You Can Mix Music and Politics


NAfME Hill Day 2015 Recap


Last week, the National Association for Music Education capped off its annual Hill Day event, with more than 200 music education advocates (including 47 state associations and nearly 70 collegiate members)* coming to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress and their staff. 


The Benefits of a Broader Minded Education

NAfME Hill Day 2015 Congressional Briefing from NAfME on Vimeo.


NAfME Hill Day 2015 began with a Congressional Briefing, entitled “Beyond the Bubbles with Music: The Benefits of a Broader MindedTM Education,” with more than 200 attendees on hand for a discussion of the importance of music’s role in the education of all students. The event featured a panel consisting of Glenn Nierman, NAfME President and Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Kenneth Elpus, Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Maryland; Lynn Tuttle, Director of Arts Education, with the Arizona Department of Education; and John Brandon of the critically acclaimed band, San Fermin

Each of the panelists spoke eloquently and contributed to the dialogue with their extensive backgrounds and involvement with music from teaching and playing music, to developing music education policy. The event also featured Ranking Member of the House Education & Workforce Committee, Representative Bobby Scott (VA-03), who spoke on Congress’s latest efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In case you missed it, a full recording of the briefing can viewed on our Vimeo page.


education reform
Photo: Documentary Associates, LLC.


Ensuring “Music” and “Arts” as Core

After the briefing, our member delegations proceeded to meetings with their Representatives and Senators to advocate for the importance of music education and to ask for support of the Senate’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, where “music” and “arts” are enumerated as core academic subjects.  Roughly 180 meetings with congressional offices were conducted, our largest and most successful Hill Day in history.  Of our 200 music education advocates, 70 consisted of NAfME collegiate members, which is the largest number of collegiate advocates we have had to date.  Others that joined our efforts on the Hill included members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable, and special guests from the rock band San Fermin.




Social Media Presence 

Due to our success and tremendous outreach, NAfME was featured in two television interviews highlighting our impact with our Hill Day efforts and the Give a Note Foundation on Washington D.C’s Fox 5 news channel. If you missed it, both interviews (one & two) can be found on Fox 5’s website. NAfME also received massive social media presence, reaching 7.2 million people as 1679 posts were made utilizing the hashtag #NAfMEHD15 and 1250 social media engagements (likes, retweets).

college students
Photo: Documentary Associates, LLC.


Thank you to all those who participated in NAfME Hill Day 2015 for making it an incredible win for the music education community. As we move forward, the Senate plans to take up its ESEA reauthorization on the floor, Tuesday, July 7th. We will continue to keep you updated with floor proceedings, so be sure to buckle up for an exciting month for music education policy!

*The recent email correspondence delivered to NAfME members inadvertently stated “over 7 state MEAs” rather than 47 state MEAs. We apologize for the error.

Ronny Lau, Special Assistant, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement, July 1, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (