NAfME Hill Day 2017 Recap

Advocating for Music Education for All

NAfME Hill Day 2017 Recap

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) held yet another successful Hill Day because of the perseverance and commitment of its members. This same dedication led to music being enumerated as part of a “Well-Rounded Education” in the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) a year and a half ago. On NAfME Hill Day 2017, participants marched the halls of Capitol Hill to request ESSA’s “well-rounded” programs be robustly funded. Over 300 hundred NAfME members participated including a record number of 119 collegiates.



The day kicked off with a sing and rally just across the street from the Capitol Dome. Led by NAfME President Denese Odegaard, President-Elect Kathy Sanz, and Past President Glenn Nierman, Hill Day participants joined in singing The Star-Spangled Banner, America (My Country, Tis Of Thee), and God Bless America. Two barbershop quartets, GQ and Pratt Street Power, provided amazing live music just before the rally.

From there, Hill Day participants advocated for music education for all by asking lawmakers to:

  • Support access to music education as part of a well-rounded education by fully funding Title IV, Part A, otherwise known as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant.
  • Support access to music education for the most disadvantaged students by fully funding Title I, Part A.
  • Support professional development for music educators by fully funding Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A and F.

Additionally, our Hill Day delegations were joined this year by several special guests, including representatives from the Country Music Association Foundation, Sonic Escape, and ten members of NAfME’s Music Education Policy Roundtable:

education policy

• Education Through Music
• Organization of American Kodaly Educators
• Gordon Institute for Music Learning
• VH1 Save The Music Foundation
• Music for All
• Recording Academy
• Progressive Music
• Barbershop Harmony Society
• Little Kids Rock
• Quaver Music

When all was said and done, NAfME Hill Day participants reached nearly 300 congressional offices and their presence was “impressive”, according to several Congressional staffers.

For the first time, Hill Day participants filled out surveys “on the fly,” capturing their conversations in each office and sharing that back with the NAfME policy staff for use in the future. Highlights of those survey results, returned for 263 of the nearly 300 visits made, include:

  • 79% of Congressional offices visited were supporting Title IV, Part A funding – NAfME’s main request, with 58% of the offices signaling support for full funding of Title IV, Part A
  • 64% of offices favor more overall funding for public education
  • 20% of offices were interested in supporting music education specific legislation.
Ashlee Wilcox Photography / Documentary Associates, LLC

Evening Celebration

At the Hill Day Evening Celebration, North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) was honored as this year’s State Advocacy Award recipient. NCMEA has been a true model of state advocacy. This was evidenced by its opposition of a provision in the state budget that would cause local districts to lose funds for their elementary music, art, physical education, and world language teachers because of a mandated class size reduction in grades K-2.  


music award
Tiffany Kerns, Director of Community Outreach for the Country Music Association (CMA), accepts the 2017 Stand for Music Award on behalf of the CMA Foundation, presented by NAfME President Denese Odegaard. Photo: Ashlee Wilcox Photography / Documentary Associates, LLC


Also honored was the Country Music Association Foundation as the recipient of NAfME’s Stand for Music Award. CMA Foundation has been a close partner with NAfME and has inspired music education advocates worldwide. Since its inception, CMA Foundation has given more than $17.5 million to organizations and schools, enhancing the lives of students through the power of music.

Social Media Presence

NAfME shared the Hill Day 2017 Sing and Rally via Facebook Live, with more than 80,000 people viewing the Rally on June 29th. In addition, NAfME orchestrated a massive social media presence, reaching viewers using the hashtag #NAfMEHD17. The hashtag was used for posts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; you can revisit our member’s experiences on Hill Day by following each of these accounts. 

social media
Photo: Ashlee Wilcox Photography / Documentary Associates, LLC

Thank you NAfME Members!

Finally, we thank you for your devotion in making Hill Day 2017 yet another 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 music education for all.

Tooshar Swain, Policy Advisor, July 18, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (