Skip Navigation

Utah Core  •  Curriculum Search  •  All Fine Arts - Music Lesson Plans  •  USBE Fine Arts - Music website


Fine Arts - Music Curriculum
Music Composition
Course Preface Course Preface
Printable Version Printable Version (pdf)


arrow icon Course Introduction


Core Standards of the Course


Standard 1
Students will use body, voice, and instruments as means of musical expression.

Objective 1
Demonstrate technical performance skills.

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of major, minor, and pentatonic scales and intervals on a selected instrument.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of basic chords and chord progressions on a selected instrument.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of meters and key signatures on a selected instrument.

Objective 2
Perform varied repertoire.

  1. Prepare, rehearse, and perform personal or another’s original compositions/arrangements using traditional/nontraditional instruments.
  2. Produce a recording of original compositions/arrangements for class presentation.


Standard 2
Students will improvise, compose, and arrange music.

Objective 1
Improvise rhythmic and melodic ideas and phrases.

  1. Improvise a simple rhythmic variation (e.g., dividing a quarter into two eighths, triplets, syncopation) on a simple scale fragment or familiar melodies.
  2. Improvise a simple melodic variation (e.g., trills, passing tones, neighboring tones, turns) on a simple scale fragment or familiar melodies.

Objective 2
Record musical thoughts in standard notation.

  1. Explore/employ various software notation programs.
  2. Accurately notate simple melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas and sequences.
  3. Notate/chart original phrases in traditional or non-traditional notation.
  4. Keep a sketch notebook of compositional ideas.
  5. Accurately notate single line and multiple line arrangements and compositions, including any lyrics.
  6. Accurately notate all expressive markings.

Objective 3
Write original melodies and short compositions to communicate an emotion, culture, place, time, or happening.

  1. Employ techniques of imitation and improvisation to generate melodic and rhythmic ideas for a composition.
  2. Finish partially written phrases.
  3. Write a consequent phrase for a given antecedent phrase.
  4. Compose complete sequences in a recognizable form (e.g., AB, ABA, verse/chorus, through composed).
  5. Build melodic patterns into a sequence of phrases (lyrics optional).
  6. Compose melody for a selected text.
  7. Compose a counter-melody for an original melody.
  8. Harmonize melodies using primary chords.
  9. Create a melody to go within/over an original composed harmonic progression.

Objective 4
Orchestrate melodies and short compositions.

  1. Orchestrate compositions in a variety of media (acoustic, electronic, synthetic, mixing variations) to communicate a specific idea or emotion.
  2. Orchestrate melodies in a variety of textures (monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, heterophonic) to communicate a specific idea or emotion.

Objective 5
Arrange melodies and short compositions.

  1. Arrange a selected piece of music in a different style from the original to communicate a new meaning or feeling; e.g., write variations of a given phrase, rearrange the form, re-harmonize it, change the orchestration, change the meter, create variations in the rhythm, alter the texture.
  2. Arrange a selected piece of music to meet the specifications of a special occasion; e.g., soundtrack, commercial, talent show, commemorative program.
  3. Analyze and describe the differences between arranging a song and creating original phrases.


Standard 3
Students will expand music listening skills and use music vocabulary to analyze and evaluate music.

Objective 1
Describe the elements of music.

  1. Demonstrate how expressive qualities within music affect its ability to communicate; e.g., dynamics, tempo, timbre, pitch, stylistic effects.
  2. Explain how time is used to communicate meaning in various musical selections; e.g., beat, meter, rhythm, accent.
  3. Evaluate how melodies are used to create effects within harmonic texture; e.g., monophony, homophony, polyphony.
  4. Illustrate how form communicates meaning in music.

Objective 2
Analyze and evaluate music examples.

  1. Analyze and evaluate musical excerpts in terms of aesthetic qualities and how meaning is conveyed.
  2. Present original compositions and arrangements in class and discuss the choices made; e.g., melodic contour, harmony, meter, rhythms, form, tone colors, textures, expressive qualities.
  3. In the music you play or listen to, (a) compare and contrast styles from a variety of cultures and time periods; (b) describe the emotions and thoughts the music communicates and how it does so.
  4. Exhibit acceptable performer and audience etiquette.

Objective 3
Document personal growth as a musician.

  1. Organize and maintain records of completed work; e.g., recordings, journal writings, sketch book, self/peer/teacher/adjudicator assessments.
  2. Select a piece of own completed work that most clearly illustrates progress and explain this choice to teacher and/or parents.
  3. Keep a journal and/or write reflective papers on personal experiences in each of the four Core Curriculum standards.

Discover Meaning

Standard 4
Students will find avenues of understanding and communication through connecting music to personal growth, the joy of living, traditions, culture, and history.

Objective 1
Examine how music relates to personal development and enjoyment of life.

  1. Evaluate how the study of music expands the ability to communicate with and understand others.
  2. Tell how music can be a joyful part of daily activities.
  3. Describe how making music together helps develop skills and success in working with others.
  4. Describe how self and/or class have used music to be of service to someone.
  5. Explain how participation in music can become a lifetime pursuit and/or develop analytical and creative thinking skills.

Objective 2
Experience how music connects us to history, culture, heritage, and community.

  1. Demonstrate how people celebrate, mourn, create, communicate ideas, help others, express feelings, come together, and/or enjoy themselves through music.
  2. Perform and enjoy music related to various cultures, times, and places.
  3. Explain what the music experienced above means personally.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Cathy Jensen and see the Fine Arts - Music website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - DIANA SUDDRETH .  
These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.
© Utah Education Network in partnership with the Utah State Board of Education and Higher Ed Utah.
UEN does not endorse and is not responsible for content on external websites linked to from this page.
(800) 866-5852     |     KUEN CPB Compliance    |     Web Accessibility     |     Captioning