The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Blog

 

mfa horz daddario

INDIANAPOLIS – Music for All is pleased to welcome D’Addario, the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instrument accessories, as Program Sponsor for its 2022 Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade®.

We are thrilled to have D’Addario join Music for All’s family of sponsors that support our mission to create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences,” said Jeremy Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All.  

"We're excited to partner with Music for All and support the incredible young musicians that participate in their programming, including the 2022 Bands of America Honor Band," says Kyle Thomas, D'Addario's Education Marketing Manager. "Music for All's mission aligns well with our own and we're looking forward to collaborating with their team to inspire performance for generations to come."

D’Addario’s sponsorship will support Music for All and its 2022 Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade. The BOA Honor Band is a 350-piece national ensemble with winds, percussion, and a flag and dance team. Richard Saucedo, composer, conductor, and retired director of the national champion Carmel H.S. (IN) marching band, will direct the 2022 BOA Honor Band. Music educator, conductor, and adjudicator David Starnes, Director of Orchestras at Kennesaw Mountain H.S., GA, is Program Coordinator. 

Music for All’s advocacy efforts help to ensure access and opportunity to music education for America’s children in their scholastic environment. Music for All’s programs and events include the Bands of America Grand National Championships and Regional Championships for marching bands; the Music for All Summer Symposium camp for students and teachers; the Music for All National Festival for bands, orchestras, choirs, and percussion and chamber ensembles; Affiliate Regional Music Festivals held across America; and national student honor ensembles including the Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade® that will march for the fifth time in 2022.

Music for All is grateful that weather conditions allowed completion of the entirety of the Preliminary Competition at the Bands of America Regional at McAllen, TX on Saturday, September 18. Working together with the Fire Marshall to assess conditions and toensure the safety of the student performerswe suspended preliminary performance due to extreme temperatures with eight groups remaining to perform in prelims. We resumed preliminary performances at 7:30 p.m. which allowed all the bands an opportunity to perform in the event but did not allow for a Finals competition. We would like to thank all involved in ensuring the safety of band members, spectators, and staff.

The overriding ticketing policy for Music for All/Bands of America events is that tickets are “non- refundable.” Nevertheless, where extraordinary circumstances, like severe weather, cause the cancellation of all or a substantial portion of an event, Music for All has established refund polices for that event and offered full or partial refunds as appropriate.

We request that our patrons note that the costs of the event (stadium rental, stadium personnel, judges’ fees and other expenses) were still incurred and paid by Music for All. We invite you to consider foregoing any refund, and instead donate the value of your refund in support of these expenses. Thank you in advance if you choose to donate your refund, and we will provide you with an acknowledgement of your charitable contribution.

Following are Music for All’s policies concerning ticket refunds for the 2021 Regional atMcAllen, Texas: 
Day-Pass – $8 refund
Unused Adult Finals Ticket - $18 refund
Unused Discount Finals Ticket - $15 refund

To request a refund, please email your name and email used to purchase ticket as well as the eight-digit purchasenumber to:support@aftontickets.comRefund requests must be received by October 4,2021 and will be processed by October 31, 2021.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding our refund policies for the 2021 Regional atMcAllen, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800.848.2263.

 

Music for All is excited to return to its live music performance events with the 2021 Bands of America Championship season, starting September 18. Music for All has announced it will require all salaried employees and contracted personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attendance at the 2021 Bands of America Championships.

“The safety and well-being of thoseattending Bands of America Championships continues to be a top priority for Music for All,” the organization says. “Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy. To ensure we get back to making music and enjoying performances together safely, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials, and authorities that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, Music for All is requiring that our employees and contractors at BOA events be fully vaccinated.”

Music for all will follow local requirements for safety and policies for event spectators. Policies and guidelines will be posted on marching.musicforall.org prior to each event.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Music in Our Schools Month® 2021

Written by

2021 MIOSM graphics Twitter Profile Pictures 400x400

March is Music In Our Schools Month®! Our friends at the National Association for Music Education are back to celebrate the 36th year of MIOSM®. It's the perfect opportunity to celebrate the very best of what's happening in music classrooms across America. The team at NAfME has worked hard to make sure everyone can get involved in celebrating music education, including pandemic-safe ways to be involved from the comfort of your own home.

