Opportunity-To-Learn Standards for Music Instruction: Grades PreK-12

Copyright 1994 by Music Educators National Conference. No further reproduction without written permission of the publisher, MENC–The National Association for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191.

Recommendations of the Music Educators National Conference, April 1994. Developed under the direction of the MENC National Executive Board. Paul R. Lehman, Project Director

PREFACE

Throughout the debate on standards in education it has been widely acknowledged that there should be standards for schools as well as standards for students. In its 1992 report, Raising Standards for American Education, the National Council on Education Standards and Testing called for national standards and a system of assessment, and it specified “School Delivery Standards” as a necessary component of national standards.1

The standards referred to in 1992 as school delivery standards are labeled “Opportunity to Learn Standards” in the “Goals 2000: Educate America Act,” which writes arts education into Federal law, but their purpose remains the same: to ensure that no young American is deprived of the chance to meet the content and performance,2 or achievement, standards established in the various disciplines because of the failure of his or her school to provide an adequate learning environment. The opportunity-to-learn standards in music are intended to specify the physical and educational conditions necessary in the schools to enable every student, with sufficient effort, to meet the voluntary national content and achievement standards in music.

While the opportunity-to-learn standards focus on the learning environment necessary to teach music, it is important to note that the ultimate objective of all standards, all school curriculums, and all school personnel is to help students to gain the broad skills and knowledge that will enable them to function effectively as adults and to contribute to society in today’s world and tomorrow’s. Teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, and the public must be concerned with education in the broadest sense and must share a common commitment to safe and drug-free schools, which are prerequisites to effective learning. The ultimate beneficiaries of these efforts will be the students.

Voluntary national content and achievement standards in the arts were developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations and approved by the National Committee for Standards in the Arts in January 1994. The development of the standards was supported by the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The arts are defined to include dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. The standards for all four arts are published as National Standards for Arts Education.3 The standards in music alone are excerpted and available as The School Music Program: A New Vision.4

Every segment of the arts community, the education community, and the public and private sectors was invited to participate in the development of the standards. The standards represent a consensus concerning what every young American should know and be able to do in the arts. During the consensus-building process, it became evident that there is widespread agreement among professional leaders in education, among political leaders of both major parties, and within the public at large that every student should receive instruction in music and the other arts and that the arts are essential in a balanced curriculum. The mistaken view that the arts are a frill in education is obsolete in most schools, but greater support is needed at the grass-roots level. Support for arts instruction in American schools varies widely across the nation from school to school and from state to state. Some schools offer superb programs that attract a large percentage of the student population. In other schools the programs are weak or they reach only a small number of students. It obviously is unfair to expect students to meet achievement standards in any discipline, including music, unless they are given reasonable opportunities to learn the skills and knowledge specified. They must be provided with the necessary support by the school, including sufficient courses, staffing, materials and equipment, and facilities. Similarly, it is unfair to hold teachers accountable for their students’ meeting the standards unless they too are ensured adequate time, materials, and other necessary conditions for teaching. And it is misleading for a school to claim a commitment to teaching the arts unless it offers learning opportunities consistent with that claim.

The Music Educators National Conference (MENC) believes that every student at every level, PreK-12, should have access to a balanced, comprehensive, and sequential program of instruction in music and the other arts, in school, taught by qualified teachers. In support of this goal, MENC first published opportunity-to-learn standards in 1974 in The School Music Program: Description and Standards.5 That publication has now been superseded by the current publication together with The School Music Program: A New Vision. Although the standards recommended by MENC are strictly voluntary, many states, school districts, and schools have found them to be enormously helpful, and a considerable number of states and districts have modeled their own music standards after the MENC standards. Even schools that have been unable to commit the resources necessary to meet the MENC standards have often found that the standards provide a sense of direction and a useful goal toward which to work. The opportunity-to-learn standards presented here include standards for (1) curriculum and scheduling, (2) staffing, (3) materials and equipment, and (4) facilities. They are based on the national content and achievement standards in music. They represent a comprehensive set of recommendations concerning the types and levels of support necessary to achieve the national standards. They seek to embody the most promising current instructional practices in music and to reflect the most recent research. The instructional program and the educational environment they envision are fully consistent with the goals for education reform enthusiastically embraced by most Americans. These opportunity-to-learn standards represent the best collective thinking of experienced music educators who are qualified by their background and training to offer recommendations concerning the conditions necessary for effective learning. They are not standards coming “from the top down.” Rather, they are standards developed by practicing teachers familiar with the day-to-day realities of the classroom and by music administrators familiar with the limitations on resources under which every school operates.

Some readers may consider these opportunity-to-learn standards to be too high and to demand too much. They are indeed high, but they are achievable. Because of varying circumstances, practices, and traditions, few schools will be able to meet every one of the standards immediately, but every school should implement a plan to phase in the standards over a specified period. Improved student learning will result.

