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International Society for Music Education (ISME)

International Society of Music Education (ISME)

International Society for Music Education







International Society for Music Education (“ISME”) was formed at a conference convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, a globally-recognised international organization with 195 country member states – See in 1953 “to stimulate music education as an integral part of general education.”

This has been ISME’s main concern over the past decades and continues to be its most important source of motivation. In the years that followed its formation, ISME gradually evolved to what it is today, a worldwide organisation for music educators that seeks to celebrate the diverse ways that people engage with, and develop in and through, music. Since 1953, ISME represents an international, interdisciplinary, intercultural music community network striving to understand and promote music learning across the lifespan (See

The ISME is a globally-recognized music organisation with a long history of activities serving the global music community. The ISME is affiliated to the International Music Council (with a music network covering 200 million music community members and over 1000 organisations in over 150 countries – See and UNESCO (See, with presence in over 80 countries covering a network of millions of music community members (See The ISME, the “premiere international organisation for music education,” “respects all musics and all culture” and believes that “every individual has a right to music education” (See

The list of ISME Affiliate Members and Group Members(See includes music organisations such as the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) (See, the International Society for Musical Studies (See, NAMM (the “international association of music products”) (See, and Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI), the world’s largest music youth organization covering over 5 million music community members aged 13-30 (See

The ISME is the worldwide network for:

  • Early childhood music educators
  • Elementary and primary school music educators
  • High school and secondary music educators
  • College and university music educators
  • Music education researchers
  • Music education students
  • Music performance teachers
  • Community musicians
  • Music therapists and music medicine practioners (See

The International Society for Music Education (ISME) Mission 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.

To build and maintain a worldwide community of music educators the ISME affirms its Core Values 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 (



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