For this year, the theme of MIOSM® is “Music. The Sound of My Heart.” Step one? Start here to learn more about Music In Our Schools Month® and all the ways you can participate.

Are you an educator? Check out these lesson plans! Or for fun, try this “Sound of My Heart” Song Bracket.

2021MIOSMearbuds

Are you a music education advocate, parent, or booster? Throw your support behind this Virtual Hill Month, and don’t miss this virtual congressional briefing with U.S. Senator Jon Tester (MT) on the social-emotional benefits of music and arts education. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: March 24 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Are you a student? Join the World’s Largest Children’s Choir!

Still stumped? There are lots of ideas here!

And of course, everyone can participate safely on social media! NAfME is encouraging teachers and music education advocates to share on social media how their schools are celebrating music education, using the hashtags #MusicTheSoundOfMyHeart and #MIOSM and tagging “@NAfME.” Change your profile picture on social media to let everyone know where your heart lies this month. Download their graphics, and find sample posts to get you started.

And what would Music In Our Schools Month® be without performances? On March 4 starting at 7:00 p.m. EST, the more than 550 students of the National Association for Music Education 2020 All-National Honor Ensembles will perform in six virtual concerts, one for each honor ensemble: Concert Band, Mixed Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, and Modern Band. Free registration is available. And on March 29 at 7:00 p.m. EDT, the Young Composers Concert will take place online, featuring the Akropolis Reed Quintet performing the work of winning student composers from the NAfME 2020 competition. Free registration is now available.

However you choose to get involved, music education in our schools is worth celebrating more than ever this year. Even though a pandemic has kept us apart, music and the arts are one of the few things that has pulled us together and kept our spirits up. Quality music education in every school is worth fighting for. Thank the music educators in your life. And thanks to our friends at NAfME for rallying us around Music In Our Schools Month® the entire month of March. Together or apart, wouldn’t you agree that Music is the Sound of my Heart?

 

From Jeremy L. Earnhart, Ed.D, President and CEO, Music for All

Music for All has determined we will be unable to hold an in-person Summer Symposium in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please watch the full statement above, or read the transcript below.

FEB. 25 2021 – INDIANAPOLIS, IN – On behalf of our Music for All staff and board of directors, I hope that you and your family are well.

We know that this continues to be a difficult time for families, students, and teachers. However, this virus will not change student ability to grow and learn. Music for All is committed to providing experiences that help build resiliency and joy.

While this pandemic crisis presents challenges, it has also reminded us of the precious gifts of family, the boundless promise of children, and provided us with the opportunity to find new ways to serve students and teachers.

Music for All places the safety and well-being of our camp community and everyone associated with our programs and events as the highest priority.

Music for All has decided not to hold our Music for All Summer Symposium in 2021. We arrived at our decision in cooperation with our camp directors and coordinators, considering, including:

  • Can we operate camp safely based on the standards and recommendations of state health departments and the CDC?
  • How would we operate during this unusual summer?
  • Most importantly, would campers have the experience we – and you – want them to have?

We did not make this decision quickly. It is based on input from health experts, program leaders, and Music for All’s decades of experience managing a successful camp.

There is hope! The data trends, and information related to the vaccination and mitigation efforts are encouraging. At Music for All, we are busy preparing for an exciting Bands of America Championship season this fall with 24 Regionals, Super Regionals, and the Grand National Championships.

We are also working on virtual summer learning experiences that will offer engaging and meaningful earning offerings. Stay tuned for those details in the coming weeks. You can sign up for updates at camp.musicforall.org.

On behalf of all of us at Music for All, I hope you have a safe and successful finish to this school year. We hope to see you at Bands of America this fall, and at our summer offerings in a few months!

Sign up to get notifications and updates on 2021 virtual summer learning experiences from Music for All and Bands of America.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Protect ArtsEd Now!

