NAMM Delegation Advocates for Music Education in Washington, D.C.

More than 100 music industry leaders, notable artists and arts education activists descended on the nation’s capital this week to advocate for all school-aged children to have access to quality, comprehensive school music education programs. As part of the annual National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Advocacy Fly-In, held May 20-23, the delegation met with Members of Congress and other policy stakeholders to reinforce the importance of music as part of a well-rounded education and to urge Congress to fund the Title IV program at its authorized level of $1.65 billion in fiscal year 2020 to ensure that the goals of the Every Student Succeeds Act are realized for every child.

The week of advocacy work began on Monday, May 20 with a Day of Service at Charles Hart Middle School in Congress Heights. Nearly 60 NAMM Members provided one-on-one instruction on drums, guitars and ukuleles to elementary students as well as needed maintenance and repair to the school’s musical instruments. In the evening, the delegation delved into the opportunities to advance music education at a special panel session featuring arts leaders, school administrators, and the Save the Music Foundation.

On Tuesday, the delegates prepared for their time on Capitol Hill by participating in advocacy training, during which the group was apprised of current issues facing public school music programs and briefed on the Every Student Succeeds Act and the current political climate from a variety of policy and arts leaders. Michael Yaffe, Associate Dean of the Yale School of Music, presented on issues on equity in music education as detailed in the Yale School of Music Declaration on Equity in Music for Students. The report examines the role of music making in the lives of students in America’s cities, both large and small.

That evening, the group joined The NAMM Foundation in honoring Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Committee on Education and Labor, with the SupportMusic Champion Award. The award was presented by former Secretary of Education Richard Riley and NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond to the Chairman, in recognition of the Chairman’s unwavering commitment to music and the arts and for his role as one of the primary authors and champion of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Act reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time in 13 years and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. Additionally, in 2017, he worked to secure passage of legislation to reform and update the nation’s career and technical education system, as well as the juvenile justice system in 2018, both of which were signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Upon presentation of the award, the Chairman shared, “I want to thank the National Association of Music Merchants for promoting music and arts education in public schools. We know that access to music and art programs can be a powerful tool for improving student engagement, attendance, and outcomes. We must continue the important work of ensuring that all students have access to high-quality arts and music programs that enrich their development and lead to better educational outcomes.”

On Wednesday, the delegation met with Members of Congress and other elected officials to advocate for school-level music programs across the nation and to discuss the multitude of benefits music education espouses such as increased brain function, focus and language development. Delegates also shared a report from the Kennedy Center’s Turnaround Arts program and The NAMM Foundation. The Foundation has provided over $500,000 to expand music education in 70 schools through the Turnaround Arts program. Researchers explored music education instruction, specialists and curriculum at Turnaround Arts schools, finding that as schools invested in music education, the quality of and access to music education increased from 27.8% to 75%, and the average number of minutes of music instruction per week increased from 17 to 33, nearing the national average of 40 minutes per week. Read the release here:

Later Wednesday evening, the delegation, music and arts stakeholders and others gathered to celebrate former NY Yankee World Series Champion, NAMM Foundation Board Member, music education champion, and accomplished musician Bernie Williams. Williams has served as a delegate on the fly-in for the past 10 years, citing his own passion for music as a catalyst to share the joys of music making for all children. When Williams accepted the award, he reflected on the past years of advocacy work on ESSA, and what it means to him: “Twenty, thirty, forty years from now, there’s going to be a child in school that thinks to themselves, ‘somebody thought that it was important for me to learn music.’ I had an interview earlier today where I was asked about my career and I said that ‘There’s not even a comparison, no comparison - there's no amount of home runs in the world that can compare with having the opportunity to impact the education of our kids for years to come.’”

Photos of the NAMM Fly-In events are available for editorial use. Please contact NAMM Public Relations department for images. 


Elizabeth Dale

Tulsa, Oklahoma retailer and NAMM Member, Saied Music Company, has launched a colorful, new initiative: Play Me, Tulsa!

  • Play Me, Tulsa!
  • Piano Painting
  • Play Me, Tulsa!
  • Play Me, Tulsa!
  • Brookside Collective

The family-owned, full-line music store found that they often become the final resting place for older pianos. As a result, the team at Saied Music Company decided to bring new life to the instruments by partnering with the Tulsa Mayfest to create the new initiative which inspires the community with impromptu opportunities to play the piano throughout the city.

Working with different art departments from local area school districts, a total of 12 pianos were colorfully reimagined through the donations of paint from Anchor Paint and made their debut at the Mayfest 2019, a festival that aims to bring ‘arts and experiences to Tulsa.’ The pianos, which can be found at sites such as Gathering Place, Tulsa’s Riverfront Park, the North Mabee Boys & Girls Club of America, and other local restaurants, retail spaces, and outdoor venues are set to remain in their locations throughout Tulsa until the end of July.

Play Me, Tulsa!

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Saied Music Company established the arts initiative with a goal “to provide a fun and impactful way to foster community engagement in both art and music.” With the belief that music has the power to unite, encourage, and inspire, Saied Music Company was founded in 1946 with a mission to encourage and inspire the community to make music.

For more information including a list of host locations for the Play Me, Tulsa! Pianos visit

Sam Hart

Interview Date:
May 21, 2019
Job Title:
Sales Associate
Mississippi Music

Sam Hart’s father was a preacher who sang with his siblings as the Hart Brothers. Sam grew up surrounded by music and was encouraged to join the school band in the sixth grade. In 1975, after studying music education, Sam was hired as a repairman for Wright Music in Jackson, Mississippi. Sam later joined Mississippi Music where he continued to repair instruments as well as managing the front desk. In working the front, Sam began overseeing the accessories, specifically helping to display the items clearly for the customers. With his knowledge of repairs, Sam also enjoyed selling brass instrument to musicians at all levels.

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Sam Hart

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