Elementary School Music

The National Standards

Posted in Music Standards by P. Conrad on September 7, 2006

The complete national standards in music (PreK-12) are available as a 48-page softcover book, The School Music Program: A New Vision (MENC, 1994). ISBN 1-56545-039-6 ($19.00). Or you can read them online at the MENC site. They include the following:

Opportunity-to-Learn Standards for Music Instruction: Grades PreK-12
Opportunity-to-Learn Standards are like a recipe for some professionals’ idea of the ideal learning environment. They 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.” Here are wonderful lists of instruments and audio equipment, and measures of how often and for how long classes ought to meet. (The OTL also contains the seeds of the NYC Blueprint: one line reads: “The music curriculum is described and outlined in a series of sequential and articulated curriculum guides for each grade level.”)

Performance standards will be more familiar to people who witnessed the widespread use of New York State’s ELA and Math Standards in 1999. A single student response (or performance) can be keyed to a particular standard, to show where it reflects that bit of curriculum. Here’s where teachers can find specific assessment activities for measuring a child’s abilities, with reference to each standard, at any of three levels: “Basic,” “Proficient,” or “Advanced,” depending on how consistently the child can keep a steady beat, or identify different musical genres (for example).

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