Other readers may consider the emphasis in the opportunity-to-learn standards on numbers and specifics to be overly prescriptive. But standards by their very nature are prescriptive. There are some matters in which the standards are deliberately vague (e.g., using words such as “appropriate,” “sufficient,” “adequate”) because the intent is to include every reasonable interpretation or because no precise number can be determined without knowledge of other relevant conditions or circumstances. In these matters, determining whether the standard has been met must rely in part on the judgment of local decision-makers. In general, however, the standards are as specific as possible so that it can be determined whether or not they have been met. Being specific requires providing numbers wherever feasible, but because the numbers are arbitrary they should be considered approximations.

Ultimately, the most important criterion for measuring the effectiveness of a school music program is the extent to which the students meet the achievement standards, not the extent to which the school meets the opportunity-to-learn standards. When students meet the achievement standards specified, it makes no difference that the school may fall short in certain opportunity-to-learn standards. It has obviously found a way to compensate for those shortcomings. But when students fail to meet the achievement standards, the opportunity-to-learn standards can help to identify possible reasons for their failure so that the situation can be remedied.

Both practice and history support the belief that there is a high correlation between effective student learning in music and the existence of the favorable conditions specified in the opportunity-to-learn standards. The correlation is clear, although a cause-and-effect relationship has yet to be documented through research. The experience of generations of music teachers confirms that students are more likely to learn if the specifications stated in the opportunity-to-learn standards are met.

The opportunity-to-learn standards offered in this publication are recommended by MENC, either for adoption or as a basis for adaptation, to every state developing its own opportunity-to-learn standards. They are also recommended to every school district or school that presently fails to meet its aspirations with respect to music. Schools that aspire to distinction will wish to adopt still higher standards. Opportunity- to-learn standards are a complementary and necessary companion to content and achievement standards. America’s young people deserve the opportunity to learn.

Notes:

1. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992), pp. 12-13.
2. The standards identified as performance standards in other disciplines are called achievement standards in the arts because “performance” has specialized meaning in the arts.
3. National Committee on Standards in the Arts (Reston, VA: Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, 1994)
4. (Reston, VA: MENC, 1994)
5. (Reston, VA: MENC, 1974; 2nd ed., 1986)

STANDARDS FOR PREKINDERGARTEN AND KINDERGARTEN (AGES 2-5)

Curriculum and Scheduling

  1. Music is integrated into the curriculum throughout the day.
  2. The children’s learning experiences include singing, playing instruments, listening to music, creating music, and moving to music.
  3. At least 12 percent of the contact time with children in every prekindergarten and kindergarten is devoted to experiences with music.


Staffing

  1. Music instruction in every prekindergarten and kindergarten is provided by teachers who have received formal training in early-childhood music. A music specialist qualified in early-childhood education is available as a consultant.


Materials and Equipment

  1. Every room in which music is taught is equipped with a high- quality sound reproduction system capable of utilizing current recording technology. At least some of the audio equipment can be operated by the children. Every teacher has convenient access to sound recordings representing a wide variety of music styles and cultures. Also available for use in music instruction are video cameras, color monitors, stereo VCRs, and multimedia equipment combining digitized sound and music with graphics and text.
  2. Every room in which music is taught is equipped with a variety of classroom instruments, including drums, rhythm sticks, finger cymbals, triangles, cymbals, gongs, jingle bells, resonator bells, step bells, xylophone-type instruments with removable bars, chorded zithers, fretted instruments, electronic keyboard instruments, and assorted instruments representing a variety of cultures. Adaptive devices (e.g., adaptive picks, beaters, bells) are available for use by children with disabilities. Every room in which music is taught is equipped with children’s books containing songs and with other instructional materials in music.


Facilities

  1. Every prekindergarten and kindergarten has a “music center” or similar area where children have easy access to music materials and can listen to music with headphones so as not to disturb others.
  2. Every prekindergarten and kindergarten has an uncluttered area large enough to accommodate the largest group of children taught and to provide ample space for creative and structured movement activities.

STANDARDS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (GRADES 1-5 OR 1-6)

