The highly successful music advocacy initiative – Broader Minded™ – from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) was featured part of a Congressional briefing on April 3, at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
It was the first time NAfME had participated in a Capitol Hill briefing of this type in nearly a decade, and the specifics of the Broader Minded movement were an integral part of the discussion.
The premise of Broader Minded is that music not only impacts academic achievement, it also shapes the way students understand themselves and the world around them. Broader Minded urges thinking “Beyond the Bubbles™” and educating the whole student. In other words, it is “music for music’s sake.” Broader Minded has attracted significant national, regional, and local media coverage, from outlets like NPR’s All Things Considered.
Spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, [OH-11], the briefing was called “Music Matters,” and included opening remarks from NAfME President and Ohio-based professor Nancy E. Ditmer. In addition, NAfME’s Assistant Executive Director, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement Christopher Woodside was one of the panelists. He presented a summary of the Broader Minded initiative, followed by a showing of the Broader Minded informational video.
“Opportunities such as this one are extremely rare,” said Woodside. “They demonstrate the progress that we are making in both furthering the cause for music education and asserting our relevance. The fact that NAfME was invited to participate in this briefing is quite significant.”
The panel included representatives from other prominent music education organizations – Dr. Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education and Public Programming from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum), and Jennifer Mondie (Violist and Orchestra Committee Chairman, National Symphony Orchestra). Caprice Bragg, Vice President of Development for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, led the discussion.
Onkey discussed a variety of education programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ranging from pre-school programs through high school. Such is their commitment that the Hall often pays for transportation for student when financially strapped school districts can’t afford buses for field trips.
Mondie said her work is “boots on the ground” with students. Among her tasks? Trying to show them that orchestra music not aloof. Recently the National Symphony played a concert with hip hop artist Nas. “We want students to see that all kinds of music are accessible, to see all kinds of possibilities.”
Photos by Roz Fehr
Roz Fehr, NAfME Communications Content Developer, April 3, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)