Terms You Should Know About Music Education

After School Programs

The term used for programs that are outside the regular school day. The programs are intended to keep kids productive and off the streets, but music is often one of the curricular areas suggested for placement outside the regular curricular day, and that can mean death to the program.  An after or before school music program is a great way to enhance a school music program, but only if it is in addition to  in-school music instruction. (see Co-curricular and Extra-curricular)


Curricular activities or events that occur outside the school day, but are not extra-curricular, like public concerts, drama productions and art shows that are produced by music and theater departments and art classes.

Core Requirements

Under federal policy enacted in the 1990s, music is considered a part of the core curriculum.  Math, English and Science are the three subjects that are regularly tested for proficiency and funding may be directly affected by a district’s ranking. Some states have instituted testing in the arts..


Normally refers to educational programs that occur during the regular class day. Music education is curricular but since music activities sometimes occur outside the regular schedule, the programs are sometimes redefined as extra-curricular and are thus made more vulnerable to budget cuts. Examples of curricular music activities include rehearsals of music organizations in preparation for co-curricular concerts.


Any curricular option that is not a required component of the curriculum.


These are activities held outside the regular school day in which public service is a primary purpose even though they may be a direct outcome of curricular activity.

“Feeder” Programs

Refers most commonly to programs for students in earlier grade that are designed to prepare them for higher level participation in a particular area of study. For example, students enrolled in elementary band would then “feed into” middle school or high school band programs. The elimination of such feeder programs has a detrimental effect on further music participation the higher grades.

“Pay to Play”

One of the ways that school districts develop additional sources of revenue is to add participatory fees for co-curricular or extra-curricular activities. At times, these fees are imposed on curricular and co-curricular aspects of music programs.

Source: Support Music