Building Support for School Music Programs


Music does make the difference. It affects people’s lives, children’s educations, and the quality of life in America’s communities.

Music programs have often been in jeopardy nationwide. To counteract this trend, in March 1991, the National Commission on Music Education released a report titled Growing Up Complete: The Imperative for Music Education. The report examines the serious decline of music and the other arts and makes a strong case for the value of music and music education for all young people.

Based on the commission’s recommendations, the National Association for Music EducationNAMM: The International Music Products Association, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Inc formed the National Coalition for Music Education to represent the music community—music educators, performers, and people in the music business. This unprecedented coalition has initiated a national campaign to promote music education in the schools.

And in 1994, NAfME spearheaded the development of National Standards for music… useful benchmarks of progress toward a complete, balanced education for every student.

To be successful, this campaign will need the energy and support of many people and organizations. Everyone is encouraged to join in the effort. Although the problems facing music education are national in scope, they are manifested locally. Interested persons must work together on the national, state, and local levels. Success will depend on communication, information, and determination.

The National Coalition has produced a variety of materials, including this guide, to assist local music education advocacy groups in their efforts. The National Coalition also works with the states to form state coalitions, which may be able to provide local groups with valuable information.

Educational reform must grow from the roots up. Interested persons must present decision makers—school board members, administrators, legislators, and the general public—with compelling reasons for making music and the other arts an essential part of the school program. Music education advocacy groups must work to ensure that decision makers heed their advice and implement appropriate programs. The music community, together with arts advocates and parents of music students, are the people with the motivation and the expertise to spread the basic message: Just as there can be no music without learning, no education is complete without music.