Curriculum and Scheduling

  1. The music program in the elementary school provides the foundation for a sequential music program in the middle school. Instructional activities are directed toward achieving the national voluntary content and achievement standards.
  2. The curriculum comprises a balanced and sequential program of singing, playing instruments, listening to music, improvising and composing music, and moving to music. Also included are learning experiences designed to develop the ability to read music, use the notation and terminology of music, analyze and describe music, make informed evaluations concerning music, and understand music and music practices in relation to history and culture and to other disciplines in the curriculum.
  3. The repertoire taught includes music representing diverse genres and styles from various periods and cultures.
  4. The music curriculum is described and outlined in a series of sequential and articulated curriculum guides for each grade level.
  5. Every student receives general music instruction each week for at least ninety minutes, excluding time devoted to elective instrumental or choral instruction. Music is woven into the curriculum throughout the school day.
  6. Instruction by music specialists is provided in periods of not less than twenty minutes nor more than thirty minutes in grades 1 and 2 and in periods of not less than twenty-five minutes nor more than forty- five minutes in grades 3 through 6.
  7. Classes in general music are no larger than classes in other subjects of the curriculum.
  8. General music instruction includes at least two of the following: recorder, fretted instruments, keyboard instruments, electronic instruments, instruments representing various cultures.
  9. Instruction is provided in string, wind, and percussion instruments. Instrumental classes meet at least two times per week for a total of at least ninety minutes, including individual instruction and work in small groups and large ensembles.
  10. Instruction on string instruments begins not later than grade 4, and instruction on wind and percussion instruments begins not later than grade 5. For the first year of instrumental study, students are taught at least part of the time in homogeneous instrumental groupings.
  11. Every performing group presents two to three performances or open rehearsals each year for parents, peers, and the community.
  12. Musicians and music institutions of the community are utilized, when available, to enhance and strengthen the school music curriculum.
  13. When students with disabilities are included in regular music classes:
    1. Their placement is determined on the same basis as placement for students without disabilities (e.g., musical achievement, chronological age).
    2. Music educators are involved in placement decisions and are fully informed about the needs of each student.
    3. Their placement does not result in classes that exceed the average class size for the school by more than 10 percent.
    4. The number of these students does not exceed the average for other classes in the school by more than 10 percent.
  14. Music instruction is provided for students receiving special education who are not included in regular music classes. Music instruction for students with disabilities is designed to teach practical music skills and knowledge that will assist the students in functioning successfully in the music environments of the home, school, and community. The amount of time for music instruction is equivalent to that provided to students without disabilities.
  15. Students with disabilities are given the same opportunities to elect choral and instrumental instruction as other students. If a music task cannot be performed by students with disabilities exactly as it would be by other students, adaptation is provided so that students with disabilities can participate insofar as possible.
  16. Special experiences are designed for gifted and talented students according to their abilities and interests.


Staffing

  1. Music is taught by music specialists in collaboration with classroom teachers. Leadership, guidance, and musical expertise are provided by specialists, who possess the skills and knowledge to teach the structure of music, the performance of vocal and instrumental music, the appropriate use of the voice, accurate pitch discrimination, and creativity in music. Their efforts are complemented by classroom teachers, who have the unique opportunity to make music a part of the daily life of the students and to integrate music into the total curriculum.
  2. All music educators are musicians/teachers who are certified to teach music, have extensive specialized knowledge and training, and are fully qualified for their instructional assignments in music.
  3. In order that every student may receive adequate instruction, at least one general music teacher is available for every 400 students at the elementary level.
  4. In order that every student may receive a comprehensive, balanced, and sequential program of study, every music educator has a block of time of at least thirty minutes for preparation and evaluation each day, excluding time for lunch and time for travel from room to room and building to building. Sufficient time for travel is calculated in the teaching loads of teachers who are required to move from one building to another.
  5. In order that every student may have access to a teacher whose knowledge is current and whose teaching embodies the best current practices, every school district or school provides a regular program of in-service education that includes at least two paid days for professional development activities arranged by the district or school each year for every music educator. In addition, every music educator is permitted at least two paid days of leave each year for professional development activities proposed by the teacher and approved by the district or school.
  6. Special-education classes in music are no larger than other special-education classes. Teacher aides are provided for special- education classes in music if they are provided for other special- education classes. If a student with a disability has an aide to assist in other classes, the aide also assists the student in music classes.
  7. In order that special-education students may receive adequate instruction, every music educator working with these students has received training in special education and, for purposes of consultation, has convenient access to trained professionals in special education or music therapy.
  8. In order that the instructional program of every student may be adequately coordinated and articulated from level to level, one music educator in every district or school is designated as coordinator or administrator to provide leadership for the music program. This person is employed on a full-time basis for administration when the staff includes twenty-five or more music educators. The amount of administrative time is adjusted proportionately when the staff is smaller. Additional administrative staff is employed at a rate of one- fifth time for each additional five teachers above twenty-five.


Materials and Equipment

  1. Every room in which music is taught is equipped with a high- quality sound reproduction system capable of utilizing current recording technology. At least some of the audio equipment can be operated by the students. Every teacher has convenient access to sound recordings representing a wide variety of music styles and cultures.
  2. In every school the following are available for use in music instruction: microcomputers and appropriate music software, including notation and sequencing software; printers; sufficient MIDI equipment; multiple electronic keyboards; synthesizers; CD-ROM- compatible computers and music-related CD-ROMs. Also available are video cameras, color monitors, stereo VCRs, and multimedia equipment combining digitized sound and music with graphics and text.
  3. Every school provides high-quality instructional materials and equipment of sufficient quantity and variety for every type of content taught and for every instructional setting.
  4. Every school provides a set of music textbooks, published not more than six years previously, for every grade level. A book is available for every student. Teachers’ editions of the textbooks with accompanying sound recordings, as well as other resource materials in music, are readily available for music educators and classroom teachers.
  5. Every school contains a library or student resource center that provides a variety of music-related books and other print materials, audio and video materials, and computer software.
  6. For band, orchestra, and chorus, a library of music is provided that includes at least forty titles for each type of group. At least fifteen titles for each type of group are added each year. The library of music for performing groups is sufficient in size to provide a folder of music for each student in choral groups and for each stand of no more than two performers in instrumental groups. The library contains no materials produced in violation of copyright laws.
  7. Every room in which music is taught has convenient access to a high-quality acoustic or electronic piano, sufficient sturdy music stands, and an assortment of pitched and nonpitched instruments of good quality for classroom use, including fretted instruments, recorders, melody bells, barred instruments, chorded zithers, and assorted instruments representing a variety of cultures. Adaptive devices (e.g., adaptive picks, beaters) are available for use by students with disabilities.
  8. The following are provided in sufficient quantity: French horns, baritones, tubas, appropriately sized violas, cellos, double basses, percussion equipment. Additional instruments are provided where students have difficulty in purchasing instruments due to financial hardship.
  9. An annual budget is provided for the purchase of records, CDs, and audiotape and videotape; computer and electronic materials; and the other special supplies, materials, and equipment needed for the teaching of music.
  10. All equipment is maintained in good repair, with pianos tuned at least three times each year. An annual budget is provided for the repair and maintenance of instruments and equipment that is equal to at least 5 percent of the current replacement value of the total inventory of instruments and equipment.
  11. An annual budget is provided for the replacement of school-owned instruments that is equivalent to at least 5 percent of the current replacement value of the total inventory of instruments.


