ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Standards Hit the High Note during Music in Our Schools Month

New York, Mar 28, 2013

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is pleased to recognize the nationwide celebration of Music in Our Schools Month, which takes place every March. Each year, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) carries out a program of events and initiatives intended to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of high-quality music education programs in our nation’s schools. And holding an important place in the ensemble of factors that support music and music education are standards, which provide essential support for the equipment and systems used in today’s school music programs.

ANSI-accredited standards developer the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is among the ANSI members doing important standardization work in this area. Two American National Standards (ANS) developed by ASA, ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010, Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools, Part 1: Permanent Schools, and ANSI/ASA S12.60-2009, Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools, Part 2: Relocatable Classroom Factors, set down acoustical performance criteria for both permanent and relocatable classrooms and learning spaces. With cuts to education budgets meaning that fewer schools have permanent music classrooms and music facilities, guidelines for temporary music learning spaces are of growing importance. ASA has made these standards available for free download here, with the financial support of Owens Corning, Armstrong Ceiling Systems, and Trane.

While classroom and performance spaces are an important part of an effective school music program, comprehensive music education also requires access to musical instruments, many of which contain specially manufactured components. ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, has developed a standard that provides specifications for music spring quality steel wire, which can be used in pianos, as well as for other industrial and commercial uses. ASTM A228/A228M-07, Standard Specification for Steel Wire, Music Spring Quality, covers high-quality, cold-drawn steel music wire that can be used to create fatigue-resistant springs, among other uses.

Though traditional instruments like pianos and saxophones continue to hold a central place in most school music programs, electronic instruments like electric guitars and keyboards have grown increasingly popular over the years. UL 469 (Ed. 4), Standard for Musical Instruments and Accessories, establishes requirements for power-operated musical instruments and related accessories rated 300 volts or less, including organs, synthesizers and rhythm generators. The standard, which covers household and commercial use in accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, was developed by ANSI audited designator Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).

While most music education programs focus on teaching children and young adults to master a particular instrument, some students are also given the opportunity to learn music theory and composition. A standard developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer IEEE provides guidelines for the development of an application using the XML digital markup language to record music scores, digital sound levels and other relevant data. IEEE Std 1599-2008, IEEE Recommended Practice for Defining a Commonly Acceptable Musical Application Using XML, provides a structure that can be used to effectively create a multimedia notation of sounds and music, including pop songs, orchestral works, and more. The standard’s recommendations integrate music representation with already existing standards and are designed to be compatible with all music representation software, including score editing programs, musical databases, and composition applications.

With the help of standards, effective instruction, and their own hard work, American students can bolster their musical skill and their prospects through the study of music.

For more information about the 2013 celebration of Music in Our Schools Month, “Music Education – Orchestrating Success,” please visit the official webpage.

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