A Week in Washington, Advocating for Music Education

Advocating for Music Education

Ron Manus, Chief Business Development Officer, Tom Gierke, Senior Vice President, Business Development, and Jennifer Paisley-Schuch, Director, Business Development from MakeMusic and Alfred Music joined a delegation of 85 music and arts advocates, music industry leaders, music teachers and faculty, and business leaders to speak directly to Members of Congress and their staff in support of full funding for quality, comprehensive school music education programs for all children. 

Over the course of three days, delegates received a series of briefings from national arts leaders and peer-to-peer mentoring that helped formulate the delegates’ enthusiastic and authentic pleas to state policymakers. Training sessions were presented on emerging policy issues and hot topics relevant to music education.

Music is a sustaining and empowering activity for people of all ages and abilities. As volumes of ongoing research demonstrate:

  • music contributes to the academic achievement and social and emotional well-being of children
  • music and the creative industries are viable career choices for a workforce seeking employees able to combine flexible thinking, resilience, creativity, and technological skills
  • music learning leads to creative expression, problem solving skills and the ability to work independently or with others

“This year we could really see the momentum building in our efforts to get the Every Student Succeeds Act fully funded! It was great showing up in Congressional offices and being greeted with “My favorite meeting of the year” by our friends in Congress. Music is so important for our schools. It unites the school and brings everyone together in a profound way. We are fighting to ensure that every child who has the desire to learn and participate has access to a quality music education.” – Ron Manus

The MakeMusic and Alfred Music team hit Capital Hill and met with the offices of:

  • Congressman Kevin Mullin (CA)
  • Congressman Joe Neguse (CO)
  • Congressman Ken Calvert (CA)
  • Congressman Adam Schiff (CA)
  • Congresswoman Bonnie Coleman (NJ)
  • Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN)
  • Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (MD)
  • House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY)
  • Senator Tina Smith (MN)
  • Senator Michael Bennet (CO)
  • Senator John Hickenlooper (CO)
  • Senator Alex Padilla (CA)

Collectively the NAMM contingency met with over 140 offices that day. 

Our ask was straightforward and specific:

  1. Fully fund Title IV Part A to the authorized amount of $1.65 Billion (ESEA Grants)
  2. Fully Fund Title I (Funding for our nation’s most vulnerable children)
  3. Fully Fund Title II (Teacher Professional Development Funding)
  4. Fully Fund the National Endowment for the Arts

“This was the first year I’ve had the opportunity to attend the NAMM Fly-In in Washington D.C. It was incredibly inspiring to have leaders from across the music industry come together collectively to advocate for a common cause. While we are all individually passionate about music education, it was so fulfilling to be proactive with our nation’s policymakers. Whether at the local, state, or national level, each of us has the ability to advocate on the behalf of our students and communities to help make music education accessible for all.”  – Tom Gierke

Alfred Music and MakeMusic are strong supporters of advocating for access to music education for all children and truly believes that music education should not be a luxury—music education should be a core requirement. Alfred Music shares NAMM’s vision for the world: “We envision a world in which the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone; a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of the right.”

To learn more about the work that NAMM and NAfME, along with fellow organizations and associations are doing to advocate for music education on the local, state and national levels and how you can get involved visit NAfME’s Advocacy site and the NAMM Foundation

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