Arizona Department of Education State Standards for Teaching & Learning"Music is a subject with its own unique skills and knowledge, a respected repertoire of quality literature, an advanced system of notation and literacy, and a challenging form of cognition. Scientifically, music is an auditory symbol system that the brain organizes the elements of pitch, rhythm, timbre and harmony in neurological pathways that cannot be replicated in any other manner.
Historically, musical expression is an innate human activity that bridges cultures and time. In the study of music, students create meaning and expression through the use of listening, composing and improvisational skills. Students attain skill in choral and instrumental performance, as well as critical thinking and self-assessment. Understanding of musical elements and how people in different places and at different times have manipulated them is important in learning how meaning is derived from sound.
The Arts standards are skill level articulated standards, from beginning to distinction. Performing ensembles are the typical vehicle, whether a mariachi group or a show choir, by which students perform music in the upper grades. Arizona's schools offer a variety of options and scheduling of performing ensembles; hence the use of skill level articulation. Students do not move to the next level of music proficiency until performance objectives have been mastered. Students begin their performing ensemble music careers at various grade levels. Mastery of the performance objectives will vary according to the design of the performing music program, student age and number of instructional minutes per week. This document attempts to describe a program that meets daily."