IB Music Units of Inquiry

  • Makowski IB Music Curriculum aligns with 
    NY State Standards and Social Studies Themes:

    NY State Standards for Elementary Music

    1.     We can participate, create and perform music.

    2.     We know about music resources.

    3.     We can listen, analyze and respond to music.

    4.     We can make cultural connections about music.

    NY State Social Studies Themes

    K - Folk Tales/Legends

    1 - Families, neighborhoods, US Citizenship

    2  - Rural, urban, suburban

    3  - World Cultures (China, Kenya, Innuit, etc.)

    4  - US History, Native Americans, New York State


    IB Central Ideas and Lines of Inquiry for Music 

    IB Themes

    Who We Are

    Sharing the Planet

    Where We Are in Place & Time

    How the World Works

    How We Organize Ourselves

    How We Express Ourselves

    Music Curriculum

    Foundational Skills

    Listening & responding; creative movement & dramatics





    Music, Culture & History

    Who, what, where, when, why & how

    Elements of Music

    Sound, pitch, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, form

    Musical Instruments






    Central Idea

    People are music makers and dancers.

    I use my voice to talk and sing.

    Folk tales





    Tap, shake, scrape

    A composer writes the music, like an author writes a story.

    Lines of Inquiry

    How can I move and express to the music?

    What sounds can I make with my voice? How do we make musical sounds that other people can enjoy vs. noises that other people may not enjoy.

    How does music express the feeling in a folk story or folk song?

    What opposites can we hear and perform?


    How do we create body rhythms?
    How do we handle musical instruments?

    How do we perform patterns?

    What is the story of how a composer created his/her music?

    Action Cycle

    Create a dance in place that goes with the music.

    Develop tonal and singing skills;

    Explore vocal sounds and develop the voice through exercises and songs.

    Listen to and reflect about music composed for a folk tale or a folk song.

    Express contrasts in music.

    Develop rhythm and instrumental skills;
    Explore steady beat, rhythm patterns and songs.

    Choose musical and lyric elements to go with dramatic action or other response.


    Central Idea

    People make music together.

    People around the world sing together.

    Families, neighborhoods, US Citizenship

    Music is made from sound vibrations.


    Tap, shake, scrape

    Blow, buzz

    Strum, pluck, bow

    Compare roles of composer, conductor, performer and audience.

    Lines of Inquiry

    How can we work together to move to the music?

    What strategies help people sing together?

    Why do people sing songs about their lives?

    How do we produce vibrations?
    How do they travel?

    How do musical instruments make their sounds?

    How does each participant express or respond to the music?

    Action Cycle

    Create or perform a partner or small group dance in place to go with the music.

    Further develop tonal and singing skills;

    Sing songs together in unison, call and response, and rounds.














    Sing regional songs and patriotic songs.

    Make musical patterns from vibrations of objects.

    Further develop rhythm and instrumental skills.

    Try on different roles;

    further develop movement, vocal, instrumental,
    and ensemble skills.



    Central Idea

    We can make formations and bigger patterns together.

    Singers share the space.

    Rural, urban, suburban

    Timbre: Different objects and voices make different kinds of sounds.

    Shape, size and materials effects the sound an instrument makes.

    Compare and contrast the composer with author, poet, choreographer, illustrator.

    Lines of Inquiry

    How can we use lines and shapes to plan group movement that connects with the music?

    How would we compare the experience of singing alone, in a small group and in a large group?

    Why do people from different communities make different kinds of music?

    How do we know which voice or instrument is making the sound?

    What are musical instruments made of?

    Which type of creative activity is the most expressive?

    Try the different roles to create a multi-disciplinary work together.

    Action Cycle

    Create or perform a dance that moves through space.

    Further develop tonal and singing skills;

    Form duos, trios, quartets and larger groupings.





    Listen to, watch and sing songs in contrasting styles.

    Identify sounds of voices and instruments; Produce contrasting sounds with voices and instruments. Apply to making music.








    Further develop rhythm and instrumental skills.
    Identify and explore diverse instruments.

    Explore and report using a Venn Diagram, graphic organizer, or other.

    Support their opinion.


    Central Idea

    People are communicators.

    Singing a song brings people together. A National Anthem helps people feel a sense of pride in their country.

    World Cultures (China, Kenya, Innuit, etc.)

    How do composers and performers communicate musical ideas?

    Instrument Families.

    Composers use Elements of Music to shape ideas and feelings.

    Lines of Inquiry

    How does music help us communicate ideas and feelings?

    What does our National Anthem tell us about our country? What other songs tell us about our country?

    What kinds of music do people listen to in countries around the world?

    What patterns are in the music?

    How do we read and write musical symbols?

    How are musical instruments grouped?

    How does manipulating musical elements change the feeling or the  message of the music?

    Action Cycle

    Create or perform an expressive dance that connects with the music, write a song, etc.

    Further develop tonal and singing skills;

    Learn to sing the National Anthem and other patriotic songs.

    Listen to National Anthems from other countries; explore music and instruments of diverse cultures








    Use iconic symbols to identify or create musical patterns;

    Name and write basic musical notation symbols.

    Name and group instruments of the orchestra and American popular music.

    Listen and watch examples. Further develop rhythm and instrumental skills.

    Explore, evaluate, and choose various elements of music to produce a given expression.


    Central Idea

    We are members of musical communities.

    Cultures around the world have created unique music.

    US History, Native Americans, New York State

    Musical is shared and evolves across cultures.

    Musical Ensembles

    Personal Expression/Shared Expression

    Lines of Inquiry

    How does my family connect with music?

    How do children around the world learn traditional songs?

    What is a timeline and how does it relate to music?

    How can we figure out the age of a prominent musician?

    How does geography connect to music?

    How does music change as people migrate to different places?
    How does it stay the same?

    How did musical elements and notes get their names?


    How do people work together to make music with instruments?
    How do we incorporate singing, movement and dramatics for an expressive performance?

    What do I (we) want to express?

    How do form group consensus and contribute to the creative process?

    Action Cycle

    Interview family member and report back to class. Create a response to reflect the music in your life (sing, dance, draw, poem, etc.)

    Further develop tonal and singing skills.

    Learn a traditional song; Teach a song to younger children. Perform at Winter Sing Along.

    Explore various periods of music including ancient, classical and contemporary eras; Use “Age Math” to figure the ages of musicians; Locate places on the map of musical import.

    Choose and report on an example of musical migration;

    Further develop understanding of music notation and apply to creating and performing music.

    Further develop instrumental skills with classroom instruments; Create student-led  performances.

    Creating songs and compositions (along with movement and dramatics and poetry, etc.) as per student interest.