Written by

 

Like so much of our lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, arts education has been rudely interrupted.

School boards are meeting now to determine funding for next school year, and it’s going to be rough. Due to unforeseen pandemic expenditures, many districts will be in the unenviable spot of having to make budget cuts, and unfortunately, too many districts see music and the arts as low-hanging fruit when it comes to balancing their budget.

In this video from our friends at Arts Ed NJ, including Bob Morrison, founder of the Music for All Foundation, you can learn how to get involved NOW to ensure that music and arts education stays well-funded.

Fortunately, there is plenty of data to suggest that the arts are uniquely positioned to help students rebound after enduring the effects of the pandemic. The arts help students manage their mental health challenges, and provide built-in opportunities for social-emotional learning.

nowisthetime

Here are three quick takeaways from the video:

  1. Attend every school board meeting. Make sure they know what you do.
  2. Pay special attention to the budget. Is it being based on the 2020-21 school year? If you'll recall, it was NOTHING like a regular school year. Pandemic-related budget modifications should NOT become permanent.
  3. Learn more at artsednow2020.com or download the app. While it's based in New Jersey, the ideas can be replicated anywhere!

With the promise of a vaccine and with a little extra attention from you to help ensure that your school board makes good choices, your students can look forward to getting back to music as usual next school year.

Looking for more? Download this School Budget Process Guide!

David Starnes600x600

David Starnes is Director of Orchestras at Kennesaw Mountain H.S. in Kennesaw, GA, and an Educational Consultant for Music for All. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread in 2020, David worked with Music for All and co-moderator Susan Smith to develop Mind the Gap, a webinar/podcast series for young and future music educators.

With a wide and varied 32-year career as an educator, we asked David to share his thoughts on the Mind the Gap series, the topics they cover, and why he shares his time and expertise with fellow and future music educators.

What is Mind the Gap? Who is it for and what is it aiming to do?

 

Mind the Gap was initially created as a supplement for collegiate students who were in the midst of their student teaching during the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 interrupted their college education. With support from the Music for All Education team, Susan Smith and I recognized the “gap” and instantly went to work. Our mission was to create a program to supplement, inspire, and educate our future music educators while offering them timely information that was missed due to a shortened student teaching experience. Since the initial concept, we have broadened the offering and audience for teachers serving in their first five years of the profession. Additionally, collegiate professors are including these episodes as supplemental material to their secondary instrumental methods courses.

 

What is your role with Mind the Gap?

I primarily serve as a moderator for each episode while selecting our guest panelists and creating the content for each discussion. On occasion, I have served as a panelist, sharing ideas and my teaching experience on any given topic. [Co-moderator] Susan Smith and I carefully discuss and select the topics for each episode. With only a one-hour time slot, we inevitably tackle topics that could span several hours! Pinpointing the goal and desired outcome of each episode when featuring world-class names in music education presents a real challenge. It is our hope each attendee would experience a sampling of the topic at hand, which would further inspire them to seek additional knowledge of how the information can affect their situation. Programming each episode really becomes a task of satisfying the specific needs of many while offering unexpected revelations for each audience member…moderators included!

What are some of your favorite topics and guests you’ve had so far, and why?

Our goal was to provide a variety of topics to address the most pertinent issues a teacher could face in their first years of teaching. Due to the stipulations and guidelines COVID-19 created for teachers, I believe the episodes addressing technology and teaching in a virtual environment have been the most valuable. As a 32-year veteran teacher, I found myself re-tooling my own toolbox that had become tried and true. I quickly realized no blueprint to this teaching model had ever existed and while frustrating, the teaching profession was making history as we reinvented our craft. Personally, it has been a challenge as well as a reward to be able to share ideas with young teachers while actually experiencing their roadblocks on a daily basis. Having been a mentor to young teachers for several years, I am reminded daily of the importance of passing the torch as well as providing inspiration and motivation for them. While it is easy to complain about the pandemic hand we’ve been dealt, I chose to believe we can grow and rebrand music education in a way that will challenge the next generation of teachers AND students.

