Music for All's Strategic Advocacy Partner, NAMM, took over Capitol Hill last week for their annual D.C. Fly-In, meeting with Congress, celebrating the arts and promoting access to music education for all students. This year was NAMM's largest Fly-In, featuring 65 NAMM members, STEAM Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, auditory learning expert Dr. Nina Kraus, musician Bernie Williams and actor Doc Shaw. In the photo, you may recognize House Speaker John Boehner with GRAMMY Music Educator Award recipient Kent Knappenberger and other NAMM representatives, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith, who's recent drum off with Will Ferrell on the Tonight Show has received over 17 million views. NAMM Members also took part in the White House Talent Show, where First Lady Michelle Obama announced an expansion of the successful Turnaround Arts initiative (see article below for more on Turnaround Arts).
In 2012, the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities launched the Turnaround Arts initiative to investigate the arts' impact on educational outcomes in low-performing schools. Major artists and entertainers "adopted" schools and helped lead increased access to arts education. In just two years, the program reported improvements in math and reading, as well as behavior and parental involvement. Last week, Michelle Obama announced the expansion of Turnaround Arts from eight schools to 35 in 10 states. Arts advocate Malissa Feruzzi Shriver provides a great breakdown of Turnaround Arts and why it is successful on Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.
While many teachers and booster organizations already have budgets set for next year, budget concerns are seemingly continuous in the music wing of many schools. School Band & Orchestra Executive Editor Eliahu Sussman provided a thought-provoking commentary on the cost of music education in a recent issue. While we can all wish for unlimited budgets, the true cost of music ed can be a contentious topic. How much technology is needed in the band room? Do most students own their own instruments? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the cost of music education. Click here to tell us your story.
Connecticut music educator Kaela Crystal provided an excellent argument for music's important role in schools, especially those with STEM and Core Curriculum focus. "The chance to take real, non-standardized, creative risks in the music classroom is one of the greatest gifts we can give our students," said Crystal. Crystal found that even at a STEM Academy where she interned, creativity was vital. From inventions in a physics class to musical compositions, creativity helped develop integral 21st Century skills.
James Bowie H.S. Outdoor Performing Ensemble receives second Sudler Shield
At a concert last week, the James Bowie H.S. Bands and director Kim Shuttlesworth were awarded the 2013 Sudler Shield, an international award given by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation for excellence in high school marching band. The band previously received the honor in 2005. The James Bowie H.S. Outdoor Performing Ensemble is a three-time Bands of America Grand National Finalist and the 2013 Texas Dairy Queen BOA Austin Regional Champion. Director Kim Shuttlesworth is also on the Drum Major Institute faculty at the MFA Summer Symposium. The band was notified of their honor at the Midwest Clinic in December. Congratulations to the entire Bowie Band!