We Owe It All To You

capitol hill


On the eve of the 108th birthday of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the best possible present was handed to us: recognition of music as a core subject in draft federal education policy.

This is an unprecedented enumeration in proposed federal legislation.

This is an incredibly exciting day, and we are all so proud to represent the work that you do for young people, in schools and institutions of higher learning, all across the country. Thank you for your passion, persistence, and patienceYOU have earned this. Please take a moment to celebrate before we get back to it!

There Is Power in Numbers
Early this year, NAfME mobilized
music advocates to send more than 10,000 letters to their lawmakers-and the result is a new bipartisan Senate Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) proposal, the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,” that retains the core academic subject section from No Child Left Behind, and, additionally, adds “music” as a specifically enumerated core academic subject. 

“This is game-changing news,” said NAfME Assistant Executive Director Chris Woodside. “This is an enormous achievement, and the DIRECT result of the incredible grassroots advocacy efforts of our members over the past few months. Today we are celebrating our members as we celebrate this crucial step forward.”

“The benefits of listing the arts as core demonstrate the importance of recognizing our nation’s education priorities at the federal level,” Woodside wrote recently in Roll Call. “The elimination of core academic subjects from ESEA would jeopardize national efforts to ensure that all students, regardless of race or economic status, have access to high quality school music programs. . . . music advocates . . . must engage with Congress to urge the inclusion of music in federal statute.”

As the Senate HELP Committee marks up this new proposal next week, NAfME will be present during those deliberations, standing for our members, in order to ensure that this crucial language is preserved in the draft.

Giving Credit Where It Is Due
We owe it to our members, who have stood by us for more than a century, for making NAfME the National Voice for Music Education. Founded 108 years ago this week, in 1907, NAfME today represents 140,000 student and teacher members who are members of our middle/junior- and senior-high school Tri-M Music Honor Societies, Collegiate NAfME chapters on campuses around the nation, and  our more than 60,000 PreK-12 music teachers, who work daily to ensure our students receive a quality music education-which prepares them for the 21st century workplace. 

Again, we thank each and everyone of you for your hard work in and out of the classroom to ensure that EVERY student has access to quality music education. BRAVO!



  • Musiced

    Start a petition to ensure it passes?

  • fine arts fan

    Why is it music as a stand alone and not “the arts” as a recognized supportive content group?

    • kristenrNAfME

      Over 10,000 letters were sent to Congress by
      music teachers/advocates. That had a lot to do with music’s support in the
      draft bill. Please note that “arts” also continues to be listed in
      the proposed language. All of the art forms should be supported in federal

    • adgbusiness

      If you read the bill, music is listed as a core academic subject, along
      with English, reading, language arts, science, technology, engineering,
      mathematics, foreign languages, civics, government, economics, arts,
      history, geography, computer science, physical education, and “any other
      subject determined by the state or local educational agency”.

  • Candy Sonnenberg

    While I am thrilled Music and Arts are finally being recognized, the bill as a whole is rotten. It does nothing to alleviate the mandated standardized testing. Take away the high-stakes testing, and you no longer need to have music and arts recognized by law. Our children would have time to learn and appreciate music and arts, if educators weren’t tied to teaching to a test.

  • Andrea Reece

    This is excellent, but how will this affect us in our classrooms? Does this guarantee that a school district cannot eliminate music? Are there going to be requirements for the minutes of instructional time per week? In NYS, the governor just passed education forms in the budget that are devastating to teachers (more particularly, state testing and how that impacts APPR). I fear that my profession, music education, is even more at jeopardy if we are increasing the emphasis on state testing. I guess, what I am asking, how does this Act and the clause about music impact us on the state level and then trickle down into our classrooms?

    • kristenrNAfME

      Passing a new ESEA is a long term process, and we will
      learn much more about the bill, it’s impact on the landscape, and ultimate
      effect in the classroom, over a period of many months (or even years), if we
      are lucky enough to see more progress. Stay tuned to NAfME for updates.

