Jazz and Music In Our Schools Month

Ever given any thought to how you and your jazz ensemble could celebrate Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM)?

If you’re short on ideas, here’s a good one.

For years, the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) has been scheduling performances by school music ensembles at the New York state capital, Albany, to raise awareness of the importance of music education in the nation’s schools.

This year, according to Executive Director Steven Schopp, on March 7, there will be public performances by the NYSSMA 2010 All-State Vocal and Instrumental Jazz Ensembles to kick off Joseph Sugar Day, honoring the late educator, who came up with original concept for MIOSM in 1973. MENC Executive Director Michael Butera will also be in attendance.

It’s a large undertaking logistically, scheduled well in advance of the actual performance dates. However, it has the added benefit of getting the word out to the people who make the decisions regarding school funding at the state level, reminding them that school music programs are just as important as the other subject areas that often get the lion’s share of state education assistance.

If this all sounds a bit daunting, consider scheduling a performance for your next school board meeting in March. These are the folks who make the funding decisions at the local level. They need to hear the message, too, and there’s no one better suited to sending it than you and your students!

—Nick Webb, February 17, 2011, © National Association for Music Education