chord progression is structured using a pattern of I, IV, and V chords of any scale, as heard in B. B. King’s The Thrill is Gone.

Chord progression can be structured to give a musical phrase a sense of completion (cadence).
Harmonic structures may be simple or complex.

Harmony stems from an understanding of melody and rhythm.

A simple harmony consists of chords built with a few tones and chord changes.
Skills & Procedures
Differentiate between chord progressions that do or do not end with a sense of completion.

Recognize how layering pitched and non-pitched musical sounds contributes to texture.

Perform accompaniments for melodies using chords.

Extend vocal repertoire to include music written with two or more harmonic parts.

Differentiate between the sounds of the I, IV, and V chords.

Identify chord changes in a basic 12-bar blues chord progression.

Identify the notes belonging to the C, F, and G major chords.
Theme and variation is a musical form in which the rhythmic, melodic, or harmonic structure is altered in some way to change the main theme of the music.

Structure of theme and variation found in music selections can include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s variations on Ah! vous dirai-je Maman (familiarly known as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).

Changes in dynamics, tempo, and articulations, such as legato, staccato, phrase marks, and slurs, can affect the structure of a musical piece.

A slur in music is a curved line that joins two pitches together to indicate that they are to be played legato or without separation.

Major and minor key changes can occur within a piece of music, as heard in Franz Schubert, Six Moments Musicaux, D. 780, Op. 94.

Accidentals can be used to change an interval or to indicate pitches that do not belong to the key signature in which the music is written, including
  • sharps that indicate the specific pitch to be raised
  • flats that indicate the pitch to be lowered
  • natural signs, which return the pitch that was changed back to a natural state
Metre can be altered to include irregular beat groupings, including 5/4 and 7/8, as heard in
  • 5/4 metre
    Dave Brubeck, Take Five
  • 7/8 metre
    Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat major, Op. 83: III. Precipitato
The structure of a melody can be altered by changing the scale in which it is written.

A melody can be transposed to a different key signature by changing the home tone (tonic).
Structures in music can achieve a purpose or effect in the way the elements of music are altered, omitted, or combined.
Skills & Procedures
Interpret and respond with accuracy to music symbols and terms notated in scores.

Recognize how to respond to accidentals in music.

Explore how a simple melody can change when structured on a different home tone.

Respond with movement to music written with irregular metres.
Composers may structure a musical work based on a variety of factors, including ensemble size and what instruments or voices to highlight.

Western music choirs are structured according to group members’ vocal ranges, including bass, tenor, alto, and soprano, as heard in
  • Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 8 in E-Flat Major (Symphony of a Thousand) Pt. 1
Big band ensembles give jazz music a larger sound, as heard in
  • Glenn Miller, In the Mood
  • Mart Kenney, When I Get Back to Calgary
Musical styles may have specific characteristics and features that are recognizable, including the use of banjo and fiddle in country music.

Music can be written for voices or instruments that are to be performed as a solo, duet, or small and large ensembles.

Music can be notated in various ways across cultures:
  • Numbers are used to notate pitch in an Indonesian percussion ensemble (gamelan).
  • Rhythmic notation in the music of the Middle East is learned by relating chants or words to deep sounds called dummand high or bright sounds called takk.
  • North India’s vocal solfege relates the seven pitches of the Western solfege to syllables called sargam:sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni.
Latin American music has a relationship to dance styles, including the mambo, tango, and cha-cha, as heard in
  • Gerardo Matos Rodriguez, La Cumparsita Tango
  • Orestes Lopez, Mambo
Musical structures may reflect the purpose for which the music was created.

Structure can reflect musical styles and culture.
Skills & Procedures
Recognize that some music is written exclusively for specific instruments or voices.

Observe live or recorded music performances to examine various musical structures.

Explore the relationship between music and dance styles.

Investigate how tone and scales are named and labelled in various cultures.

Explore how melodies can be notated using letters, numbers, or solfege.

Explore and perform various styles of music.

Identify characteristics of musical styles, as related to the repertoire.
Organizing Idea
Creating and Presenting: Ideas can be represented musically through artworks that draw upon foundational knowledge.
Guiding Question
How can artistic intention strengthen communication of musical ideas?
Learning Outcome
Students examine intention as an integral part of artistic expression in music.
The elements of music give structure to a musical work in the way that they are organized and represented.

Repetition and contrast and melodic themes can help an audience perceive and anticipate the structure of music.

Intentional organization of a music performance can include
  • musicians following cues from the director or maestro
  • musicians tuning their instruments before playing
  • an audience clapping when the maestro enters the stage
  • pauses between musical selections, including intermissions
An audience may interpret a musical work in a way that differs from what the artist intended.

Internalizing beats while performing music ensures that musicians keep a steady beat.

Program notes that accompany musical works can describe the intention of the composer.

Musical ideas can be notated so that they can be shared and interpreted by others.
Intention becomes evident to the artist and audience when music has structure and organization.
Skills & Procedures
Demonstrate how to follow conductor cues and internalize beats or counting when performing music individually and within an ensemble.

Apply repetition and contrast to the creation of music ideas.

Perform music within a variety of musical forms.

Apply knowledge of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic structures to the creation of a musical idea.

Create and perform music based on a theme.

Notate original compositions through the use of standard or invented notation.

Participate as an audience member and as a performer in music.
Intention can be communicated in music through planned compositions or improvisations that use singing, instrument playing, and movement.

The elements of music can be intentionally combined, altered, or omitted in the creation of a musical idea.

