A few weeks ago Michael Tryon, a senior United States Air Force Airman stationed at a base in Wichita Falls, Texas, was considering a designation for his annual Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) donation.
He spotted a description for Music Education Matters. “He decided right away that he wanted the donation to go there,” Kate Tryon, his wife, said.
“He loves to sing and has performed in show choir and in musical theater and just thought it was would be a good place for the money to go,” Kate said of Michael. Prior to his designation, she had not heard of the National Association for Musication (NAfME), which participates in the CFC campaign as “Music Education Matters!”
The description for potential CFC donors reads “School music programs are threatened in every state. Help ensure that all children have access to the life-transforming benefits of a quality music education.”
In addition, NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation is a social advocacy organization dedicated to bringing renewal to America’s embattled music education programs. It’s mission is also to expand and increase music education opportunities for all children – especially those in underserved areas.
Kate said she was intrigued and wondered if NAfME had a Facebook page. “It was a shot in the dark but there it was.” Once she found the NAfME Facebook page, she started frequent visits to the site. “There’s a lot of information there and it’s so great to see what schools are doing.”
She was inspired enough to begin encouraging her Facebook friends to contribute to Music Education Matters, and to make contributions through the CFC and other means.“We wanted to do it since we love the arts, and we have a lot of friends who love the arts, too”
Give A Note’s primary project to date has been the Glee Give a Note contest. In mid-December Fox, home to the television show Glee, will award $1 million to fund struggling school music programs. Schools, teachers, and administrators submitted videos about their music programs, and more than one million visitors cast votes. Look for the announcement of winners after December 15.
Kate, who played clarinet in a school music program, said she watched many of the videos and will look to see if any of the schools she voted for won. She has another reason for supporting school music programs. The couple has a five-year-old son Cameron who already seems musically inclined.
He loves to sing and he keeps the beat, playing an imaginary drum set. I don’t doubt he will be musical as he gets older,” Kate said, adding that Cameron’s pre-K class already has introduced him to different styles of music.
—Roz Fehr, December 6, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (nafme.org)