"Best 100 Communities for Music Education" Survey Moved Up for 2003

Online Submissions for Fourth Nationwide Assessment Accepted Now through February

January 16, 2003

The fourth annual “Best 100 Communities for Music Education” survey is underway, and supporters of music across the country should take note that the American Music Conference (AMC) and its partners have moved up the annual timetable to make it easier for more people to participate.

The survey, which people can complete online at www.amc-music.org, recently went live and will remain available through the end of February. Anyone who wishes to take part can enter information about his or her school district, and the survey’s sponsors encourage people to pass the link along to school administrators and independent educators in their communities who may best be able to provide all the required data. Following a careful one-on-one audit of the preliminary data, the 2003 “Best 100” list will be released in March, to coincide with the annual observance of “Music In Our Schools Month.”

“We’ve watched this survey capture more and more people’s attention over its first three years, and by moving up the schedule for 2003, we intend to get even more people involved,” says AMC Executive Director Rob Walker. “There are thousands of communities in America that deserve a chance to make the Best 100 list, and as always, it’s up to people in those districts to go online and participate. It’s always exciting to see who’s making music education happen in America.” In 2002, New York and Pennsylvania sent the most communities to the Best 100 list.

AMC is once again joined by the National Association for Music Education (MENC), the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the National School Boards Association (NSBA), Yamaha Corporation of America and VH1 Save the Music Foundation in creating the survey and interpreting the results. Perseus Development Corp. of Braintree, Mass., is donating its time and expertise to the survey partnership to implement the Web survey and to analyze the data.

“The survey is a great way to offer recognition to those communities that are doing the job right, and it’s a powerful tool for raising awareness about music education nationwide,” Walker notes. “People in the music industry have a stake in getting this message out, and a role to play in making sure their communities are represented. I hope everyone will go home, call up the Web site, and spread the word.”

The yearly survey measures a variety of data categories, including funding, enrollment, student-teacher ratios, participation in music classes, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, participation in private music lessons, performance and competition opportunities and other factors. The survey is structured to allow smaller or less-affluent communities to compete on an equal footing with larger or better-funded ones, by comparing resources committed to music with the overall resources available.