Facilities

Note: These standards apply to all new construction and to all facilities being renovated or adapted.

  1. A suitable room is available for teaching general music in every school. The room is large enough to accommodate the largest group taught and to provide ample space for physical movement. It has appropriate acoustical properties, a quiet environment, good ventilation, and adequate lighting. It contains storage space for classroom instruments, equipment, and instructional materials.
  2. A suitable room is available for teaching instrumental music in every school. The room is large enough to accommodate the largest group taught. It has appropriate acoustical properties, a quiet environment, good ventilation, and adequate lighting. It contains storage space for instruments, equipment, and instructional materials. Running water is available for instrument maintenance.
  3. Sufficient secured storage space is available in every school to store instruments, equipment, and instructional materials. Shelving or lockers are provided for various large and small instruments.
  4. In order that every student may have convenient, private access to his or her teacher for consultation and help, office or studio space is provided for every music educator.
  5. The music facilities in every school are adjacent to one another, they are acoustically isolated from one another and from the rest of the school, and they are readily accessible to the auditorium stage. All facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

STANDARDS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL AND JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

Curriculum and Scheduling

  1. The music program in the middle school builds sequentially on the music program in the elementary school and provides the foundation for the music program in the high school. Instructional activities are directed toward achieving the national voluntary content and achievement standards.
  2. The general music curriculum comprises a balanced and sequential program of singing, playing instruments, reading music, listening to music, and improvising and composing music.
  3. Every music course, including performance courses, provides experiences in creating, performing, listening to, and analyzing music, in addition to focusing on its specific subject matter. Also included are learning experiences designed to develop the ability to read music, use the notation and terminology of music, describe music, make informed evaluations concerning music, and understand music and music practices in relation to history and culture and to other disciplines in the curriculum.
  4. The repertoire taught includes music representing diverse genres and styles from various periods and cultures.
  5. The music curriculum is described and outlined in a series of sequential and articulated curriculum guides for each grade level or course.
  6. General music is required of all students through grade 8.
  7. Every music course meets at least every other day in periods of at least forty-five minutes. Except for bands, orchestras, and choruses, music class size does not exceed the average class size for the school by more than 10 percent.
  8. At least one year-long elective course in music other than band, orchestra, and chorus is offered in grade 9. At least one course with no prerequisites is available.
  9. Choral and instrumental ensembles and classes are offered during the school day and are scheduled so that all members of each ensemble meet as a unit throughout the year or have equivalent time under an alternative scheduling arrangement. When enrollment justifies, the school offers at least two bands, two orchestras, and two choruses, differentiated by the experience or age level of their members, or, in the case of choruses, by their composition (e.g., treble voices, lower voices, mixed voices). Other choral and instrumental ensembles or classes are offered that reflect the musical interests of the community when clearly identifiable.
  10. In schools not utilizing block scheduling, the school day includes no fewer than eight instructional periods. Every effort is made to avoid scheduling single-section courses in music against single-section courses in required subjects.
  11. Every performing group presents a series of performances or open rehearsals each year for parents, peers, and the community. The number of performances is sufficient to demonstrate the nature and extent of the students learning experiences but not so great as to interfere with the learning process, to reduce the amount of time available to achieve the instructional objectives of the ensemble, or to suggest an emphasis on entertainment rather than education.
  12. Beginning and intermediate instruction is available on woodwind, string, brass, and percussion instruments. Instruction is also provided on instruments that reflect the musical interests of the community when clearly identifiable.
  13. Musicians and music institutions of the community are utilized, when available, to enhance and strengthen the school music curriculum.
  14. When students with disabilities are included in regular music classes:
    1. Their placement is determined on the same basis as placement for students without disabilities (e.g., musical achievement, chronological age).
    2. Music educators are involved in placement decisions and are fully informed about the needs of each student.
    3. Their placement does not result in classes that exceed the average class size for the school by more than 10 percent.
    4. The number of these students does not exceed the average for other classes in the school by more than 10 percent.
  15. Music instruction is provided for students receiving special education who are not included in regular music classes. Music instruction for students with disabilities is designed to teach practical music skills and knowledge that will assist the students in functioning successfully in the music environments of the home, school, and community. The amount of time for music instruction is equivalent to that provided to students without disabilities.
  16. Students with disabilities are given the same opportunities to elect choral and instrumental instruction as other students. If a music task cannot be performed by students with disabilities exactly as it would be by other students, adaptation is provided so that students with disabilities can participate insofar as possible.
  17. Special experiences are designed for musically gifted and talented students according to their abilities and interests.


