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Teacher’s Guide To The Ontario Music Curriculum

Trying to teach the Ontario Music Curriculum without the right tools?

The Ontario Music Curriculum is an ambitious document that sets a high standard for teaching music in Ontario. But how do you teach it?

Unfortunately, this standard is out of reach when the vast majority of teachers do not have the training or musical experience to fully understand the concepts they are being asked to teach.

In fact, in many school boards in Ontario, there is an unwritten understanding that the music curriculum standards “don’t need” to be met.

The good news is, it IS possible to teach the Ontario Music Curriculum properly, even if you don’t have a music degree – but only if you have the right resources.

Understanding the different parts of the Ontario Music Curriculum

The music curriculum is broken down into two sections: Fundamental Concepts & Specific Expectations. For teachers that are new to teaching music, this can seem confusing. Which expectations should you focus on?

Fundamental Concepts in the Ontario Music Curriculum

The fundamental concepts in the Ontario Music Curriculum are based on the 6 elements of music:

  • duration
  • pitch
  • dynamics & other expressive controls
  • timbre
  • texture/harmony
  • form

These fundamental concepts are the most important part of the expectations for each grade, as they are the part of the curriculum that is the most grade-specific.

Specific Expectations for Music in the Ontario Curriculum

The specific expectations of the curriculum are arranged into three categories:

  • Creating and Performing
  • Reflecting, Responding & Analysing
  • Exploring Forms & Cultural Contexts.

The specific expectations do not change much from grade to grade. However, they are still very important. Think of the specific expectations as HOW you will teach the elements of music that are listed in the fundamental concepts.

Hot Tip: If you’ve taught a musical element from the fundamental concepts through all three specific expectation categories, then you’ve covered it very well.

So, for example, when teaching the Grade 1 concept of fast and slow tempi, you would consider each of the three specific expectation categories:

Creating & Performing – Perform songs with different tempi. Create compositions with fast and slow choices.

Reflecting, Responding, Analyzing – Listen to examples of songs with fast & slow tempi. Identify whether a listening example is fast or slow.

Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts – Consider different social situations where you might play music of different tempi.

Ontario Music Curriculum by Grade

  • Music Curriculum Guide – Grade 1
  • Music Curriculum Guide – Grade 2
  • Music Curriculum Guide – Grade 3
  • Music Curriculum Guide – Grade 4
  • Music Curriculum Guide – Grade 5
  • Music Curriculum Guide – Grade 6

Ontario Music Curriculum Lesson Plans

If you’re tasked with teaching music in Ontario but aren’t a specialist, the following unit plans are ideal. Each set of four lessons covers a specific set of music expectations for each grade. For a complete list of all Music-by-Month resources visit our store.