Each year, two prominent music industry organizations utilize their voice to spotlight music education success stories in our schools. The NAMM Foundation's Best Communities for Music Education highlights school districts across the country that promote and support music education in their classrooms. The GRAMMY Foundation's Signature Schools program has been recognizing music education achievement with grants to outstanding public high schools. By recognizing schools and communities that are supporting the arts and music as a core component of scholastic education, the NAMM Foundation and GRAMMY Foundation are ensuring that music education remains in our nation's schools for years to come.
Music for All is proud advocate for music education, and programs like Best Communities for Music Education and GRAMMY Signature Schools help promote MFA's vision to be a catalyst to ensure that every child has access and opportunity to active music making in his or her scholastic environment. MFA programs such as the Bands of America Marching Championships and Music for All National Festival provide an opportunity for schools to be recognized for achievement on a national stage. Music programs can utilize this national platform to increase school and community support for music education.
The 2014 Best Communities for Music Education recognized 376 school distrcits across the country that embrace music education as a core component of scholastic instruction. Music for All is proud that 76 of those school districts have recently participated in MFA programming. You can view the list of MFA participants recognized by scrolling through the list below. Click here to view the entire list of 2014 honorees.
The Best Communities for Music Education program additionally recognizes individual schools for music education achievement. The SupportMusic Merit Award recognized 96 schools across the country, including three who have participated in MFA programs:
Diamond Bar H.S., CA
West Ranch H.S., CA
Springs Valley H.S., IN
The GRAMMY Foundation provided nearly $60,000 in grants to 12 schools recognized as GRAMMY Signature Schools. You can view the entire list of recipients here. Four of the schools have participated in BOA Marching Championships and the MFA National Festival:
Diamond Bar H.S., CA
Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, NV
Cherry Creek H.S., CO
Mount Vernon H.S., VA
Congratulations to each of the schools and communities honored by the NAMM and GRAMMY Foundations! If you are a teacher, participant or parent from one of the recognized schools, or your school is promoting music education, we'd love to hear from you! Click here to share your story or contact us. Application information for the 2015 Best Communities for Music Education and GRAMMY Signature Schools will be avilable in October.
Whether you're a professional musician or your instrument sits dusty in the back of our closet, a music teacher likely remains as one of the most impactful people in your scholastic experience. Music In Our Schools Month is the perfect time to recognize an music teacher in your life. Last year, The GRAMMY Foundation created a new way to recognize music teachers through the GRAMMY Music Educator Award. This program allows anyone - students, parents, fellow teachers, administrators, professional musicians - to nominate a music teacher. Any school music teacher, public or private, Kindergarten through College, is eligble for the Award. Kent Knappenberger, a music teacher and Choir Director at Westfield Academy and Central School in New York, was the recipient of the inaugural GRAMMY Music Educator Award. In addition to his appearance at the 56th GRAMMY Awards in January, Kent's inspiring story was shared across the country, including a CBS This Morning feature you can view below.
The deadline to nominate a teacher for the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award is March 31, 2014. Nomination forms and more information on the Award are available online at www.grammyintheschools.com. After the nomination process, quarterfinalist educators are asked to provide additional criteria for submission. Semifinalist music educators are selected through committee interviews, and finally a Blue Ribbon Committee selects up to 10 finalists and the GRAMMY Music Educator Award recipient. Each finalist receives a $1,000 award, and the recipient receives a $10,000 award in addition to the opportunity to experience and appear at the GRAMMY Awards in 2014. Click the button below to recognize a teacher who ahs made an impact in your life.
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The application process for the award will adjust each year to allow the broad array of effective teaching styles and methods used in the discipline to be recognized and awarded. The GRAMMY Music Educator Award is supported by Music for All partners the NAMM Foundation and the National Association for Music Education.
Your voice is essential to ensuring that music education remains an integral part of scholastic education, and Music In Our Schools Month is the perfect opportunity to make your voice heard. Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM®), supported by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), began with a small statewide celebration in 1973 and has grown to a nationwide month of awareness, advocacy and music making. The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and community and to display the benefits school music brings to students of all ages. At Music for All, we believe in music education and music in our schools, and we are a proud partner of the National Assocaition for Music Education in promoting Music In Our Schools Month.
This year’s slogan for Music In Our Schools Month is “Music Makes Me ___!” Tell your friends, teachers, school administrators and elected officials why music in our schools is important to you. When sharing on social media, use #MIOSM to connect with other music education advocates. You can download the “Music Makes Me ___!” logo or purchase MIOSM products at nafme.org.
Throughout the month, Music for All will be providing several opportunities for you to make your voice heard. Connect with MFA's social media channels for opportunities to share why you beleive in music in our schools. Additionally, you can tell your story of music’s impact through our website. Your story could be featured in a MIOSM blog post this month! Stay tuned to the MFA Blog and our social media channels for more ways to connect with Musc In Our Schools Month.
Seth Williams is the Advocacy Coordinator at Music for All. Seth is no stranger to Music for All and Bands of America – first as a participant and as an intern in Development and Participant Relations. He is a graduate of Butler University and previously worked in the Broadway theatre industry in New York. A proud alumnus of “The Centerville Jazz Band,” Seth is likely the biggest band nerd he knows.
