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March 2, 2017

Making Some Noise for Music Education

The month of March is Music In Our Schools Month® or “MIOSM®”, the National Association of Music Education (NAfME) annual celebration which engages music educators, students, and communities from around the country in promoting the benefits of high quality music education programs in schools. Music In Our Schools Month® began as a single statewide Advocacy Day and celebration in New York in 1973 and grew over the decades to become a nationwide month-long celebration of school music.

Research reinforces that music education helps develop language and reasoning skills, improves memorization, promotes healthy emotional development, fights stress, teaches teamwork, and builds confidence. Like other extracurricular classes, music education is essential for the development of better students and future members of society. And at the end of the day, that’s what education is all about – promoting smart, multidimensional young adults who are curious learners. Music education is an integral part of a holistic education experience.

Yet not every student in the public school system has the same access to music in the classroom. Reflecting the U.S. achievement gap, public schools that have less than 500 students – typically rural schools – and public schools with high poverty rates are less likely to offer music programs. Even if a school does offer music classes, the number of students per teacher is high, resulting in an ineffective learning space. It’s no surprise then to learn that music teachers often do not feel supported by school districts due to inadequate instruments, lack of resources, or poor facilities.

When school becomes about test scores and attendance rates, music classes can be a much-needed break. Music classes keep students engaged in school because they offer an artistic outlet that core curriculum classes sometimes lack. As a result, quick budget fixes that cut funding for music programs hurt student well-being.

Round Rock ISD in Round Rock, TX offers an innovative Individualized Music Instruction Program (IMIP) providing private instruction for students who wish to receive private lessons in their voice or instrument. These lessons can contribute greatly to every student’s musical growth and to the success of their school’s music program as well. This program is privately funded by parents and other interested individuals.

National brands are also stepping up to the plate by partnering with the GRAMMY Foundation to address the decline of music education programs in public schools. Household company names you know, such as Converse, Chase, Disney, Ford, Journeys, and Hot Topic, sponsor the GRAMMY Foundation’s outreach programs and offer students the opportunity to work with professionals in the music industry to promote music education. The GRAMMY Foundation’s GRAMMY Signature Schools Program offers need-based awards and grants to school music programs. Additionally, around $1.4 million has been granted to about 700 public schools through the GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award.

It has been said that music is what feelings sound like. In an increasingly results-driven education system, it is ever more important that students have music programs that allow them to hear those feelings. EFP is committed to ensuring schools have the funding to offer the music programs that students deserve. Please contact us for more information about how your school district can partner with EFP to bring in new revenue streams to fund essential programs like these.

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