Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Grades Nine Through Twelve-Proficient

Visual and Performing Arts: Music Content Standards.

Note: The proficient level of achievement for students in grades nine through twelve can be attained at the end of one year of high school study within the discipline of music after the student has attained the level of achievement in music required of all students in grade eight.


Processing, Analyzing, and Responding to Sensory Information Through the Language and Skills Unique to Music

Students read, notate, listen to, analyze, and describe music and other aural information, using the terminology of music.

Read and Notate Music

  • 1.1 Read an instrumental or vocal score of up to four staves and explain how the elements of music are used.
  • 1.2 Transcribe simple songs when presented aurally into melodic and rhythmic notation (level of difficulty: 1 on a scale of 1-6).
  • 1.3 Sight-read music accurately and expressively (level of difficulty: 3 on a scale of 1-6).

Listen to, Analyze, and Describe Music

  • 1.4 Analyze and describe the use of musical elements and expressive devices (e.g., articulation, dynamic markings) in aural examples in a varied repertoire of music representing diverse genres, styles, and cultures.
  • 1.5 Identify and explain a variety of compositional devices and techniques used to provide unity, variety, tension, and release in aural examples.
  • 1.6 Analyze the use of form in a varied repertoire of music representing diverse genres, styles, and cultures.


Creating, Performing, and Participating in Music

Students apply vocal and instrumental musical skills in performing a varied repertoire of music. They compose and arrange music and improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments, using digital/electronic technology when appropriate.

Apply Vocal and Instrumental Skills

  • 2.1 Sing a repertoire of vocal literature representing various genres, styles, and cultures with expression, technical accuracy, tone quality, vowel shape, and articulation written and memorized, by oneself and in ensembles (level of difficulty: 4 on a scale of 1-6).
  • 2.2 Sing music written in three or four parts with and without accompaniment.
  • 2.3 Sing in small ensembles, with one performer for each part.
  • 2.4 Perform on an instrument a repertoire of instrumental literature representing various genres, styles, and cultures with expression, technical accuracy, tone quality, and articulation, by oneself and in ensembles (level of difficulty: 4 on a scale of 1-6).
  • 2.5 Perform on an instrument in small ensembles, with one performer for each part.

Compose, Arrange, and Improvise

  • 2.6 Compose music, using musical elements for expressive effect.
  • 2.7 Compose and arrange music for voices or various acoustic or digital/electronic instruments, using appropriate ranges for traditional sources of sound.
  • 2.8 Arrange pieces for voices and instruments other than those for which the pieces were originally written.
  • 2.9 Improvise harmonizing parts, using an appropriate style.
  • 2.10 Improvise original melodies over given chord progressions.


Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of Music

Students analyze the role of music in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting cultural diversity as it relates to music, musicians, and composers.

Role of Music

  • 3.1 Identify the sources of musical genres of the United States, trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them.
  • 3.2 Explain the various roles that musicians perform, identify representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and explain their activities and achievements.

Diversity of Music

  • 3.3 Describe the differences between styles in traditional folk genres within the United States.
  • 3.4 Perform music from various cultures and time periods.
  • 3.5 Classify, by genre or style and historical period or culture, unfamiliar but representative aural examples of music and explain the reasoning for the classification.


Responding to, Analyzing, and Making Judgments About Works of Music

Students critically assess and derive meaning from works of music and the performance of musicians according to the elements of music, aesthetic qualities, and human responses.

Analyze and Critically Assess

  • 4.1 Develop specific criteria for making informed critical evaluations of the quality and effectiveness of performances, compositions, arrangements, and improvisations and apply those criteria in personal participation in music.
  • 4.2 Evaluate a performance, composition, arrangement, or improvisation by comparing each with an exemplary model.

Derive Meaning

  • 4.3 Explain how people in a particular culture use and respond to specific musical works from that culture.
  • 4.4 Describe the means used to create images or evoke feelings and emotions in musical works from various cultures.


Connecting and Applying What Is Learned in Music to Learning in Other Art Forms and Subject Areas and to Careers

Students apply what they learn in music across subject areas. They develop competencies and creative skills in problem solving, communication, and management of time and resources that contribute to lifelong learning and career skills. They also learn about careers in and related to music.

Connections and Applications

  • 5.1 Explain how elements, artistic processes, and organizational principles are used in similar and distinctive ways in the various arts.
  • 5.2 Analyze the role and function of music in radio, television, and advertising.

Careers and Career-Related Skills

  • 5.3 Research musical careers in radio, television, and advertising.
Questions: State Board of Education | 916-319-0827 
Last Reviewed: Friday, April 6, 2018