A Look Back at Hill Day 2024

By Zachary Keita, NAfME Advocacy and Public Policy Communications Manager

On June 12, music education advocates met in the heart of Washington, DC, for the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) annual Hill Day. As part of our National Leadership Assembly, this yearly event provides an opportunity for music education advocates to gather in the halls of Congress, highlighting their cause on the frontstage of federal policymaking, and developing relationships with key decision-makers in the legislative process.

Group walking in DC Hill Day 2024

Photo by © Ashlee Wilcox Photography, LLC

NAfME’s 2024 Hill Day kicked off with a group photo of attendees gathered on the steps of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial. 300+ advocates representing nearly every state, and members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable held more than 160 meetings with members of Congress and their staff. In addition to state music education association (MEA) leaders, NAfME Collegiate members from across the country participated in Hill Day advocacy, sharing their stories and highlighting the impact of music education on their lives and in their communities.

Hill Day 2024 group photo at Capitol

Photo by © Ashlee Wilcox Photography, LLC

NAfME Hill Day advocacy was a joint effort with representatives from ten Music Education Policy Roundtable organizations:

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Music Will Lang Lang Music Foundation Alfred Music Make Music
Music and the Brain National Association of Music Manufacturers Hawaii Youth Symphony American Orff-Schulwerk Association Boston Music Project

Music educators and advocates spoke with members of Congress and their staff about the importance of music education and the impact it has had on their lives and the lives of their students. Through these discussions, advocates highlighted key programs and legislation that would increase access to and further the impact of music education programs throughout the United States.

Hill Day 2024 meeting

Photo by © Ashlee Wilcox Photography, LLC

Key programs and legislation included:

  1. Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Funding Fiscal Year 2025
    • Title I, Part A (Supporting Access to Music Education for the Most Disadvantaged Students): $20.5 billion
    • Title II, Part A (Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teacher, Principals, or Other School Leaders): $3 billion
    • Title IV, Part A (Supporting Access to Music Education as Part of a Well-Rounded Education): $1.6 billion
  2. Reimagining Inclusive Arts Education Act—Seeks to increase access to and quality of arts education for students with disabilities. Provides funding to promote curricula, best practices, and professional development for arts educators working with students with disabilities.
  3. Educators for America Act—Seeks to reform and rebuild the educator pipeline to increase the number of diverse and highly qualified education personnel.
  4. Arts Education for All Act—Expands arts education and programming in early child care and prioritizes professional development for arts educators. Requires research and data collection on the use of arts in elementary and secondary Schools.

Hill Day Sing

To close out our time advocating for music education in DC, NAfME members gathered at the Taft Memorial Carillon for our second annual “Hill Day Sing” event. The Hill Day Sing is a wonderful opportunity to close out an intense day of meetings with legislators on a light note. NAfME members spent their day speaking to members of Congress about the power of music education, so it’s befitting for them to end the day with a first-hand demonstration!

NAfME Hill Day 2024 singalong at Taft memorial

Photo by © Ashlee Wilcox Photography, LLC

Evening Celebration

The night before Hill Day, NAfME hosted an evening celebration to highlight the outstanding work in advancing music education advocacy by MEAs throughout the year. During the evening’s events, Rhode Island MEA (RIMEA) was honored as this year’s NAfME Excellence in Advocacy Award winner. Over the last year, RIMEA worked with state legislatures to introduce and pass RI.H7020 the “Transparency in Arts Education Access and Proficiency Act” (TAEAPA). Having passed the Rhode Island legislature, the TAEAPA will do the following:

  1. Define the arts as “dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts.
  2. Direct the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education schools to
    1. Provide the percentage of students enrolled in arts education courses and the number of arts education courses available to students on each school’s annual school report card.
    2. Require each high school to provide a representative sample of students demonstrating evidence of meeting proficiency in one of the arts disciplines.
  3. Allow the department to designate or assign a qualified staff member to serve as the arts education curriculum coordinator.
Rhode Island MEA Excellence in Advocacy Award 2024 presentation with Jazzmone Sutton

Photo by © Ashlee Wilcox Photography, LLC

Social Media Presence

NAfME hosted a virtual advocacy campaign for members and other music education advocates to add their voices in support of our Hill Day and for programs and legislation impacting music education. Our virtual campaign received ample support from members across the country and amplified the message advocates shared on Capitol Hill. Additionally, NAfME orchestrated a massive social media presence, reaching viewers using the hashtag #NAfMEHillDay on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can revisit Hill Day experiences by following NAfME on each of these accounts @nafme.

Thank You, NAfME Members!

Hill Day 2024 fun group photo at Capitol

Photo by © Ashlee Wilcox Photography, LLC

Finally, we thank you for your devotion toward making our return to Capitol Hill a resounding success. Without you, we are not able to develop lasting and meaningful relationships on the Hill and effectively advocate for music education. As we work with Congress for the remainder of the year, we know your hard work and energy on Hill Day has opened the doors as we continue our mission of equitable access to music education.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

July 10, 2024


  • Advocacy
  • Advocacy
  • Federal Advocacy & Public Policy


July 10, 2024. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

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