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Leading and Supporting Music Education Worldwide

(Board Approved version, July 15, 2006)

ISME Mission

The International Society for Music Education (ISME) believes that lived experiences of music, in all their many aspects, are a vital part of the life of all people. ISME's mission is to enhance those experiences by:

  • building and maintaining a worldwide community of music educators characterized by mutual respect and support;
  • fostering global intercultural understanding and cooperation among the world's music educators; and
  • promoting music education for people of all ages in all relevant situations throughout the world.

ISME Core Values

To build and maintain a worldwide community of music educators the ISME affirms that:

  • there is a need for music education in all cultures;
  • effective music education depends on suitably qualified teachers who are respected and compensated properly for their work;
  • all teacher education curricula should provide skills in and understandings of a selection of both local and international musics;
  • formal and informal music education programs should serve the individual needs of all learners, including those with special needs and exceptional competencies; and
  • music education programs should take as a point of departure the existence of a wide variety of musics, all of which are worthy of understanding and study.

With respect to international and intercultural understandings and cooperation, the ISME believes that:

  • the richness and diversity of the world's music provides opportunities for intercultural learning and international understanding, co-operation and peace; and
  • in music education everywhere, respect for all kinds of music should be emphasized.

In its promotion of music education worldwide, the ISME maintains that:

  • access for all people to music learning opportunities and to participate actively in various aspects of music is essential for the wellbeing of the individual and Society;
  • in teaching the musics of the world, the integrity of each music and its value criteria should be fully respected; and
  • access to music, information about music, and opportunities to develop musical and related skills can occur in a range of ways, that are essential in satisfying peoples' diverse musical needs, interests, and capacities.

This statement, formally accepted by the ISME Board on July 15, 2006, updates and builds on the achievements of two previously approved policies:

  • ISME Declaration of Beliefs (Adopted and approved by the Board in July 1994, Tampa, FL, USA)
  • Declaration of Beliefs for Worldwide Promotion of Music Education (Adopted and approved by the Board in July 1996, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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