Why is Mind the Gap and the information it provides important?

In normal circumstances, young teachers are usually left to fend for themselves, relying only on the skills and strategies they were taught as an undergraduate student. Knowing our current teaching environment is unprecedented, young teachers need an outlet for discovery, idea-sharing, and networking within the professional teaching community. Each episode of “Mind the Gap” features leaders from the worlds of music education and the music industry. Our audience has “VIP access” and a front-row ticket to the most innovative professionals in the world. From the beginning, it was our intent to provide an experience to not only educate young teachers but connect them in the most realistic way to their profession. In doing so, we had the potential to motivate and inspire through actual association with individuals who once were only iconic names to them. “Mind the Gap” is a first-hand, relevant experience pertinent to the success of every young music educator.

Is mentorship between music educators important?

It has long been my belief that students who enter the teaching profession do so as a reaction to the inspiration they once received from a teacher in their past. Teaching is a profession that “pays it forward” on a daily basis. Naturally, teachers are mentors as it is the sheer definition of our job title and what we are charged to provide for each of our students. As music educators, our curriculum becomes an even greater inspiration. Dedicating our lives to education is only the entry point of why we chose this profession. For many of us, MUSIC allows us to share our mind and spirit with students and professionals. The intangibility of our artform connects us through emotional responses that not only trigger creativity but also provide a lifetime of memories for all who are so fortunate to experience its magic. Teaching, learning, and mentoring are all “active” forms of what we do as well as the electricity behind our passion. It’s just too powerful and special not to share it with the world. Some of my fondest mentor/mentee memories involve feeling or seeing the musical lightbulb illuminate. Whether in a student or a peer, that spark allowed someone else an experience that led us to music education. 

 

You are an Educational Consultant for Music for All. Why have you given of your time and experience to create the Mind the Gap series, as well as to provide guidance to Music for All for all of its programs?

Speaking of a topic that could “span for several hours…” Where shall I dare begin? Music for All has been a constant motivation of excellence for me, my students, parents, and community for over 30 years. Having taught at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels in band and orchestra, I am absolutely aware of the experience students receive through their affiliation with this incredible organization. Music for All’s mission to “create, provide, and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all” is why I have dedicated so many years as a teacher and consultant to this organization. In my opinion, Music for All is where the professional and student worlds intersect. I have been privileged to offer students associated with Music for All the opportunity to work with world-class performers, conductors, and in once-in-a-lifetime performance experiences. There is nothing more satisfying than living vicariously through a student participant at a Music for All event. To me, it’s really about living and giving through an art form that defines how music can shape the heart and soul of an individual. “Life-changing” would be a rather bold acclamation of purpose if it were not true. I am affiliated with Music for All not only because I know it can change lives, but I am living proof that it does.

Do you have any favorite or most-memorable moments from your experiences with Music for All as an educator?

Prior to my role as an Educational Consultant, I was a participating high school band director at Music for All events. As the founding director at Kennesaw Mountain High School, I witnessed the motivation and inspiration Music for All played in our program for the 11 years I served as director. This organization taught my students what was possible on a national level as a high school music education student. Through my students’ involvement, Music for All inspired teamwork, individual challenge while fostering leadership, example, and the importance of managing life skills through both success and disappointment. I believe my “favorite moment” lies under the umbrella of every Kennesaw Mountain High School or Western Carolina University band member who experienced the magic of a Bands of America Regional or Grand National Championships. Whether a competitive or exhibition performance, the goal was exactly the same. EXCEED your individual best because you knew you were performing WITH the best. Music for All continually inspires excellence and celebrates achievement, unlike any other scholastic musical organization. A Music for All “stage” invites everyone, regardless of experience or ability. Through peer support, everyone wins. Character is established. Expectations are defined. Communities unite. Barriers are removed.

Through my involvement with this organization, my students and parents quickly learned how music education was the common denominator among our love for this activity and organization. In these ever-challenging times in our world, Music for All continues to provide positive inspiration to directors, students, and parents. In a nutshell, we are teaching life skills through perseverance, resilience, and hope. Is it any coincidence that Music for All’s mission echoes these sentiments and more? Simply stated the world needs music education and music education needs Music for All!

