Many music programs in schools around the country are being eliminated due to budget cuts. March marks Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM). Use this time to advocate for your child’s school music program.
Music is monumental
Music can change your child’s life — literally. Music builds self-confidence and helps children gain social skills to help connect them to other kids and the world in general. Music students score higher on verbal and math portions of SATs, have fewer drug and alcohol problems and fewer altercations with the law. Like the sound of that?
Maintain the music
Elizabeth Lasko, assistant executive director, center for members and constituency relations with the National Association for Music Education (NAFME), says it is much easier to maintain — and build upon — any existing music program your child’s school may already have, than to lose it and have to work to get it back.
She adds, “So it’s worth putting every available resource into protecting a program.”
And don’t take your child’s music program for granted.
Get involved however you can
Check in with your child’s homeroom teacher and/or music teacher to find out what needs to be done to support the music program.
Don’t underestimate the importance of arts in schools >>
Lasko says, “There may be an existing booster program or other support system, or one may need to be started.”
If you are going to spearhead one or want to breathe some life into the existing music booster program, reach out to other parents to help with your efforts. Send flyers home in backpacks, organize meetings and brainstorm how you can work together to gain support for the school’s music program.
Make the most of MIOSM
Work with your child’s school’s leaders to organize some fun activities this March geared toward encouraging music education and appreciation in honor of MIOSM.
Lasko suggests using MIOSM to bring visibility to your child’s school music program by organizing community events like putting on a school talent show featuring musical acts or making a video asking for support. Using social media is important too. You can connect with local radio, television and newspapers to help spread the word throughout your community. Also, consider organizing a school or class field trip to see a local musical group perform or invite a local group to come to your child’s school.
Lasko also points to the organization’s secondary school honor society, Tri-M, which spotlights the achievements of music students and their community spirit.
She says, “It’s a great way to show how important music is and how great music kids are — as we say, music education orchestrates success!”
Take your advocacy for music education to local legislature. NAFME offers extensive how-tos on its site regarding gaining support by working with government officials, including how to get resolutions passed, and contacting local media to get the word out to your community.