NAfME and AAHPERD Release Joint Statement Supporting Music and Athletics

music education    music education

Earlier this month, the marching band and football team at Annandale High School in Annandale, Virginia, came into the national spotlight following an incident during the last home football game of the year. The marching band and football team were placed in competition for field time, resulting in heated emotional outbursts from coaches and parents. (Read the Washington Post story here.)

In response, NAfME and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, have taken the opportunity to release the following statement in support of the valuable role that athletics and music play in students’ lives.  We invite members to share our statement, with the intention of reinforcing the values of shared respect and admiration for the unique talents and accomplishments of every student.

In many schools across the country, students are afforded the opportunity to expand their involvement in curricular physical education and music through participation in extracurricular activities including competitive sports and marching band.  Naturally, talented students often must choose between activities, given the realities of competing demands on their time. However, the compartmentalization that often results between extracurricular sports and band is never cause for division among students, parents, and instructors.

Recently, Annandale High School in Northern Virginia experienced such division when the football team and marching band were placed in competition for field time, with heated emotions placing the school’s students and their families on opposite sides. While that incident is being resolved, the perceived division between extracurricular athletics and band activities remains all too common. But it should not be that way.

We at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), along with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), support the vital roles that both music and physical education play in the lives of many students. Both disciplines provide opportunities to develop critical personal assets such as leadership, discipline, collaboration, and self-confidence.

As advocates of both music and physical enrichment, NAfME and AAHPERD emphasize the value of collaboration, communication, and mutual respect for the unique abilities and contributions of each individual.

In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “Not every child has an equal talent …, but they should have the equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.” And as many parents know, many students take part in both music and sport  activities. Hence, any fabricated divide between those communities is not helpful for any student or their school community.

We commend all students who pursue personal excellence via participation in music and sports. On behalf of NAfME and AAHPERD, thank you for the inspiration, enthusiasm, and positive example that all of you bring to your community. As parents, educators, and advocates, let us join in encouraging their respective endeavors.

Shannon Kelly, Director of Advocacy, November 19, 2013. © National Association for Music Education (