Staffing

  1. All music educators are musicians/teachers who are certified to teach music, have extensive specialized knowledge and training, and are fully qualified to teach every course they are assigned.
  2. The number of music educators is sufficient to teach the courses specified under the standards for curriculum and scheduling. An accompanist is provided for choral ensembles of more than fifty members.
  3. In order that every student may receive a comprehensive, balanced, and sequential program of study, every music educator has a block of time of at least thirty minutes for preparation and evaluation each day, excluding time for lunch and time for travel from room to room and building to building. Sufficient time for travel is calculated in the teaching loads of teachers who are required to move from one building to another.
  4. In order that every student may have access to a teacher whose knowledge is current and whose teaching embodies the best current practices, every school district or school provides a regular program of in-service education that includes at least two paid days for professional development activities arranged by the district or school each year for every music educator. In addition, every music educator is permitted at least two paid days of leave each year for professional development activities proposed by the teacher and approved by the district or school.
  5. Special-education classes in music are no larger than other special-education classes. Teacher aides are provided for special- education classes in music if they are provided for other special- education classes. If a student with a disability has an aide to assist in other classes, the aide also assists the student in music classes.
  6. In order that special-education students may receive adequate instruction, every music educator working with these students has received training in special education and, for purposes of consultation, has convenient access to trained professionals in special education or music therapy.
  7. In order that the instructional program of every student may be adequately coordinated and articulated from level to level, one music educator in every district or school is designated as coordinator or administrator to provide leadership for the music program. This person is employed on a full-time basis for administration when the staff includes twenty-five or more music educators. The amount of administrative time is adjusted proportionately when the staff is smaller. Additional administrative staff is employed at a rate of one- fifth time for each additional five teachers above twenty-five.


Materials and Equipment

  1. Every room in which music is taught is equipped with a high- quality sound reproduction system capable of utilizing current recording technology. Every teacher has convenient access to sound recordings representing a wide variety of music styles and cultures.
  2. In every school the following are available for use in music instruction: microcomputers and appropriate music software, including notation and sequencing software; printers; sufficient MIDI equipment; multiple electronic keyboards; synthesizers; CD-ROM- compatible computers and music-related CD-ROMs. Also available are video cameras, color monitors, stereo VCRs, and multimedia equipment combining digitized sound and music with graphics and text.
  3. Every school provides high-quality instructional materials and equipment of sufficient quantity and variety for every course offered.
  4. Every school provides a set of music textbooks, published not more than six years previously, for every grade level through grade 8. A book is available for every student. Teachers’ editions of the textbooks with accompanying sound recordings, as well as other resource materials in music, are readily available for music educators and classroom teachers.
  5. Every school contains a library or student resource center that provides a variety of music-related books and other print materials, audio and video materials, and computer software.
  6. For band, orchestra, and chorus, a library of music is provided that includes at least seventy-five titles for each type of group. At least fifteen new titles for each type of group are added each year. For other performing groups sufficient repertoire is available to provide a three-year cycle of instructional materials, and new materials are purchased each year. The library of music for performing groups is sufficient in size to provide a folder of music for each student in choral groups and for each stand of no more than two performers in instrumental groups. The library contains no materials produced in violation of copyright laws.
  7. A library of small-ensemble music is provided that contains at least seventy-five titles for various types of ensembles. At least fifteen new titles are added each year. The library contains no materials produced in violation of copyright laws.
  8. An instruction book and supplementary materials are provided for each student enrolled in beginning or intermediate instrumental classes.
  9. Every room in which music is taught has convenient access to a high-quality acoustic or electronic piano, sufficient sturdy music stands, and an assortment of pitched and nonpitched instruments of good quality for classroom use, including fretted instruments, recorders, melody bells, barred instruments, chorded zithers, and assorted instruments representing a variety of cultures. Adaptive devices (e.g., adaptive picks, beaters) are available for use by students with disabilities. A set of portable choral risers is conveniently available to every room in which choral music is taught.
  10. The following are provided in sufficient quantity: 15-1/2-inch and 16-inch violas, 3/4-size and full-size cellos, 1/2-size and 3/4-size double basses, C piccolos, bass clarinets, tenor saxophones, baritone saxophones, oboes, bassoons, double French horns, baritone horns, tubas, concert snare drums, pedal timpani, concert bass drums, crash cymbals, suspended cymbals, tambourines, triangles, xylophones or marimbas, orchestra bells, assorted percussion equipment, drum stands, movable percussion cabinets, tuba chairs, bass stools, conductors’ stands, tuning devices, music folders, chairs designed for music classes. Additional instruments are provided for each additional large ensemble and in situations where students have difficulty in purchasing instruments due to financial hardship.
  11. An annual budget is provided for the purchase of records, CDs, and audiotape and videotape; computer and electronic materials; and the other special supplies, materials, and equipment needed for the teaching of music.
  12. All equipment is maintained in good repair, with pianos tuned at least three times each year. An annual budget is provided for the repair and maintenance of instruments and equipment that is equal to at least 5 percent of the current replacement value of the total inventory of instruments and equipment.
  13. An annual budget is provided for the replacement of school-owned instruments that is equivalent to at least 5 percent of the current replacement value of the total inventory of instruments.


