“Harmony on Capitol Hill” with NAfME, the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation, and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)

On March 11, 2024, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation, and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) hosted the “Harmony on Capitol Hill” briefing in Washington, DC. This gathering was in recognition of 39 years of Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®), highlighting the importance of music education in shaping young minds and enriching our society.

The event kicked off with NAfME President Scott R. Sheehan emphasizing the crucial role of music in providing students with a well-rounded education, and fostering a sense of community, academic resilience, and creative thinking among students.

Scott Sheehan at MIOSM 2024 Harmony on Capitol Hill event

Following President Sheehan’s remarks, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) spoke about the importance of music education, advocating passionately for the transformative power of music in developing students “creatively, academically, and enriching their lives generally.” Congresswoman Velázquez closed her remarks by announcing the re-introduction of the federal MIOSM Resolution.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez at MIOSM 2024 Harmony on Capitol Hill event

A panel discussion moderated by CMA Foundation Executive Director Tiffany Kerns followed. The panel featured three seasoned music educators: Shawna Longo, District Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts/Consumer Education—Westfield Public Schools, New Jersey; DaJuana Hammonds, Music and Choral Teacher—Hull-Jackson Montessori School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee; Jared Cassedy, K–12 Performing Arts Coordinator, LHS Wind Ensemble Conductor—Lexington Public Schools, Massachusetts; along with the University of Maryland, College Park NAfME Collegiate Chapter President Jenna Dietrich. Their diverse perspectives painted a vivid picture of the impact music education can have on students’ lives.

Jared Cassedy Shawna Longo and Da'Juana Hammonds at MIOSM 2024 Harmony on Capitol Hill event

From sharing anecdotes about inspiring students to advocating for equitable access to resources, the panelists spoke candidly about the joys and challenges of being a music educator. Their stories resonated with attendees, underscoring the importance of investing in music education for the future.


In closing remarks, NAfME Executive Director Christopher Woodside reaffirmed the association’s commitment to championing music education for every student and gave a call-to-action rallying support for the 2024 Music In Our Schools Month Resolution and the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act.

“Harmony on Capitol Hill” was more than just a celebration—it was a powerful reminder of the transformative power of music and the need for federal support in ensuring that every student has the opportunity to experience its benefits. NAfME thanks Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez for hosting this important event and for her continued support of music education. We thank the CMA Foundation for bringing in Music Teachers of Excellence and for their longstanding support of NAfME and its mission, and we thank our panelists for providing their unique and impactful experiences in the field. Finally, we thank you, our members, for your continued support of NAfME and for your tireless efforts to bring music into our schools. Happy Music In Our Schools Month!

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

March 16, 2024


  • Advocacy
  • Advocacy
  • Federal Advocacy & Public Policy


March 16, 2024. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

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