Join the next SupportMusic Coalition Webinar for the latest in music advocacy live from our nation's capital on Thursday, May 22 at 11 a.m. Eastern. NAMM Members are currently in Washington, DC this week advocating for music education. NAMM Members will also participate in a "day of music making service" this week at a school in Washington. The Webinar on Thursday will be led by NAMM Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations Mary Luehrson and will include a recap of visits with Members of Congress, a report on NAMM advocacy asks, information garnered from policy and advocacy training and news of NAMM's collaboration with the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Click here to learn more and register.
As a young middle school alto saxophone and piano student, the first after-school program I participated in was the middle school jazz band. Jazz band opened me up to a whole new world of music styles and genres I had no clue existed. An after-school jazz program from 4th grade through high school is providing that experience to underserved students in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Alum Rock Jazz Program was created in 1973 by music educator Bill Nicolosi and has provided after-school jazz experiences for thousands of students since. Nicolosi was able to successfully advocate for a permanent school-funded position for the after-school program in 1980, which has remained today. The program also utilizes donations and local funding partners to provide instrument, travel and instrument coach expenses. The Alum Rock Jazz Program has sent alumni to major in music in college and perform jazz professionally, many of whom return to train young jazz students.
Near Jacksonville, Florida, two elementary students received musical instruments for their inspiring essays about music. "I love music," a fourth grade music student said. "It helps me express my feelings. Also, I have a passion for music since I was little. Don't you think music is all inspiring?" The Music for Dreams Foundation provided the instruments to two students at the low income W.E. Cherry Elementary School in Orange Park. The Foundation was created to provide outlets for underserved children to express themselves. The Foundation partners with VH1 Save the Music to provide musical instruments.
For many of us, when we think of "child composer," we think of a child prodigy or genius. For educator Danie Deutsch, child composers should be componplace in our music education landscape. According to Deutsch, one of his students exclaimed, “When I play my own music, my soul is released. I can fly. I’m special.” Deutsch advocates for teaching composition not as theory exercises, but as the idea and expression. “Sometimes you can guess the identity of the composer by the personality of the piece, but sometimes hidden facets of character are revealed, like the tender elegy of a sturdy athlete, or the eloquent grandeur of a painfully shy student,” says Deutsch. Do you teach composition in the music classroom? Does it creatively engage your students?
As a self-professed millenial, I often find myself on Buzzfeed more often than I should be. If you are not aware of Buzzfeed, it is a list-making content creation platform that relies on viral content to be successful. In hundreds of posts per day, there was bound to be a musical instrument-related post, but this one felt awfully close to home. "What Your Middle School Band Instrument Says About You" provides a brief generalization of the stereotypes we've all come to know for band instruments. As a saxophone player who switched to French horn in middle school, I'd like to think that I am both opinionated and charming. In addition to finding out what your instrument says about you, how do you feel about these instrument stereotypes? How do they impact recruitment and retention? Do they create instrumentation issues from an ensemble perspective?