Music Education Advocacy: Keeping the Spirit Alive
I’m an eternal optimist about what lies at the heart of music education traditions in the U.S., which includes a parent’s inherent belief about the importance of music education for their children. This, along with strong music programs and music research facts about the many benefits of music making, is the glue that keeps music education strong in communities, large and small. Building on this, NAMM continues to support local music advocates, music teachers and NAMM Members by providing them with ongoing music research, advocacy materials, tools and resources, as well as access to a national network of fellow advocates via SupportMusic.com.
Unfortunately, I am feeling the strain of school music education programs as financial challenges are addressed across the country. In some instances, programs in the process of being reinstated, as part of education reform plans, are once again being sidetracked. Other programs have been scaled back, with services consolidated, while teachers work harder with larger student loads. Frequently, access to music instruction is now moved up a grade or two, and critical learning time is lost forever.
Music education advocates are not giving in or giving up because their efforts make a difference. This is a call to action for every NAMM Member. Here’s your music education advocacy to-do list as children head back to school this fall:
• Join the SupportMusic Coalition: send an e-mail to SupportMusic@namm.org with your company name and weblink to be added to the growing list of SupportMusic Affiliate Organizations at www.nammfoundation.org/support-music
• Designate a staff member to be the liaison for your company on the Coalition’s one-hour monthly call, so they can participate in the dialogue about trends in music education, and challenges and successes in advocacy for in music education
• Disseminate research and advocacy information from SupportMusic.com in all your communications; promote SupportMusic.com as a resource to your customers
• Use music education advocacy resources, like the Why Learn to Play Music brochure, to communicate the benefits of music education to every customer
• Join community-wide efforts working to support a quality education for all children; be sure music is included as part of the core curriculum
• Host a gathering of parents, teachers and community leaders in your store and start a local coalition to boost support for music education
The spirit of music education is alive in the advocates working across the country. We hope you’ll join our efforts and start making a difference for the students in your community today.
NAMM Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations