Musical Ear by 8th Grade Among Goals

<i> Associated Press</i>

Eighth graders should be able to improvise a simple harmonic accompaniment to a musical melody, Education Secretary Richard Riley said Friday.

Asked whether this would be a too steep requirement, he replied: “Not for a great nation.”

Moreover, a high school student also should be able to write an original play, he said.

“Children should listen to music some of the time--not all of the time,” he suggested.


Congress has passed a law called “Goals 2000" to set standards for schools and help meet criticism that American education has fallen below levels in other countries. Business people often complain that they are not getting able graduates and have to supplement their schooling.

Riley called inclusion of standards for accomplishments in the arts a big step forward.

“Through art we can approach perception and problem-solving in different ways,” he said.

Riley was addressing the advisory council of the National Endowment for the Arts.