Students receive general music instruction throughout each of their six years at District 401's two elementary schools, Elmwood and John Mills.

Our curriculum is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for fine arts.

District 401 students learn the language of music from the earliest grades. They learn, for example, how to identify differences in the elements and expressive qualities of music, such as fast and slow tempo, loud and soft dynamics, high and low pitch/direction, long and short duration, as well as same and different form.

As they progress through the curriculum, students are introduced to more sophisticated elements and expressive qualities such as tone color, harmony, melody, form (rondo, theme and variation), rhythm/meter and dynamics in a variety of musical styles.

They also learn how to relate symbol systems to musical sounds and how to read and interpret the traditional music notation of note values and letter names.

Learning by Performing

Performance is also a key part of the curriculum. Students sing or play on classroom instruments a variety of music representing diverse cultures and styles.

By the time students reach 5th grade, those interested in pursuing musical performance in greater depth have the option of taking band class.

Band is an elective for students in grades 5 and 6 only. Band instruction and rehearsal take place three times a week for approximately 40 minutes per session. Tryouts are not required, but a commitment is needed. Band members perform at concerts several times a year.