All Austin ISD students take classes in four basic strands: music literacy; creative expression; historical and cultural relevance; and critical evaluation and response. These provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire.

The foundation of music literacy is fostered through reading, writing, reproducing and creating music, which helps develop a student's intellect. Through creative expression, students apply their music literacy and the critical-thinking skills of music to sing, play, read, write and/or move.

By experiencing musical periods and styles, students will understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world, including the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and the vocational possibilities offered.

Through critical listening, students analyze, evaluate and respond to music, developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices.