Child's Bill of Rights

The National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC) believes that every American child should have the following rights to instruction in music and urges that these rights be recognized and guaranteed by educational funding authorities, school administrators, and the public:

1. As their right, all children at every level must have access to a balanced, comprehensive, and sequential program of music instruction in school taught by teachers qualified in music.

2. As their right, all children must be given the opportunity to explore and develop their musical abilities to the fullest extent possible through instruction that is equal to that provided in the other basic subjects of the curriculum and is responsive to the individual needs of each child.

3. As their right, all children must receive the finest possible education in music, every child must have an equal opportunity to study music, and the quality and quantity of children’s music instruction must not depend upon their geographical location, social status, racial or ethnic status, urban/suburban/rural residence, or parental or community wealth.

4. As their right, all children must receive extensive opportunities to sing, play at least one instrument, compose, improvise, and listen to music.

5. As their right, all children must have the opportunity to study music of diverse periods, styles, forms, and cultures, including samples of the various musics of the world and music that reflects the multimusical nature of our pluralistic American culture.

6. As their right, all children must have the opportunity to develop their abilities to analyze music with discrimination, to understand the historical and cultural backgrounds of the music they encounter, to make relevant critical judgments about music and performances, and to deal with aesthetic issues relevant to music.

7. As their right, all children must have the opportunity to grow in music knowledge, skills, and appreciation so as to bring joy and satisfaction to their lives, challenge their minds, stimulate their imaginations, and exalt their spirits.  


Original version adopted March 21, 1950

Revised version adopted November 1, 1991