Subscribe to Mind the Gap on:

iTunes

Spotify

Google Podcasts

Stitcher

  • With Debbie Laferty Asbill, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Music for All

New Performing Arts Center Benefits Entire Community

Before becoming the renowned performing arts and STEM school that it is today, I.M. Terrell High School was a secondary school located in Fort Worth, Texas. The school opened in 1882 as the city's first public school for black students, during the era of formal segregation in the United States. The school was renamed I.M Terrell High School in 1921, in honor of the former principal. Under the legacy of G. A. Baxter, the music program in the mid-20th century produced many of the prominent jazz and rhythm and blues musicians of that era.

Since then, the school has been through extensive remodeling and expansions and is now the home of the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Visual and Performing Arts).

The campus combines the original historic school building with a new 65,000-square-foot performing arts center (PAC), connected by a unifying courtyard. It sits atop a hill with beautiful downtown views and is a beacon for the District and the community.

The PAC, featuring a 900-seat theatre, was a focal point, built to serve the many students focused on theatre, music, and other fine arts within the school, but to also serve the surrounding community.

The PAC expansion team included the school’s administration, Corgan Architects, WJHW Theatre Consultants, Batts Audio, Video and Lighting, Turner Construction and Wenger Corporation.

A New PAC

Wenger Photo 2It was important to preserve the historical nature of the century-old school everywhere except the new performing arts center. The new center would house the latest technology and top-notch equipment to best serve the needs of the variety of performances held there.

“We have other performance venues in Fort Worth, but this would be the perfect size not only for the school but for the district and the community. We have various arts organizations that are always looking for affordable space,” said Christina Walk, Head of Visual and Performing Arts at I.M. Terrell.  “We worked with community partners who all agreed that the acoustics were important to make every type of performance sound great.”

“We met with all of the different groups who would be using the space,” explained Jason Mellard, Architect with Corgan. “We talked with every teacher, fine arts directors, music directors and anyone to make sure we met their needs.”

WJHW recommended installing a Wenger Diva® Acoustical Shell with a maple veneer finish. The shell has ten towers and three rows of ceilings.

“We coordinated and communicated frequently with the theatre consultants and structural and mechanical engineers,” Mellard said. “We needed to make sure we supported the weight properly, provided power where it needed to be, and coordinated with the contractor to ensure conditions were correct before installing the shell. There’s always that nitty-gritty detail of the specific dimensions to ensure everything lines up perfectly.”

“The shell can be set up in any configuration very quickly and very safely,” said Director of Dance and Theatre with the Fort Worth Independent School District. He loves having a new space with the latest technology to use at the school and share with the community. “To be able to tuck those large units up into the fly loft when not in use is pretty amazing.”

As the shell was being designed, Mark Batts, CEO of Batts Audio, Video and Lighting (AVL) suggested the move away from incandescent lighting. He recommended multi-colored lighting in and around the stage area.

“Being able to bring them multi-colored LEDs made an impact, Batts said. “One of the first performances they hosted in that space was the United States Air Force Band. The combination of the color and some moving heads that we installed provided an extra bit of flare.”

Batts says they also installed accent strips that provide another unique element.

“I love having the opportunity to bring those fun things into spaces,” he said. “You want your client to say, ‘Wow, I’ve only seen this on Broadway.’ That’s your highest compliment.”

Batts also managed the theatre’s rigging, choosing J.R. Clancy products across the board. They installed three Titan® Hoists, 28 PowerLift® Hoists, a fire curtain line shaft hoist, and a SceneControl 15 with a remote operating pendant.

“We really appreciated that Wenger was very deliberate in making sure we knew how things worked,” said Tim Brendler, Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. “Our entire team appreciated that they walked us through every element and possible configuration. The flexibility that it affords us is wonderful.”