Facilities

Note: These standards apply to all new construction and to all facilities being renovated or adapted.

  1. A suitable room is available for teaching general music and other music classes in every school. The room is large enough to accommodate the largest group taught and to provide ample space for physical movement.
  2. Every school with both instrumental and choral music educators contains a rehearsal room for instrumental groups and a rehearsal room for choral groups. Curtains are available to adjust the acoustics.
  3. Every instrumental rehearsal room contains at least 2,500 square feet of floor space, with a ceiling at least twenty feet high. Running water is available for instrument maintenance.
  4. Every choral rehearsal room contains at least 1,800 square feet of floor space, with a ceiling at least sixteen feet high.
  5. Adequate classroom space is provided for teaching of nonperformance classes in music, and specialized facilities are available for electronic music and class piano if taught.
  6. Every room in which music is taught has appropriate acoustical properties, a quiet environment, good ventilation, and adequate lighting. The ventilation is quiet enough to allow students to hear soft music, and every room is acoustically isolated from the rest of the school.
  7. Rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, and instrument storage rooms maintain a year-round temperature range between sixty-eight and seventy degrees with humidity between 40 and 50 percent and an air-exchange rate double that of regular classrooms. Lighting and ventilation systems are designed so that rehearsal rooms have a Noise Criterion (NC) level not to exceed NC25, ensemble rooms, teaching studios, and electronic or keyboard rooms not to exceed NC30, and practice rooms not to exceed NC35.
  8. Rehearsal rooms have double-entry doors, nonparallel or acoustically treated walls, and a Sound Transmission Classification (STC) of at least STC50 for the interior and exterior walls and at least STC45 for doors and windows.
  9. Sufficient secured storage space is available in every school to store instruments, equipment, and instructional materials. Cabinets and shelving are provided, as well as lockers for the storage of instruments in daily use. This space is located in or immediately adjacent to the rehearsal facilities. Space is available for the repair and maintenance of instruments.
  10. Every music classroom and rehearsal room contains sufficient chalkboard, some of which has permanent music staff lines, and sufficient cork board.
  11. Every school provides at least two rehearsal rooms of at least 350 square feet each for small ensembles.
  12. Every school provides several practice rooms of at least fifty- five square feet each.
  13. In order that every student may have convenient, private access to his or her teacher for consultation and help, office or studio space is provided for every music educator. This space is adjacent to the instructional area in which the educator teaches and is designed so that he or she can supervise the area. There is convenient access to a telephone.
  14. The music facilities in every school are adjacent to one another and are so located so that they can be secured and used independently of the rest of the building. All facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  15. The music facilities are easily accessible to the auditorium stage. The stage is large and open and is adaptable to the various needs of the performing arts. The auditorium is designed as a music performance space, with good, adjustable acoustics for music and speech requirements, with stage lighting of at least seventy footcandles, and with quiet and adequate mechanical and lighting systems that do not exceed NC20.

STANDARDS FOR HIGH SCHOOL

Curriculum and Scheduling

  1. The music program in the high school builds sequentially on the music program in the middle school and provides the foundation for lifelong participation in and enjoyment of music. Instructional activities are directed toward achieving the national voluntary content and achievement standards.
  2. Every music course, including performance courses, provides experiences in creating, performing, listening to, and analyzing music, in addition to focusing on its specific subject matter. Also included are learning experiences designed to develop the ability to read music, use the notation and terminology of music, describe music, make informed evaluations concerning music, and understand music and music practices in relation to history and culture and to other disciplines in the curriculum.
  3. The repertoire taught includes music representing diverse genres and styles from various periods and cultures.
  4. The music curriculum is described and outlined in a series of sequential and articulated curriculum guides for each course.
  5. Every music course meets at least every other day in periods of at least forty-five minutes.
  6. One semester-length music course other than band, orchestra, and chorus is offered for each four hundred students in the school. At least one of these courses has no prerequisites.
  7. Choral and instrumental ensembles and classes are offered during the school day and are scheduled so that all members of each ensemble meet as a unit throughout the year or have equivalent time under an alternative scheduling arrangement. When enrollment justifies, the school offers at least two bands, two orchestras, and two choruses, differentiated by the experience or age level of their members, or, in the case of choruses, by their composition (e.g., treble voices, lower voices, mixed voices). Other choral and instrumental ensembles or classes are offered that reflect the musical interests of the community when clearly identifiable.
  8. At least one performing organization other than band, orchestra, and chorus (e.g., jazz ensemble, madrigal singers, show choir, gospel choir) is available for each three hundred students in the school.
  9. In schools not utilizing block scheduling, the school day includes no fewer than eight instructional periods. Every effort is made to avoid scheduling single-section courses in music against single-section courses in required subjects.
  10. Every performing group presents a series of performances or open rehearsals each year for parents, peers, and the community. The number of performances is sufficient to demonstrate the nature and extent of the students learning experiences but not so great as to interfere with the learning process, to reduce the amount of time available to achieve the instructional objectives of the ensemble, or to suggest an emphasis on entertainment rather than education.
  11. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced choral and instrumental instruction is available. Instruction is also provided on instruments that reflect the musical interests of the community when clearly identifiable.
  12. Musicians and music institutions of the community are utilized, when available, to enhance and strengthen the school music curriculum.
  13. When students with disabilities are included in regular music classes:
    1. a. Their placement is determined on the same basis as placement for students without disabilities (e.g., musical achievement, chronological age).
    2. b. Music educators are involved in placement decisions and are fully informed about the needs of each student.
  14. Students with disabilities are given the same opportunities to elect choral and instrumental instruction as other students. If a music task cannot be performed by students with disabilities exactly as it would be by other students, adaptation is provided so that students with disabilities can participate insofar as possible.
  15. Academic credit is awarded for music study on the same basis as for comparable courses. Grades earned in music courses are considered in determining the grade point averages and class rankings of students on the same basis as grades in comparable courses.
  16. Special experiences are designed for musically gifted and talented students according to their abilities and interests.


