Have you seen music affect the lives of students and community members? One important advocacy tactic is the sharing of personal stories. These stories might touch upon the emotional or social impact of music education as well as other factors unique to individuals and communities. You might consider having students, parents, and community members speak at school board or write letters to administrators and elected officials.
Below are some stories collected by NAfME. They originally appeared in MENC’s (2009) Petition for Equal Access to Music Education.
“Music education has been a life-changing experience for my son. He had been expelled from school and was following a self-destructive path until the marching band welcomed him in and gave him something to be a part of. Every child should be afforded this opportunity.”
– Megan R., Iowa
“Singing in the choir at school helped me learn English when I came back to the country as a child after living abroad. Singing a solo at the school concert was the first thing I did that got me recognition from my peers and led to many friendships.”
– Maria D., Maryland
“My youngest son has severe attention problems. Learning to play the saxophone and playing in the school band and jazz band has helped to teach him how to focus and to become more mentally disciplined. After taking medicine for years, he is now ready to stop taking ADHD medicine and stand on his own. I credit music instruction in elementary and middle school substantially for helping him do this.”
– David A., Maryland
“I have been a music teacher for 26 years and have spent the last 17 in the public schools. I have seen countless examples of students who would have fallen through the cracks academically but had musical talent that, when nurtured, both improved their grades but also did wonders for their self-esteem.”
-Cary J., Illinois
“Music actually saved my life when I was in high school. I lived with an abusive alcoholic father and had it not been for all my music activities to keep me at school and involved, I would have fallen even deeper into drug abuse and in all likelihood, have died from an overdose or a suicide attempt. Music was the only positive thing in my life for the 4 years of high school and it kept me coming to school.”
-Mary S., Nevada
You can find many more stories from across the country at NAfME’s Shared Story page.