The stage includes a custom-designed STRATA® Orchestra Pit Filler, which can be quickly installed with only a small crew. It provides strong support above and open space below with an innovative column-beam design. The acoustically dampened decks fit snugly against the stage to create an extremely quiet, integrated surface.

Black Box Theatre

A Black Box Theatre provides a separate, smaller performance space where Wenger’s StageTek® Seated Risers and Staging equipment can be configured in a variety of ways. There is also a portable sound system with different places to plug in the speakers and LED lighting with a dimmer rack to set the mood for any given performance.

“We can host a larger audience by placing seated risers around the entire room and then performing in the round,” Brendler said. They have hosted robotics competitions and small theatre productions, too. Similar to the shell in the theatre, he says the flexibility of the risers is key.

“It’s great to have so many different levels,” he said. “When hosting show choir competitions, it is great to be able to quickly and easily manipulate the configuration.”

Rooms to Make Music

Wenger PhotoThe new wing also included band, orchestra, and choral rooms.

The band room houses Wenger Nota® chairs and Roughneck music stands, AcoustiCabinets® that line the walls for instrument storage, and four Soundlok® Sound Isolation Rooms with VAE® technology for individuals and small groups to practice.

The rooms are 25 percent quieter than others and have the correct amount of absorption and diffusion so the musician can clearly hear the best possible sound. Virtual acoustics allow students to hear themselves play in different performance spaces and get immediate feedback with record/playback during the practice session.

“When the students are in school, those rooms are used all day every day,” explained Brendler. “They give the students a safe space where they can practice in private. The record, playback, and other capabilities are fun and give them extra incentive to get their practice time in.”

There are already plans to add instrument repair and piano tuning classes which could be held in the ensemble rooms.

The nearby choral room includes a whiteboard for teacher notes, Nota chairs, StageTek risers, Rack ‘N Roll® Garment Racks, four more Soundlok Sound Isolation Rooms, and eight music library units.

Sound and video systems in the choral and band rooms have integrated processors connecting them with each other as well as the auditorium. If they host a large program or competition, the performers waiting in the band room can hear and see what’s happening in the auditorium to gauge when it’s their turn to perform.

“Everyone loves these rooms dedicated to the band, orchestra, and choir,” said Walk. “They were well designed, and the windows offer spectacular views of downtown Fort Worth.”

Rave Reviews

The new PAC is stunning and impressive by all accounts. Wide hallways lead to generous specialty classrooms with all of the latest technology and useful equipment. Everything about it is impressive.

“The community loves it. The symphony plays there, the opera plays there and the Texas Ballet Theater plans to return with their annual Nutcracker performance. When it opened, it was always packed and has made a tremendous difference for the district and the community,” said Mellard.

“The Diva shell and the variety of spaces enable us to do what we love: collaborate to a higher degree at a professional level,” said Brendler.

And the extra effort to get the sound right was well worth it.

“Everyone loves this space,” said Walk. “If it didn’t have excellent acoustics, it wouldn’t have been worth building. In this hall, everything sounds great.”

With the added stressors in our lives right now, you might not be rushing to add something more to your calendar or to-do list. However, in an era dominated by video calls, it’s easier than ever to try out something new with relatively low commitment or involvement. If you never have before, try taking this opportunity to get involved with your student’s music booster club and school board meetings!

Listen In

There are two organizations that have a strong influence on your child's music education: your booster group, and your school board. It helps to keep a finger on the pulse of these groups as they make decisions that affect your student. An easy way to get started is to take the time to listen to their meetings. This is easier than ever during the pandemic, as most have moved their meetings online.

Find the meeting time and date, plus login information, and put it on your calendar. This information should be available via their email or website. Remember to create a notification to remind you a few moments before the meeting begins; it’s easy to miss a meeting when life gets in the way. If you’re just there to watch and learn, you can join via audio-only, so you don't have to be camera-ready.