Staffing

  1. All music educators are musicians/teachers who are certified to teach music, have extensive specialized knowledge and training, and are fully qualified to teach every course they are assigned.
  2. The number of music educators is sufficient to teach the courses specified under the standards for curriculum and scheduling. An accompanist is provided for choral ensembles of more than fifty members.
  3. In order that every student may receive a comprehensive, balanced, and sequential program of study, every music educator has a block of time of at least thirty minutes for preparation and evaluation each day, excluding time for lunch and time for travel from room to room and building to building. Sufficient time for travel is calculated in the teaching loads of teachers who are required to move from one building to another.
  4. In order that every student may have access to a teacher whose knowledge is current and whose teaching embodies the best current practices, every school district or school provides a regular program of in-service education that includes at least two paid days for professional development activities arranged by the district or school each year for every music educator. In addition, every music educator is permitted at least two paid days of leave each year for professional development activities proposed by the teacher and approved by the district or school.
  5. Special-education classes in music are no larger than other special-education classes. Teacher aides are provided for special- education classes in music if they are provided for other special- education classes. If a student with a disability has an aide to assist in other classes, the aide also assists the student in music classes.
  6. In order that special-education students may receive adequate instruction, every music educator working with these students has received training in special education and, for purposes of consultation, has convenient access to trained professionals in special education or music therapy.
  7. In order that the instructional program of every student may be adequately coordinated and articulated from level to level, one music educator in every district or school is designated as coordinator or administrator to provide leadership for the music program. This person is employed on a full-time basis for administration when the staff includes twenty-five or more music educators. The amount of administrative time is adjusted proportionately when the staff is smaller. Additional administrative staff is employed at a rate of one- fifth time for each additional five teachers above twenty-five.


Materials and Equipment

  1. Every room in which music is taught is equipped with a high- quality sound reproduction system capable of utilizing current recording technology. Every teacher has convenient access to sound recordings representing a wide variety of music styles and cultures.
  2. In every school the following are available for use in music instruction: microcomputers and appropriate music software, including notation and sequencing software; printers; sufficient MIDI equipment; multiple electronic keyboards; synthesizers; CD-ROM- compatible computers and music-related CD-ROMs. Also available are video cameras, color monitors, stereo VCRs, and multimedia equipment combining digitized sound and music with graphics and text.
  3. Every school provides high-quality instructional materials and equipment of sufficient quantity and variety for every course offered.
  4. Every school contains a library or student resource center that provides a variety of music-related books and other print materials, audio and video materials, and computer software.
  5. For band, orchestra, and chorus a library of music is provided that includes at least seventy-five titles for each type of group. At least fifteen new titles for each type of group are added each year. For other performing groups sufficient repertoire is available to provide a three-year cycle of instructional materials, and new materials are purchased each year. The library of music for performing groups is sufficient in size to provide a folder of music for each student in choral groups and for each stand of no more than two performers in instrumental groups. The library contains no materials produced in violation of copyright laws.
  6. A library of small-ensemble music is provided that contains at least seventy-five titles for various types of ensembles. At least fifteen new titles are added each year. The library contains no materials produced in violation of copyright laws.
  7. Every room in which music is taught has convenient access to a high-quality acoustic or electronic piano. A set of portable choral risers is conveniently available to every room in which choral music is taught.
  8. The following are provided in sufficient quantity: violas, cellos, double basses, C piccolos, E-flat clarinets, A clarinets, alto clarinets, bass clarinets, contrabass clarinets, tenor saxophones, baritone saxophones, oboes, English horns, bassoons, double French horns, baritone horns, bass trombones, tubas, concert snare drums, concert bass drums, crash cymbals, suspended cymbals, pedal timpani, tambourines, triangles, xylophones, marimbas, orchestra bells, chimes, trap drum sets, gongs, harps, assorted percussion equipment, drum stands, movable percussion cabinets, drums for marching band if offered, tuba chairs, bass stools, sturdy music stands, conductors’ stands, tuning devices, music folders, chairs designed for music classes. Additional instruments are provided for each additional large ensemble and in situations where students have difficulty in purchasing instruments due to financial hardship.
  9. An annual budget is provided for the purchase of records, CDs, and audiotape and videotape; computer and electronic materials; and the other special supplies, materials, and equipment needed for the teaching of music.
  10. All equipment is maintained in good repair, with pianos tuned at least three times each year. An annual budget is provided for the repair and maintenance of instruments and equipment that is equal to at least 5 percent of the current replacement value of the total inventory of instruments and equipment.
  11. An annual budget is provided for the replacement of school-owned instruments that is equivalent to at least 5 percent of the current replacement value of the total inventory of instruments.


