Musical competence encompasses the ability to use an array of knowledge and skills including creation, performance, production, history, culture, perception, analysis, criticism, aesthetics, technology, and appreciation.

Students work toward comprehensive competence from the beginning of grade 6, preparing for deeper and more rigorous work each succeeding year. Composing and improvising provide students with unique insight into the form and structure of music, helping them to develop their creativity. Broad experience with a variety of music is necessary if students are to make informed musical judgments. By understanding the cultural and historical forces that shape social attitudes and behaviors, students are better prepared to live and work in communities that are increasingly multicultural.