Be aware of your school board’s workflow. You should be able to learn the basics by checking the school board meeting schedule on your district’s website. For instance, at a “workshop” meeting, they have discussions, ask questions, make decisions, and generally do the work of the board. Then later (it might be an hour, a day, or a couple of weeks) they’ll have the formal legislative meeting where they vote to approve their decisions (often without any public discussion at all, because that was done at the workshop meeting). Perhaps a district will do the bulk of their work in committee meetings, and then bring results to a full board meeting. Most of the meetings should be open to the public, except for closed sessions where personnel and staffing issues are discussed.

What should you listen for? In his book Music Advocacy: Moving from Survival to Vision, John Benham writes, “No decision should ever be made without someone asking, ‘What will the short- and long-term impacts of this decision be on the students?’” If you can’t answer it for yourself, consider reaching out to an administrator or school board member privately, or level up and ask that question publicly at the school board meeting.

With each agenda item, ask that question. Pay special attention to agenda items that make changes that will affect the music department budget, staffing, and facilities. John Benham cuts to the chase when he writes: “Remember: A cut is any decision made that will negatively impact the ability of any student to participate in making music.”

In the meantime, between meetings, consider beginning or strengthening relationships with board members, administrators, or other stakeholders. It doesn’t even need to be a substantive interaction. When they get to know your friendly face, hopefully they’ll be more willing to work with you on strengthening music education in your district.

Speak Up

Once you’ve gotten the hang of school board meetings in your district, you’re ready to level up. At most school board meetings, you have to be a resident or taxpayer to speak. Learn when during the meeting the board will accept public comments. For instance, comments related to agenda items may be accepted at the beginning of the meeting, while other comments may be reserved until the end of the meeting. You may be asked to introduce yourself and list your address. If your meeting will be broadcast live, and you’re not comfortable sharing that information publicly, reach out to the board secretary or other designated contact to request to speak and give them your address privately ahead of time. Make sure to give them enough time to process it; they may not see your email if it arrives 30 minutes before the meeting begins.

Gratitude

A great way to open communications with your school board and other stakeholders would be to thank them for their support of music education in your district thus far. Even if a given school board member is not a particularly strong supporter at this point, they have allowed your district music program to grow enough that your child was motivated to join. So express gratitude for that! So many kids in your district have had the opportunities they did because there was music in your schools. There will be plenty of opportunities in the future where you can press them to increase their support.

Advocate

If you’ve read this far, then you’re a music education advocate already! Author John Benham defines it this way: “Music advocacy is based on the belief that making music is essential to learning, the enjoyment of life, and the preservation of culture.” If your child is participating in music, then you already believe this.

Experts suggest that future school district funding will be drastically negatively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to start advocating now for our music programs; they’re always among the first to be cut.

As a music education advocate, you have one job: Ask for what you and other music education advocates want (more music, improved scheduling, better funding, etc.). Work with your music coalition and music educators to determine those goals for your district. As a parent, or as a taxpayer, it might be tempting to empathize with the sticky financial situation the school district is facing. Don’t let that interfere with what you’re there to do. John Benham explains it this way:

Rule #1: No cuts or compromises should be suggested by any member of the community, including the music coalition, music educators, or the music supervisor!

As an advocate, it’s your job to ask for the moon, and let others decide how to pull it off. Increasing access to and the quality of music education in your district benefits everyone long-term, even if it will take a few more late-night budget meetings to make it happen.

To multiply your advocacy efforts, bring friends! We humans are social creatures and are susceptible to peer pressure. Even if your companions don’t speak, but join you wearing your music parent merch, board members will understand exactly why they’re there. Those who can’t attend in person should send letters. A well-timed “show of force” by your booster group or music coalition may convince your district’s budget committee to look elsewhere for easy budget cuts.

Are you kidding me?

This sure sounds like a lot of work, but not all of it needs to be done right away. You can build up to it. You can recruit a fellow music parent to join you, and you’ve doubled your efforts. Any attempt is better than none at all. Perhaps this year, you send or hand-deliver thank-you notes, or thank the administration and school board in person at their next meeting. Next year, you can work on pulling together the data for the Best Communities for Music Education Survey. But remember, any positive exchange with the decision-makers in your community will reap positive benefits, so look for opportunities! Invite them to a performance, or on a trip. Or even just take a moment to drop them an email, thanking them for their service to the district and for their support of music education. You’ll be glad you did.

