Foundations of Music

Foundations of Music

Course Features

Course Details


Course Overview

The Foundations of Music course develops a foundation for students of what music is, the different instruments in the various families of musical instruments, musical periods, select composers, and musical genres and styles.

Course topics include:

  • What is Music?
  • Music Basics
  • String Family
  • Percussion Family
  • Brass Family
  • Woodwind Family
  • The Human Voice
  • Music Ensembles
  • Musical Periods of Western Music
  • Musical Styles and Genres
  • Fundamentals of Music Sound

Music Appreciation is taught by Acellus Instructor Dr. Adrianna Marshall.


Sample Lesson – Saxophone


This course was developed by the International Academy of Science.
Learn More


Scope and Sequence

Unit 1: What is Music?
In the first unit of Foundations of Music, students are asked to consider what music really is.  They then begin to delve into the concepts of high or low, loud or soft, slow or fast, what a chord is, and melody & harmony.  Additionally, this unit includes a special focus on the composer Frédéric Chopin.

Unit 2: Music Basics
In the Music Basics unit, student learn about the musical alphabet, the musical staff, staff note names, basic musical notation, and the piano.  This unit also includes a special focus on the composer Claude Debussy.

Unit 3: The String Family
The String Family unit delves into the concepts of instrument families, beginning with a focus on the members of the string family, including the violin, the viola, the cello, the string bass, and the guitar. Additionally, this unit includes a special focus on the composer Antonio Vivaldi.

Unit 4: The Percussion Family
The Percussion Family unit focuses on the members of the percussion family including the snare drum, the xylophone, the cymbals, the tambourine, and the tympani.  This unit also includes a special focus on the composer John Phillip Sousa.

Unit 5: The Brass Family
The Brass Family unit focuses on the trumpet, the french horn, the trombone, the tuba, the euphonium, and the composer Gustav Mahler.

Unit 6: The Woodwind Family
The Woodwind Family unit introduces students to the piccolo, the flute, the oboe, the bassoon, the clarinet, and the saxophone.  A special focus on the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is also included.

Unit 7: The Human Voice
In this unit students learn about the human voice as an instrument.  The concepts of soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass are introduced. A special focus on the composer George Frideric Handel is included.

Unit 8: Musical Ensembles
In the Musical Ensembles unit, students are introduced to the concept of a musical ensemble and learn about a string orchestra, a marching band, a cappella, a jazz band, a night at the symphony, and the composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

Unit 9: Musical Periods of Western Music
Through the course of the Musical Periods of Western Music unit, students learn about the renaissance, baroque period, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, the classical period, the composer Joseph Haydn, and the romantic period. Additionally, this unit includes a special focus on the composer Hector Berlioz, the 20th Century period of music, and the composer George Gershwin.

Unit 10: Musical Genres & Styles
This Musical Genres & Styles unit introduces American Music, including blues, big band jazz, rock and roll, country, pop, and the composer Robert Schumann.

Unit 11: Fundamentals of Musical Sound
In the final unit, students focus on the Fundamentals of Musical Sound, beginning with the sound & tradition of world music.  A focus is placed on the music and culture of China, India, Australia, Ireland, Japan, and Russia. This unit also includes a special focus on the composer Aaron Copland.