The mood or emotion of a musical piece can be communicated through artistic choices related to the elements of music and the use of instruments or voices.

A variety of stimuli can be used to focus intention, including
  • images
  • music
  • poetry
  • stories
  • artworks
Movement and dance can be intentionally used to accompany musical works.
Intention refers to what a musician or composer means to express.

Intention can be linked to the purposeful creation, expression, or appreciation of music.
Skills & Procedures
Demonstrate how the elements of music can be intentionally used to create a musical idea.

Explore how mood or emotion can be intentionally created in an original composition.

Improvise musical ideas through singing, playing instruments, and moving.

Evaluate the effectiveness of artistic choices used in the creation of a musical idea.

Create music in response to a stimulus.

Experiment with how a melody or a familiar song can change by adjusting one or more of the elements of music.
A performer’s artistic intention can be enhanced or refined by
  • listening to the musical works of others
  • rehearsal
  • practising skills and techniques, including in-tune singing
  • participating in warm-ups for voice and instruments
Music can be intentionally created or performed for enjoyment or expression.

Communicating intention can involve creative processes, including
  • decision making in the creation of a musical idea
  • problem solving
  • taking creative risks, including trying unfamiliar or new techniques or instruments
  • considering and implementing feedback
  • reflection
A musician’s intention may emphasize process over product.

Growth as a musician can occur when engaging with the creative process in new and meaningful ways.
Skills & Procedures
Engage in regular music practice and warm-ups.

Practise singing to include accurate in-tune singing, expression, and phrasing.

Rehearse music prior to sharing with an audience.

Create and present music for enjoyment.

Create musical ideas with the intention of exploring new techniques, styles, or instruments.

Use creative processes to explore, revise, and refine musical ideas.

Describe how feedback was incorporated to clarify or enhance artistic intention.
Organizing Idea
Appreciation: Recognizing beauty, goodness, and truth in music can be developed by understanding the complexity and richness of great works of music, the artists who create and perform them, and the historical and cultural contexts from which they originate.
Guiding Question
How did societal change influence how music was appreciated during the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and throughout the history of the United States of America?
Learning Outcome
Students relate change to historical events and appreciation of music practices.
Appreciation can shape individual artistry, curiosity, and engagement in music.

Responses to and appreciation for music can reflect personal preferences and perspectives.

Music vocabulary can be used when responding to or sharing opinions about music.

Appreciation of music as an art form can change with experience and inform future decisions about participation in music.

Popular (pop) culture evolved from oral traditions in folk music and is appreciated as a form of expression from the people for the people.
Appreciation of music can change through active reflection and experiences with music.
Skills & Procedures
Use music vocabulary when responding to or sharing opinions about music.

Discuss how popular culture influences the creation and sharing of music.
Music during the Enlightenment was composed with the ideas of freedom, democracy, and reason in mind.

The Enlightenment was heavily influenced by the discovery of Pompeii, which reignited an interest in Greek and Roman arts.

The ancient Greeks developed a series of scales, called modes, that serve as a structure for melodies today, including Ionian, which is the same as the major scale (diatonic).

The Enlightenment was known for baroque and classical styles of music.

During the Enlightenment, the focus of music shifted from vocal to instrumental, resulting in the creation of symphonies and concertos, including the works of
  • Robert Schumann
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • George Frederick Handel
  • Franz Joseph Haydn
The classical period is considered the height of operatic composition, and works from this period can include
  • Barber of Seville
  • Fidelio
  • Marriage of Figaro
Music and singing were fundamentally important parts of the French Revolution as people could sing songs about freedom and brotherhood.

Catchy tunes during the French Revolution helped listeners remember lyrics and motivated political and military causes.
The way music is understood and appreciated has changed throughout history.
Skills & Procedures
Listen to and view music from the Enlightenment as an inspiration for playing and talking about music.

Investigate composers and music of other times, places, and cultures.
Before the colonization of the United States of America, the Indigenous people had a rich and historical tradition of music that continues to be celebrated today.

As the United States of America became colonized, people brought with them large and varied music traditions.

African-American spirituals, which are the foundation for popular music in the United States of America, developed during this time.

African-American blues evolved during the early 20th century and later evolved to create genres like rhythm and blues, swing, gospel, Motown, soul, and rock and roll, including
  • Lead Belly, Goodnight, Irene
  • Robert Johnson, Cross Road Blues
  • Ray Charles, Georgia on My Mind
Jazz and blues (sometimes “rhythm and blues”) are music forms that are closely linked and that grew out of African-American musical culture.

The Harlem Renaissance (1917–1930s) was a period in time where Black musicians felt free to express Black lives and identity through their music.

Jazz was the major form of music during the Harlem Renaissance and is known for its improvisational form, swing notes, and call and response vocals, as seen through artists such as
  • Duke Ellington
  • Billie Holiday
  • Louis Armstrong
Appalachian music is a form of folk music in the United States of America that grew from the need of the people to communicate their ways of life and being, including coal mining, and drew on their roots in Scottish, Irish, and northern English ballads, as well as southern Black musical forms, including
  • Sixteen Tons
  • Which Side Are You On?
  • A Man of Constant Sorrow
Appalachian music informed modern country music, which can include
  • jug bands
  • honky-tonk
  • bluegrass
  • hillbilly
Music traditions existed prior to the colonization of the United States of America, and evolved as more people came to the land.
Skills & Procedures
Listen to and view music from the United States of America as an inspiration for playing and talking about music.