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For Immediate Release
Contact: NAfME Advocacy or (703) 860-4000

NAfME Joins 52 Other National Organizations
to Support Arts Education as Essential
for Students during COVID-19 Pandemic

RESTON, VA (May 27, 2020)—As policymakers plan for school reopening in the fall, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) joined 52 other organizations in a statement that supports an arts education for all students.

In the statement, “Arts Education Is Essential,” the signing organizations convey that the arts have already played a pivotal and uplifting role during the health crisis, and that arts education can help all students, including those who are in traditionally underrepresented groups, as students return to school next year.

Arts Education Is Essential” speaks to arts education’s role in supporting the social and emotional well-being of students, an area that administrators, educators, and parents have highlighted as essential to student safety and success during the pandemic and as students return to school, whether in-person, online, or in a blended fashion, this fall. Arts education also creates a welcoming school environment and a healthy and inclusive school community, helping students, educators, parents, and the community at large build and strengthen their connectedness during this time of social isolation and social distancing.


Arts Education Is Essential statement

The statement also reminds the public that arts education is a part of a well-rounded education as defined by the federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and supported in state laws throughout the country. Forty-six states require an arts credit to receive a high school diploma, and 43 states have instructional requirements in the arts in elementary and secondary schools.

“It is vitally important to advocate for music and arts education now, as school districts and states begin to undertake the challenging task of planning the 2020–2021 school year.”

“It is vitally important to advocate for music and arts education now, as school districts and states begin to undertake the challenging task of planning the 2020–2021 school year,” said Kathleen D. Sanz, president of the National Association for Music Education. “We need to remind policymakers at all levels, from state legislatures to school boards, that the arts are part of a complete and well-rounded education that every student regardless of background must receive. Maintaining the arts in the schools is critical to continue to help our students with their educational and social and emotional learning, especially for those students in need of support in these difficult times.”

NAfME has been helping music educators prepare for the return to school in the fall. Advocacy and support efforts include:

  1. A “Music Education and Social-Emotional Learning” brochure, outlining how music education can support quality social-emotional learning outcomes for students.
  2. Instrument hygiene guidelines in partnership with the NAMM Foundation and the National Federation of State High School Associations, explaining how instruments can be safely returned and cleaned for use next school year.
  3. Dozens of high-quality professional development webinars, featuring ways in which to teach music successfully in a virtual setting, as well as additional resources to support standards-based music instruction.
  4. A public advocacy campaign to support federal funds to backfill state education budget shortfalls. More than 10,000 letters have been sent to Congress, urging our lawmakers to support public education.
  5. A forthcoming guide to school reopening plans, featuring how music can be taught safely and effectively to students both in-person and virtually next school year.

The music and arts education community has been active during this pandemic in providing administrators, educators, and other stakeholders guidance and support, as well as forward-thinking planning for music educators and district arts supervisors to take a lead as school districts make plans for the next school year. In any decision about how school districts will operate in the next and future school years, music and arts education will be essential in providing all students equitable educational opportunities that also continue to prepare them for an ever-changing world.

To add your voice to this statement, your organization can sign on to the statement by emailing

Signing organizations as of May 26, 2020. Click here to view updates to this list.

Afterschool Alliance Music for All
American Choral Directors Association Music Teachers National Association
American Composers Forum NAMM Foundation
American Orff-Schulwerk Association National Art Education Association
American String Teachers Association National Association for Music Education
Americans for the Arts National Association of Elementary School Principals
Barbershop Harmony Society National Association of Secondary School Principals
Carnegie Hall National Coalition for Core Arts Standards
Casio America Inc National Dance Education Organization
Chorus America National Education Association
CMA Foundation National Federation of State High School Associations
College Band Directors National Association National YoungArts Foundation
Conn-Selmer, Inc. Organization of American Kodály Educators
D’Addario Foundation Quadrant Research
Eastman Music Company QuaverEd
Education Through Music Recording Academy
Educational Theatre Association Save The Music Foundation
Give a Note Foundation State Education Agency Directors of Arts Association
Hal Leonard The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation
Historically Black Colleges and Universities National Band Directors’ Consortium United Sound, Inc.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Varsity Performing Arts
Jazz Education Network West Music Company
KHS America WURRLYedu
KORG, USA Yamaha Corporation of America
League of American Orchestras Young Audiences Arts for Learning
Little Kids Rock YOUnison
Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation  



National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members teaching millions of students nationwide, the organization is the national voice for music education in the United States.

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For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at or 703-860-4000.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

May 27, 2020


  • Advocacy
  • Federal Advocacy & Public Policy
  • Local Advocacy
  • State Advocacy & Public Policy


May 27, 2020. © National Association for Music Education (

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