Des Moines Public Schools Band Guidelines


Position Statement on Religious Music in Public Schools

It is the position of the Iowa High School Music Association that the study of religious music is a vital and appropriate part of the total music experience in both performing and listening.  The omission of sacred music from the repertoire or study of music would present an incorrect and incomplete concept of the comprehensive nature of the art form.


Any work of art studied or performed should be selected for its inherent beauty of structure and form.  Its purpose in study should be learning for the sake of developing artistic understanding and responsiveness.  Often artworks are related to a specific religious / cultural tradition.  The study of such works of art can enhance one’s understanding and appreciation of a cultural product which a particular tradition has fostered.

Constitutional Issues

The First Amendment does not forbid all mention of religion in the public schools; it prohibits the advancement or inhibition of religion by the state.  A second clause in the First Amendment prohibits infringement of religious beliefs.  The public schools are not required to delete from the curriculum all materials that may offend any religious sensitivity.