This chapter considers what people mean when they say that a child is ‘musically literate’. How can musical literacy be defined and what types of competencies might it infer? According to the discussion here, consistent with approaches to language literacy, literacy in situations related to Western classical music occurs as a result of children having developed their capacity to make music; reflect on the music in which they are engaged; express their views on music which they play, hear, or create, speak about, and listen to in order to form judgements; and read, write, comprehend, and interpret staff notation. This chapter details the fundamental aspects of learning how to use staff notation, while recognising that this is only one dimension of the literacy acquisition process, and that staff notation is only one type of music notation.
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