Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Differentiated Instruction

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Phyllis Burger

Second Reader

Dr. Akinde-Fakuajo


differentiated instruction, elementary music, music literacy, graphic notation, music mapping


Music educators aim to teach music literacy, which is the ability to read music; however, resources for differentiating specifically in the field of music are difficult to find. This paper analyzed available research on creating meaningful ways to represent sound aside from traditional music notation and using this notation to differentiate instruction. Graphic notation, as opposed to standard notation, is therefore analyzed as a potential tool for differentiation both in terms of its benefits when created by teachers or textbook companies as well as when students create their individual graphic notation. Other issues addressed include a focus on aural preparation, or sound before sight. Another tool for differentiating and increasing achievement is collaboration with peers. This is investigated through symmetrical and asymmetrical Peer Assisted Learning and peer-tutoring. The studies support the idea of using graphic notation, such as mapping, song dotting, ideographs, and blended notation, to create meaningful representations of sound that are differentiated to each student. These strategies help the music educator see what students understand about the music, which allows the teacher to further differentiate instruction. By using these strategies for notating music, music literacy can be taught and differentiated.