Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM) will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this March. Beginning in 1973 as a single day, jumping to a week in 1977, and finally becoming a month in 1985, MIOSM has been about promoting increasing awareness and promoting the benefits of music education to educators, students, and communities.
Part of what makes MIOSM such a successful program, and why it grows larger each year, are the projects that educators and students develop each year. If you’re wondering what you can do to celebrate MIOSM with your students in March, read below. We’ll provide project ideas here for you to help MIOSM grow in your school!
One project that is really helpful and in line with the goals of MIOSM are projects that correlate with advocacy for music education. There are many different avenues to pursue in helping with music education advocacy. The first avenue of awareness you could pursue is recording an introduction with your school’s principal or community leader explaining what MIOSM is, why music education is important, and then have a recording of your school’s music groups performing. Another way to advocate for your program would be to have your students and teachers write letters to your school board and state legislators about the benefits of having strong music education programs in your school. Alternatively, your school could host performances throughout the month and invite community and government officials to the performances to show them how music education has positively impacted your school, students, and staff.
Hosting and traveling to performances is another project that would work really well with MIOSM. Your school’s music program could set a series of concerts throughout the month performed by the different groups in your school. One week could be band; another could be orchestra; the next, chorus. On the other hand, your music program could set up field trips to go see performances. Travel to see a college music school performance or recital; or maybe you could attend a local group’s performance in a local venue. You could even see if your music groups could perform with a college or local program, and, in turn, invite them to perform at your school. The value here is limitless! You would be strengthening your program by building partnerships with these groups, showing your community why your program is worthwhile, and increasing awareness and the value of music education to all involved.
Last year a chapter of the Tri-M music honor society did a project that really lines up with the spirit of MIOSM celebrating its 30th anniversary. Chesterfield School, of New Hampshire, themed their MIOSM project around different eras of music, and got the whole school involved in participating. Each week was themed with a different decade of music: ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, finishing with country western. When staff and students entered the lobby in the morning before the start of school, they heard music over the loudspeakers from those particular eras. To garner participation from students, they held costume contests every Thursday, and awarded points to the classrooms who got involved. Each week, the classroom with the most points won a themed prize of that particular era.
To see a list of other activities, please visit our MIOSM Activities page. If you want to order gear that you and your students can use to represent Music In Our Schools Month, please visit our MIOSM Store.
Brendan McAloon, Marketing and Events Coordinator, January 29, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)