Each year, arts advocates from across Indiana travel to the State Capitol in Indianapolis to participate in “Arts Day at the Statehouse,” presented by the Indiana Coalition for the Arts. Music for All is a proud member of the vibrant arts community in the state, and I was excited to represent Music for All and the arts in Indiana last month at Arts Day. I joined close to 50 other artists, teachers and arts administrators in an advocacy training session, a community arts project and most importantly, meeting with legislators to demonstrate our support for the arts in Indiana.
Because Music for All’s pinnacle programs are located in Indiana, MFA has an incredible impact on Indiana’s young people as well as the state and local tax revenue generated from tourism during MFA events. MFA also receives general operating support from the Indiana Arts Commission, partly funded by the Indiana State Legislature. I had the great fortune of sharing with legislators the important work that Music for All and other arts organizations across the state are doing: improving the quality of life, providing economic impact, and providing impactful arts education for Hoosier youth.
After a brief training session where we learned how simple it is to speak to your elected officials, we headed to the Statehouse to “storm the floor.” It was a very busy day at the Statehouse, as many important pieces of legislation were in discussion, but we were still able to meet with many elected officials. In addition to talking points from Music for All, the Indiana Coalition for the Arts also provided us with brief items to discuss with legislators, which included thanking legislators for increased funding for the Indiana Arts Commission and promoting a bill supporting ensemble music education in middle and secondary schools.
Right away, I met with Representative Eric Koch, who is an active supporter of the arts in his South Central Indiana district. While nervously ensuring that I covered all of my talking points, we had a great conversation about Rep. Koch’s passion for the arts. I also had the pleasure of meeting Senator Jean Breaux, who represents my home district in Indianapolis. “The arts have always been an important part of my life,” explained Sen. Breaux. She also represents many underserved families in Indianapolis, including some who participate in MFA’s Indianapolis Public Schools outreach programs. Sen. Breaux been an important advocate for the arts in the State Senate, and it was inspiring to speak firsthand with a legislator with so much passion for the arts.
Indiana State Senator Timothy Lanane and MFA Advocacy Coordinator Seth Williams
(Photo courtesy of Randy Orr, Indiana Coaltion for the Arts)
Later in the afternoon, I met with Senate Minority Leader Timothy Lanane, who represents East Central Indiana, including the home of the MFA Summer Symposium - Ball State University. I spoke with Sen. Lanane about the Summer Symposium and MFA’s commitment to engaging the East Central Indiana community.
Because of the busy day in the Statehouse and the large number of visitors, I was not able to meet with as many legislators as I had hoped. Instead, we had the opportunity to meet other artists, teachers and administrators from all over the state and participate in a community art project entitled Have a HeART, developed by Hoosier artist Joe LaMantia. The project helped spread a message throughout the Statehouse of passion and collaboration through the arts.
The 2014 Arts Day at the Statehouse was a simple yet effective way to meet with legislators and display the impact of the arts, including music education, on Hoosiers. You too can contact your federal, state and local elected officials and spread the message of music education’s impact on students across the U.S. The Indiana Coalition has many resources specific to Indiana elected officials here. You can also visit our partners at SupportMusic.com, including NAMM and the National Association for Music Education, for more national resources. Whether writing an email or letter, calling your representative’s office or visiting them in person, advocating for the arts is integral to ensuring public support for the arts, including music education in our nation’s schools.
Today's blog post in support of Arts Advocacy Days is written by Music for All's President and CEO, Eric L. Martin.
Life is better with music! That’s a tagline I borrow with pride from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a great institution and strategic partner of Music for All. Advocacy (for the arts and especially arts education) is a pillar of Music for All’s strategic plan and vision to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to engage in active music making in his or her scholastic environment.
In March, we celebrated “Music in Our Schools” month with presentation of one of the largest ever Music for All National Festivals that included 2,100 students from across the nation in performances and camaraderie that showcased the best of scholastic music making and the excellence that comes from music and music education in our schools.
Perhaps, legendary drummer, Ndugu Chancler summed it up best in his “rap” with the Jazz Band of America confirming his belief in music, music education and power of jazz with an affirming “uh huh, yeah, that’s right.”
This month, we are a proud National Co-Sponsor of “Arts Advocacy Day 2013,” supporting and helping to bring our collective voice about the importance of the arts and arts education to our nation’s leadership in Washington.
“Uh huh, yeah, that’s right,” we believe that every child in America is entitled to a quality arts education. A child’s education is simply incomplete unless it includes the arts.
Quality education and the educational preparedness of our children, rightly so, are driving and central issues demanding and deserving attention in our nation. As a people, we are exploring all of the possibilities. Many of the choices being explored are valid, valuable and viable. I work, as do all of us at Music for All, to ensure that whatever our choices, be they CORE, STEM or “all of the above,” include affirmative support and plans that ensure access and quality of opportunity for all children to engage in active music making (and the other arts) in his or her scholastic environment. My own experiences in school environments that appreciated and provided active music making and music education programs made me who I am, and opened and facilitated unique and powerful experiences in and avenues to leadership, teamwork, collaboration and community essential to my development and my performance as a leader. It is for this reason I believe arts education is essential to the development of our youth, and consequently, the character of our nation.
Life (family, community, business, or nation and our world) simply is better with music and the arts... “uh huh, yeah, that’s right.” Who we are as a people and a nation depends on it.
Read Eric's last blog post on the subject of STEAM titled: Music (and arts) for All in the 21st Century.
The article below was featured in the Music for All January/February Newsletter. With March being Music in Our Schools month, we thought it would be appropriate to share again here on the blog, enjoy!