Parent Advocacy for Music Education

Well, there goes the school budget. The referendum did not pass. Something has to be cut. Well, there goes the band. There goes the orchestra. Say goodbye to the arts. No more chorus. Chuck the Orff Recorders in the dumpster. Get rid of the frills. Teach the 3 Rs. Concentrate on academics.

Well, maybe not. If your local school is responding to the need to tighten the spending belt by cutting music and art, or if voters are being told that music programs will go if the referendum does not pass, you might consider turning to a valuable ally.

Supportmusic.com is endorsed by the national PTA. This is an initiative of NAMM, the professional association for music products, and MENC, the Music Educators National Conference. Finally, there are resources for parent advocates to keep arts in the schools, and improve the quality available. Supportmusic.com has received the endorsement of artists as diverse as the Goo Goo Dolls, concert pianist Lorin Hollander, rock band Collective Soul, and Sesame Street’s Bob McGrath.

On the site you will find a simple assessment test to compare the quality of your school’s music programs to a national norm. You will find encouragement for advocacy, information about funding, and strategies for “building your case”. There is also a link to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about a Stanford University study which links the brain process in learning to play music to strengthened abilities in reading and listening. Very interesting!

Many school districts with quality music programs have booster organizations which pay for travel, uniforms, and additional equipment needed. Schools supply appropriate space, certified teachers, insurance for the activities. Music is not cheap – but it is a vital part of education. Let’s get it done right!

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