Students develop music literacy through this response process. First, they listen in silence. Then, students describe what they hear, using the vocabulary of music. Next, they tell us what they think the music is about, interpreting with evidence. Finally they ask wondering questions to develop curiosity about the music.

Example National Core Art Standard Alignment (opens in new window)


Anchor Standard 8.

Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.


Anchor Standard 11.

Relate artistic ideas with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.

Curriculum Integration Ideas

  1. Soundtracks from films often tell stories with characters, conflicts, and settings (English Language Arts)
  2. Music shapes and reflects culture and can be a useful tool in analyzing the dynamics of a place or a moment in history (Social Studies)
  3. Music can help us express and understand emotions (Health)
  4. Music is composed of sound vibrations, and can be analyzed as scientific phenomena (Science)

Differentiation Ideas


Provide learners with simple music compositions. Offer dichotomous responses when questioning about the elements (Is it loud or soft? Is it fast or slow?) Provide an anchor chart defining the basic elements of musical expression (e.g. pitch, tempo, dynamics).


Provide learners with the challenge of more complex music with multiple instrument families or changes. Provide an anchor chart with sophisticated language for musical expression (e.g. crescendo, adagio, syncopation).

Hear, Think, Wonder Strategy Handout