Missouri Music Educators Advocate for Music Education through All-State Ensembles

Earlier this month, state legislators and other state officials in Missouri received a CD that includes performances from Missouri’s All-State Band, Orchestra, Choir and Jazz Band, courtesy of the Missouri Music Educators Association. The liner notes for the CD read: “This disk is provided to you compliments of the 3,000 members of (MMEA) as part of our organization’s celebration of Music In Our Schools Month…March has been designated Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®) by MENC: The National Association for Music Education as a time for music education to become the focus of schools across the nation.”

Paul Copenhaver, president of the Missouri Music Educators Association, explains how the CD campaign began:

“This is the third year we have produced the CD for MIOSM. I’m not exactly sure where we got the idea. The first year, it was simply a CD with no accompanying information. The last two years, I’ve written some notes about MIOSM as “liner notes” so those who receive it know a little about MMEA/MENC, MIOSM, and just a little about the music included on the disc. We try to highlight music that is by Missouri composers, commissioned for a specific ensemble, etc.

These CDs are taken to the state capitol and placed in each senator and representative’s mailbox. [My wife is a former state representative, so that makes navigating the capitol a little easier.] CDs are also mailed to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer, and to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

I did get some responses from the representatives and senators regarding the CDs. Last week one of the representatives’ legislative assistants called me and wanted the names of students who were members of these ensembles that live in his House district. I’m sure they intend to send a ‘note’ to each student.

On Wednesday Rob Nichols [MMEA President-Elect] and I went to the capitol, and had our picture taken with the Governor Jay Nixon with our MIOSM Proclamation. Although I’d already mailed him a CD, I gave him another one during our time together. We had a nice, short visit about the importance of music in our schools. That photo will appear in the Spring Issue of our Missouri School Music Magazine.”

MIOSM and the events surrounding it provide opportunities for increasing awareness of the benefits of high-quality music education programs in our nation’s schools. MENC hopes that teachers, students, and music supporters alike will find ways to join the celebration through creative activities and advocacy in March and every month. To learn more about MIOSM and how MENC works to support music education, visit here.

 — Roz Fehr, March 12, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education