Mayor Karl Dean Says Music is One of the Tools Students Need to Succeed in Life


Mayor Karl Dean
Mayor Karl Dean


In a speech on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House, Mayor Karl Dean welcomed nearly 3,500 music teachers, music students and corporate partners of the National Association for Music Education to Nashville. He called the Grand Ole Opry House “the Heart and soul of Music City.’

 As part of a kick off concert for the for the NAfME 2013 National In-Service Conference, Dean said, “It only makes sense that you would have your national convention here in our wonderful city because music is our brand.  We’re glad you’re here.”

The concert featured country singers Casey James, Sarah Darling, and the duo Striking Matches.

Dean also said that Nashville boasts more music industry professionals than any city in North America. To that end he said city leaders believe music and music education are important. “Given the fact that we are ‘Music City,’ it makes sense that we would have the best public school music program of any city in the United States.

Music, he said is not a frill. “We owe it to our children to provide them with the tools they need to succeed in life,” and he said music educatio  helps students to be successful.

In 2009, Dean began exploring how to create a world-class music education program that would be unique to Nashville and takes advantage of the vast resources and talent available here. The work was done in partnership with the education committee of the Music City Music Council, a coalition of music professionals and executives the mayor convened to promote and grow the music industry in Nashville.

Two years later Dean and Metro Schools announced Music Makes Us: The Nashville Music Education Project, a revolutionary new approach to music education that includes new contemporary curriculum and technologies, but also builds on and improves traditional music curriculum in band, orchestra and choir. 

Music Makes Us has infused new life into the music education program in Metro Schools. Immediate improvements included new classes in songwriting and composition, world percussion, rock band and mariachi and technology-based production such as recording and hip hop at middle schools and high schools. 

Dean said frequently visits schools and “often sees the progress that is being made in our school.”

Photo by Randi Radcliff

Roz  Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, October 28, 2013. © National Association for Music Education