The Other Music Advocates

Teachers: You’re instructing. You’re mentoring. You’re tutoring outside the classroom.

A little help with advocating for your profession would be greatly appreciated! And it’s definitely necessary.

Share this fact with your students’ parents: This is where they come in (besides encouraging regular practice by students as they prepare for auditions, assessments, and performances)! After all, they’re also voters. (Use this concert program insert to get the message across to them easily.)

marketing music education

Recently, NAfME Assistant Executive Director Christopher Woodside spoke with Kathleen Heuer of Marketing Music Education. In describing why we need to “sell music education,” Heuer notes:

“We’re convincing policymakers at all levels that music education is not only worthwhile, but necessary. We’re communicating that music education prepares students not to become Grammy winning recording artists, but to be hardworking, productive, resourceful members of a cooperative society.”

However, “the hard part,” Heuer says, “is convincing people to take the attention and the time to share with those who need to hear it.”

That’s where your parents and the wider community around you have an important role. They may not realize the power of their voice along with yours.

With NAfME’s broader mindedTM campaign, stories are paramount. “When we’re talking to someone [on Capitol Hill] who really understands that unique value proposition of music, [advocates] can use these stories directly,” says Chris. “We can tell these members of Congress about these specific experiences their constituents have had. And what’s so great about that is that we are able to speak about music in a way that matters to us, in this ‘music for music’s sake’ way. And [legislators] also get these stories that they can—and do—use out on the campaign trail. That’s all part of politics.” All politics is local.

Chris talks more about broader mindedTM: It “has three different components. There’s an ‘inside the bubbles’ component of the arguments we use [in advocating for music education]—and these are very popular arguments on Capitol Hill . . . and those arguments are about things like higher grade point averages as a result of access to music, or improving cognition, or how music can transcend socio-economic levels. . . . These are long, long held beliefs that are somewhat based on research depending on how strongly you feel about the research—the extra-musical value of music education.

“And then we have what we call the ‘beyond the bubbles’ arguments. These are arguments that we like a lot better. They’re based on things like twenty-first century learning and the value proposition of music for the next generation work force. They’re qualities about music like grit and multiple ways of knowing, creativity, emotional awareness. These are things that music education advocates feel a lot more strongly about because they feel a lot more unique to music, in the sense that when you drive them from a music classroom, you get a special experience there.

“But all of these, to be clear, both ‘inside the bubbles’ and ‘beyond the bubbles’ skills, are kind of a ‘store front,’ as I like to call it, for the transformative, unique, X factor quality of music that is based in the experiences that people have. What’s so cool about this campaign—and we do use this campaign on Capitol Hill—is that all these different skills . . . are backed by stories” about how music has changed lives.

Broader Minded-HR

Listen to the rest of Kathleen’s conversation with Chris Woodside here to learn about what’s going on inside the beltway with education policy, why parents matter in music advocacy, standardized testing and the opt-out movement, simple tips for effective advocacy, and more.

And share your story about the impact music education has had in your life!


And please sign this petition to express your support for music education!


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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Catherina Hurlburt, Communications Manager, January 29, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (