Last week, MFA’s strategic advocacy partner, the NAMM Foundation, provided a $10,000 grant to Anaheim City School District (ACSD) in California to help implement comprehensive music instruction in the regular school day. After a 20-year absence of music education, the district serving 20,000 students began offering an orchestra program last year. “We are gearing up to return music to its rightful place in our public schools,” said ACSD Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner. Through a partnership with the Orange County Symphony Orchestra, students will also have the opportunity to work with symphony musicians after school. The new music education program will be modeled after Nashville’s successful “Music Makes Us” initiative.
Public/private partnerships have long been popular in real estate, utilities and other local government operations, but have recently become a new way to promote music education. From Nashville's "Music Makes Us" initiative to this latest partnership in New York City, private partners realize the impact of music instruction on young students, and work with public schools to ensure that music education remains a core component. Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock have partnered with the NYC Department of Education in a $10 million investment to expand music education programs by 60,000 students and 600 schools through the Amp Up NYC initiative. This partnership in the country's largest school system foucses on modern music instruction, including jazz, rock, Latin and R&B music education. "In the world of music education, diverse musical experiences enrich kids' learning and their understanding of the world," said Paul King, executive director of the Office of Arts and Special Projects. If you know of any public/private music education partnerships in your community, we'd love to hear about them!
Each year, the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation provides grants to school music programs across the country for new and refurbished instruments. This year, North Miami Middle School in Florida received funding to support the fledgling program. The school, which struggles with poor socio-economic conditions and a 96% free and reduced lunch rate, has made a concerted effort to improve school conditions since 2008, and music has been an important factor in the upswing. In 2011, Jonathon De Leon and LaToya Harris began teaching music at North Miami Middle School, starting both a band and guitar class. They have recruited close to half the school's students to participate in the music program, leading to fewer behavioral issues and improved academics. Click here to read more about this inspiring story.
If you are a music educator, you know firsthand that having an administration who "gets it" and supports arts education in the district is a valuable asset. Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone published an op-ed this month in the community newspaper, which would have any arts educator excited to work in the county. Right away, Cirone dispells those who consider cutting arts and music education in budget crises: "The arts are not frills. They are essential elements of a complete education, and they often provide the very skills and motivation required for school and career success." The Superintendent oversees 20 school districts and two community colleges in Santa Barbara County, impacting 66,000 students. Thank you, Mr. Cirone for your unwavering support of arts education!
Indianapolis music store Paige's Music has long been a valuable partner for both the central Indiana community and Music for All. Paige's Music was recently featured on local CBS affiliate WISH-TV throughout the morning broadcast, taking a look inside the sales, rental and repair facilities in Indianapolis. For many years, Paige's Music, under the leadership of owner Mark Goff, has supported MFA's Indianapolis programs as the "Official Music Store." Any time a participating band has a repair issue at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, Paige's Repair Technicians are onsite at Lucas Oil Stadium to assist and provide loaner instruments. We are thankful for Paige's support of Music for All!