Press Release: Capitol Hill Rally Emphasizes Urgency of Supporting School Music

Music Students and Advocates Rally on Capitol Hill in Support of Music Education

Annual “Music Education Week” Celebration Includes Traditional “National Anthem Sing”

RESTON, VA (June 16, 2010) – Music students from around the nation will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Capitol Hill June 25 to raise awareness of the importance of music as part of a comprehensive education.

The rally features hundreds of young musicians from around the country who will gather to voice the urgent need to protect and support music programs in public schools.

“For today’s students to succeed tomorrow, they need a comprehensive education that includes music taught by exemplary music educators,” said Michael B. Butera, executive director of MENC. “Music education provides all students the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school and in life. As part of the core curriculum, music education provides students with the creativity, critical thinking, and teamwork skills needed to achieve in the 21st century classroom, while also offering new and innovative ways to develop literacy and math skills.”

“Through the promotion of National Standards for Music Education, MENC partners with educators and policymakers to help all schools understand what students must know and be able to do to prepare them for their needs as 21st century citizens,” said MENC President Scott C. Shuler, arts consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education. “We choose to celebrate Music Education Week each year in our nation’s capital to remind our decisionmakers that the arts have long been a core academic subject in Federal law. It is essential that this definition be maintained and made concrete by ensuring that all students in our nation’s schools have access to a core curriculum that includes a high-quality education in music and the other arts.”

The rally will feature two performing groups: The U.S. Navy Band with a program of patriotic favorites, and DC’s own “Power Pirate,” a three-piece electronic rock band featuring teen musicians Emily Pakulski (guitar and vocals), Michael Garate (keyboards), and Annika Monari (drums). Power Pirate, whose members strive to create music that fuses innovation and traditional musical theory, was a finalist in last year’s SchoolJam USA, a unique national teen battle of the bands contest that promotes aspiring musicians while helping to build awareness about the benefits of a quality school music education—both for traditional band students and non-traditional school musicians. SchoolJam USA is a program of NAMM, The National Association of Music Merchants, in partnership with other organizations including MENC.

MENC’s goal for the rally is to raise awareness of the need to protect music as part of the core curriculum as it is under The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently undergoing review in Congress. “Studies show over and over that music is good for kids and helps them succeed in the future,” said Butera. A few examples:

  • “Data shows that high earnings are not just associated with people who have high technical skills. In fact, mastery of the arts and humanities is just as closely correlated with high earnings, and, according to our analysis, that will continue to be true … music … will give our students an edge just as surely as math and science will.” — Tough Choices or Tough Times (2007, National Center on Education and the Economy)
  • 83 percent of people whose income is higher than $150,000 participated in music education. — 2007 Harris Interactive Poll
  • Schools with music programs have a significantly higher graduation rate (90.2 percent compared to 72.9 percent). — 2006 Harris study
  • Students who took music performance courses scored higher on both sections of the SAT: 57 points higher on the verbal portion and 43 points higher on the math portion. — The College Board (2006)

The rally is part of the MENC’s annual Music Education Week, which features professional development academies for music educators, Capitol Hill visits, and student performances at national monuments and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The rally will take place at Upper Senate Park on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol (200 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001) from 8:30-9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 25. To learn more, visit or call 800-336-3768.

For today’s students to succeed tomorrow, they need a comprehensive education that includes music taught by exemplary music educators.

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. Through membership of more than 75,000 active, retired, and pre-service music teachers, and with 60,000 honor students and supporters, MENC serves millions of students nationwide through activities at all teaching levels, from preschool to graduate school. MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education. MENC is located at the National Center for Music Education in Reston, VA.

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