Facilities

Note: These standards apply to all new construction and to all facilities being renovated or adapted.

  1. Every school with both instrumental and choral music educators contains a rehearsal room for instrumental groups and a rehearsal room for choral groups. Curtains are available to adjust the acoustics.
  2. Every instrumental rehearsal room contains at least 2,500 square feet of floor space, with a ceiling at least twenty feet high. Running water is available for instrument maintenance.
  3. Every choral rehearsal room contains at least 1,800 square feet of floor space, with a ceiling at least sixteen feet high.
  4. Adequate classroom space is provided for teaching of nonperformance classes in music, and specialized facilities are available for electronic music and class piano if taught.
  5. Every room in which music is taught has appropriate acoustical properties, a quiet environment, good ventilation, and adequate lighting. The ventilation is quiet enough to allow students to hear soft music, and every room is acoustically isolated from the rest of the school.
  6. Rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, and instrument storage rooms maintain a year-round temperature range between sixty-eight and seventy degrees with humidity between 40 and 50 percent and an air exchange rate double that of regular classrooms. Lighting and ventilation systems are designed so that rehearsal rooms have a Noise Criterion (NC) level not to exceed NC25, ensemble rooms, teaching studios, and electronic or keyboard rooms not to exceed NC30, and practice rooms not to exceed NC35.
  7. Rehearsal rooms have double-entry doors, nonparallel or acoustically treated walls, and a Sound Transmission Classification (STC) of at least STC50 for the interior and exterior walls and at least STC45 for doors and windows.
  8. Sufficient secured storage space is available in every school to store instruments, equipment, and instructional materials. Cabinets and shelving are provided, as well as lockers for the storage of instruments in daily use. This space is located in or immediately adjacent to the rehearsal facilities. Space is available for the repair and maintenance of instruments.
  9. Every music classroom and rehearsal room contains sufficient chalkboard, some of which has permanent music staff lines, and sufficient cork board.
  10. Every school provides at least two rehearsal rooms of at least 350 square feet each for small ensembles.
  11. Every school provides several practice rooms of at least fifty- five square feet each.
  12. In order that every student may have convenient, private access to his or her teacher for consultation and help, office or studio space is provided for every music educator. This space is adjacent to the instructional area in which the educator teaches and is designed so that he or she can supervise the area. There is convenient access to a telephone.
  13. The music facilities in every school are adjacent to one another and are so located so that they can be secured and used independently of the rest of the building. All facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  14. The music facilities are easily accessible to the auditorium stage. The stage is large and open and is adaptable to the various needs of the performing arts. The auditorium is designed as a music performance space, with good, adjustable acoustics for music and speech requirements, with stage lighting of at least seventy footcandles, and with quiet and adequate mechanical and lighting systems that do not exceed NC20.

STANDARDS PUBLICATIONS

Publications explaining and supporting the standards are available from MENC through Rowman and Littlefield Education.

Standards Publications: The Arts

National Standards for Arts Education: What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able to Do in the Arts. Content and achievement standards for dance, music, theatre, and visual arts; grades K-12. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1994. ISBN 1-56545- 036-1.

Perspectives on Implementation: Arts Education Standards for America’s Students. A discussion of the issues related to implementation of the standards and of strategies for key constituencies that need to be involved in the process. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1994.  ISBN 1-56545-042-6.

The Vision for Arts Education in the 21st Century. The ideas and ideals behind the development of the National Standards for Arts Education. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1994. ISBN 1-56545-025-6.

Standards Publications: Music

The School Music Program: A New Vision. The K-12 National Standards, PreK standards, and what they mean to music educators. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1994.  ISBN 1-56545-039-6.

Opportunity-to-Learn Standards for Music Instruction: Grades PreK-12. Information on what schools should provide in terms of curriculum and scheduling, staffing, materials and equipment, and facilities. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1994. ISBN 1- 56545-040-X.

Performance Standards for Music: Strategies and Benchmarks for Assessing Progress Toward the National Standards, Grades PreK – 12. Sample assessment strategies and descriptions of student responses at the basic, proficient, and advanced levels for each achievement standard in the National Standards. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1966. ISBN 1-56545-099-X.

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