To sum it all up:

Take small steps! When you’re comfortable, level up.

  • Attend a Zoom music booster meeting
    • If your kid loves their music program, consider finding ways to stay in-the-know about what’s going on and how you can be supportive of the program.
    • You don’t even need to turn your video on or speak! Taking it all in can be a great first step.
  • Attend a Zoom school board meeting
    • Knowing what is going on with the school district as a whole can help you to be aware of events and factors that might impact your child’s program.
    • Listen for decisions that affect music students.
    • Bring friends!
  • Speak at a Zoom school board or booster meeting
    • Ask questions, give feedback! Parent input matters more than you think.
  • Attend school board meetings regularly
    • As a regular attendee, you can be sure that your program’s interests are being continually represented and supported.
    • Recruit a small group of music parents to share the duties of attending school board meetings. There is strength and courage in numbers! And that way, if you have to miss one, you know it’s covered.
    • Bonus points: wear your music department spirit wear! School board members really do notice who’s attending meetings and why.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Music for All Spring 2021 Offerings

Written by

Reasons to check out what Music for All has to offer this spring:

Many of us are taxed from online learning. It is an unavoidable situation that has many educators reinventing music classes from the ground up. If you’re craving a taste of “normal" opportunities for your students, Music for All has spring semester educational experiences that can help.

Music for All is offering opportunities for schools to perform live from their home communities and share the amazing things your students are creating with the world. This past fall, participating ensembles in our Live Showcases valued the opportunity to perform this fall sharing scholastic performances from around the country through our online viewing platform. Each performance was broadcast in real time on video.musicforall.org so families and communities could see what their students were able to accomplish.

Why should I participate?

For many schools, COVID-19 safety guidelines prevent the gathering of an audience to see what great work your students are doing. Music for All’s Live Showcases provide a way to share your performance safely with audience members across the country.

Is it really “live?”

Yes!

With the same equipment you use to conduct virtual classes, you can stream your performance to Music for All. Music for All can take a stream from your school via phone, tablet, or camera and broadcast it to an audience through video.musicforall.org. This is not a pre-recorded video take. This is live, in the moment.

What are the benefits of a live event?

We think it is important to provide an opportunity for students to get that pre-performance flutter, energy, and experience that only comes with live performance. Plus, you can share this opportunity with parents and community members so that they can enjoy what your students have worked so hard to achieve. Best yet, supporters can watch from their homes in a safe environment.

What if I’m not sure if my ensembles are prepared?

We know that everyone has different restrictions, rehearsal times, number of students, and opportunities. Music for All believes in the importance of sharing your successes – no matter what that looks like this year. This is important not only for your students, but for the community and world to see that music education is alive and students and teachers are working together to do amazing work.

What is the educational value of a live event?

Every ensemble has the opportunity to receive evaluator feedback on their performance opportunity. A panel of three renowned music educators will be selected to provide audio feedback about your group’s performance. They will be watching your performance live as it happens and recording real-time feedback that will be sent to you just a few minutes after your performance is complete.

How much does it cost?

Music for All Live Showcases are $100 for a 15-minute performance opportunity.

Adding performance evaluation brings the total cost to $275 for a 15-minute performance and feedback from three evaluators.

Tickets for spectators are $15 per household or device. Purchasing a “ticket” is the equivalent of purchasing one login, so you can watch solo or as a household.

Enroll your ensemble today at instruction.musicforall.org!

I've heard of other Music for All online offerings, what are some of those?

Check out instruction.musicforall.org for Remote Feedback Opportunities. Music for All has also been privileged to work with Indiana Music Education Association on their virtual conference in January, and is working the New Jersey educators on their first, virtually-delivered, Solo and Ensemble event this spring. Music for All has developed platform and staffing packages to help states, organizations, and associations delivere online programming. We'd love to talk with others about helping, you can talk to me directly by reaching out to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Page 1 of 110
hr-line