How You Can Advocate for Music Education

Music has an important role in education. Its collaborative qualities encourage students to engage in critical thinking, while at the same time allowing them to better understand themselves and the world around them. These are just a few reasons why keeping music in our schools is so important.

professional development, music teachers


This year at our National In-Service Conference, NAfME advocacy leadership will equip YOU to be lead advocates for music and arts education! Our team will provide a national overview of music education, as well as provide different opportunities you can take to ensure music remains a crucial element in our students’ education!

We will also be joined by leaders from Americans for the Arts and Music Makes Us to speak about the importance of coalition-building and collaborative grassroots advocacy. Strength in numbers is our key to success!

The four advocacy topics at the 2015 National In-Service Conference are:

  • Collegiate Advocacy: YOU Can Make the Difference!
  • NAfME: The National Voice
  • Performance and Education — Cooperating on Advocacy
  • Advocacy Workshop: YOU, the Advocate

Are you a collegiate member? Here is a preview of what’s in store at our Collegiate advocacy session!

Collegiate Advocacy: YOU Can Make the Difference!

10/26/2015  2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

As the future of music education, you have an important part in advocating for music education. At this session NAfME’s advocacy staff will provide ideas, success stories, and helpful guidance for how you can be an effective advocate –  starting now! Most importantly, it is EASY to be active and engaged in advocacy efforts!  

“Thinking Beyond the Bubbles”

Let us take a step back and think about the first time you attended your band, choral, or strings class and focus on your first exposure to music. You may not have known it at the time, but music was already affecting you in a multitude of ways. Music is much more than something that improves a student’s academic achievement; it also gives us the inherent skills that we utilize outside the classroom, such as critical thinking, reflective learning, emotional awareness, and much more. These benefits give us the ability to be successful not only as professionals, but also as individuals. More than a year ago, NAfME started the broader mindedTM campaign to advocate these exact experiences. Your personal success stories of how music has impacted you is one of the best tools you can use as an advocate for your future classroom.


collegiate, advocacy
NAfME Collegiate members make the case for music education during Capitol Hill visits June 25, 2015. Photo: Documentary Associates, LLC.


So Now What?

So now that you have all this information, how do you use it to advocate for music education? There are many opportunities you can take to get involved at both state and federal levels:

  1. In the past year, fourteen of NAfME’s State MEA affiliate organizations had “fly-in” days during which they advocated for music education at their state capitol. You can contact your state organizations to see when the next fly-in event is for you to join!  
  2. Is there a particular issue affecting your school or university? Organize with your Collegiate chapter and think about ways to connect music with your community or partner with a local organizations to raise awareness of the issue.
  3. This past June, more than 200 music education advocates participated in and conducted meetings with their members of Congress and staff. Of the 200, we had seventy collegiates join us as part of our annual Collegiate Advocacy Summit.  
  4. You can write a letter to your state or federal legislator; legislators rely on constituent communications to best represent you as a citizen. In March, our broader mindedTM campaign succeeded in sending more than 10,000 letters to Congress, which helped make music a core academic subject in the Senate version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act! Find out who your legislators are here!

These are only a couple of examples of how you can get involved as an advocate. Join us for the session to find out about many more ways you can become an engaged advocate! 

Chris Shannon RonnyChris Woodside                                     Shannon Kelly                                     Ronny Lau

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our advocacy and policy staff. All three of us will be there in Nashville, and we look forward to meeting every one of you!

About the Author:

Ronny Lau is the Legislative Policy Advisor at the National Association for Music Education. A Virginia native, Ronny graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Political Science. After spending time working in Congress and on a congressional campaign, he joined NAfME in February 2015, bridging his passion of both politics and music. Ronny is a percussionist and specializes in marching percussion. He was a part of the James Madison University Drumline and is an experienced technician who has taught at several drumline programs in Northern Virginia and at James Madison University’s Summer Band Camps.


The NAfME Advocacy staff will be presenting on these four advocacy topics at the 2015 NAfME National In-Service Conference this coming October in Nashville, TN! Register today!




Join us for more than 300 innovative professional development sessions, nightly entertainment, extraordinary performances from across the country, a wild time at the Give a Note Extravaganza, and tons of networking opportunities with over 3,000+ other music educators! Learn more and register today:

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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, 28 September 2015. © National Association for Music Education (