Overview of First Grade Music


In first grade, we continue to develop our audiation skills. By first grade, we have developed an extensive “listening, thinking, and speaking” vocabulary. One of the techniques we use in first grade is learning to label our vocabulary. We learn how to use tonal solfege (e.g. “do-mi-so”) and rhythm sofege (e.g. du-de) for all of our pattern instruction. In learning a solfege system, this helps us to organize our musical thoughts and express ourselves musically in a deeper, more meaningful way. We continue to learn about same and different, but in a hands-on approach. Instead of discriminating differences, we perform tonal and rhythm patterns that are different. We begin to have “musical conversations” with one another. This lays the foundation for musical improvisation.

We continue to develop our singing voices. We learn that in order to sing, we have to use our “head” voice (higher than our speaking voice) and coordinate our breathing with our singing. For some children, learning to sing is as easy as turning on a light switch, while for others, it may take months or years to learn to consistently sing in a head voice.

We continue to develop our concept of meter and beat. In first grade, we learn about macrobeat (downbeat) and microbeat (subdivision of the macrobeat). By audiating, moving to, and labeling the macro and microbeats in music, you child is able to discriminate whether music is duple (e.g. 4/4 time) or triple meter (e.g. 3/4 time).

We also begin to explore the “ingredients” of a melody. We learn that every melody has a tonality and a resting tone. By audiating the resting tone, you child is able to discriminate whether a song is in major or minor tonality.

We begin to learn about harmony and the two basic chords in major and minor tonality: tonic and dominant. We perform melodies with harmony both alone and in small groups.

Wow, this all sounds like a lot of hard work! Rest assured, we also have A LOT of FUN in music class! All of this learning takes place in a playful environment in which the student is actively making music in the classroom.

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Exploring the sounds of the ocean drums.

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"Raking the leaves!"

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"This is what I look like when I am thinking music!"