NJMEA POSITION STATEMENT ON MUSIC EDUCATION
The mission of the New Jersey Music Educators Association is the advancement of music instruction in New Jersey’s educational institutions at all levels that provide in-service and enrichment opportunities for practicing and retired teachers and prospective music educators, as well as sponsoring various festivals and all-state performing groups for K-12 students.
The Role of Music in New Jersey Education
Access to Music Education
The New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA) believes that every student at every level, K-12, should have access to a balanced, comprehensive, and sequential program of music instruction in school taught by teachers qualified in music.
The NJMEA believes that the finest possible education in music should be available to every student in the state and that every student should have an equal opportunity to study music. The quality and quantity of music instruction should not be a result of social status, racial or ethnic status, urban/suburban/rural status, or parental or community wealth.
Support for Music Education
The NJMEA believes that in order to achieve our commitment of equal educational opportunity for all, every school system, public or private, should provide adequate financial resources to support the music program as recommended in the Standards for Music Education. In public schools this support should come from public funds. The music program should not depend on funds raised by students, teachers, or support groups.
The NJMEA believes that if and when fiscal pressures require cutbacks in school programs such savings should be made equitably across subject-matter fields in order to maintain a balanced curriculum. NJMEA is opposed to any categorical cuts that would curtail or eliminate specific programs.
Objectives of Music Education
The NJMEA believes that the K-12 music program should be designed to produce individuals who:
- 1. are able to perform music alone and with others;
2. are able to improvise and compose music;
3. are able to use the vocabulary and notation of music;
4. are able to respond to music aesthetically, intellectually, and emotionally;
5. are acquainted with a wide variety of music, including diverse musical styles and genres representing cultures from throughout the world;
6. understand the uses and influences of music in the lives of human beings;
7. are able to make aesthetic judgments based on critical listening and analysis;
8. have developed a commitment to music;
9. support the musical life of the community and encourage others to do so;
10. are able to continue their musical learning independently.
The NJMEA believes that, although formal instruction in music is very important to the development of those students who are gifted and talented in music, the primary purpose of music instruction in the schools is to improve the quality of life for all students through the development of their capacities to participate fully in their musical culture.
Music and the Other Basics
The NJMEA believes that the arts constitute one of the five fundamental components of basic education, along with language, mathematics, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. These five fields of study should be at the core of education of every child as outlined in the Standards for Arts Education.
The NJMEA believes that the arts should be an integral part of basic education and that in this context “the arts,” “the fine arts,” and “the visual and performing arts” should all be defined to comprise only music, visual arts, theater, and dance. Courses not focusing on these four arts should not be permitted to satisfy requirements in the arts although they might include “art” in their title.
National Association for Music Education
The New Jersey Music Educators Association is a federated State Unit of NAfME: National Association for Music Education. NAfME is a voluntary, nonprofit organization representing all phases of music education in schools, colleges, universities, and teacher-education institutions. Active NAfME membership is open to all persons engaged in music teaching or other music education work. NAfME is the largest professional organization of its kind in the world. The official magazine of NAfME is the Music Educators Journal.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for MUSIC EDUCATION (NAfME)
1806 Robert Fulton Drive
Reston, Virginia 20191
(703) 860-4000 ext. 211
(703) 860-2652 fax