  • Mario Strada

    I really hope this passes. Not because I am a musician and my daughter is a music teacher, of course it pleases me at that level too, but because it will assure the gift of music and the expanded educational opportunities that music affords all students.

    I also hope that figurative and performing arts will not be forgotten because music and the arts are central topics to the development of a young person.

    My only hope is that after this law is a reality they will not make music/arts second class citizens in the curriculum and that music teachers will be able to leverage technology and the appeal music has for every kid to deliver classes that engage and motivate all students.

    unlike the art and music classes I was subject to in HS where in 4 years we hardly progressed from reading twinkle little star with a recorder and the teacher was hardly capable of superior feats of musicianship.

    • kristenrNAfME

      Thanks for your support! Much work still needs to be
      done. This is the beginning of a long process — but we’re excited too.

  • Congratulations on this major achievement! I wholeheartedly share your hopes that the bill will pass and in addition I hope that the effects of this passing will rub off on Europe, where this isn’t even a topic to discuss. You set an excellent example, which I hope many music teachers in the Netherlands and throughout Europe will follow.

  • Fantastic!

  • Charlie Cedric

    I am so glad music is being recognized. I love music and play and listen daily. However, music should NOT be a core subject area.
    Stick with STEM. Arts are important but should not be an educational necessity. Science offers real world creativity. We need science and technology to live. Like it or not, music is an afterthought. It’s simply not necessary.

    • ren_man

      and the research on those who are our scientists, our engineers, our researchers, our doctors shows time and again that participation in the arts, especially music, has been and continues to be vital to them.

      The arts, are NOT a frill.

      The arts infuse and inform all the STEM subjects — and by the way, music is at its core nothing more that MATH (and whole tone of physics–itself a form of math) given aural expression.

      Design me anything without using “art”.

      Build me anything without using “art”

      Simply put, you can’t.

    • Scott Brown

      Charlie, you couldn’t be more wrong. STEM is now becoming STEAM in many places. Please check out the following video to see where education is going. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rAbylCphUk

    • Musicteacher805

      Oh, Mr. Cedric, you are so wrong and not sure why you are even a participant on the NAfME website.

    • Giuliana S

      wrong, wrong, wrong. I hold two degrees in music performance and had a day job as a computer programmer, having scored highest on the aptitude test my employer used. Can I tell you how glad I was for that job to supplement my music income? May I tell you how glad I am not to have majored in IT? While you are at it, ake a look at who is overrepresented in AP STEM classes. Instrumentalists. The arts, and music in particular, integrate head, heart, and hand, they make students into self-evaluators, and you cannot do it for the grade alone. Booyah.

  • This is great news. It would be nice to have the exact article that states what subjects are considered “Core”. It’s one thing for us to say that the new law considers music to be a core subject in the legislation and another thing for us to be able to show the exact wording of the law. I started looking through the 600 page document, but I gave up after about 100 pages. If someone knows the location of the wording, that would be terrific.

  • grandma roo

    I’m a HUGE supporter of music in especially elementary school because I learned to read music at the age of 6 in my first grade music class. I LOVED that music teacher but I’ve gotten to the age where her name is in a file cabinet in my brain to which I cannot remember the password! Unfortunately, I left that school in 4th grade but one year at the Delaware Music Camp, I actually met her again at our concert (her daughter was there that year) and was able to tell her that her teaching had allowed me to really progress in piano and that I was going to study music at college. I ended up using my musical education to sing & cantor at my churches throughout my life and also to play handbells in a bronze level choir!
    My husband and I once attended a concert at the Kennedy center and the conductor polled the National Symphony as to how many of them got their start in music in the public school system. Over half of the orchestra members raised their hands!!
    This quote says it all: “For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech!” (I believe the author is unknown).

    • Giuliana S

      Excellent point.Without a school orchestra, how would young musicians become curious about an orchestra career. A good high school music program is the beginning of professional training. Many high school orchestra directors also do freelancing. They are tremendous role models.

      I heard a recital by members of the Cleveland Orchestra who noted in
      the question-answer session after the performance that they got their
      starts in public school music programs.

  • Bill B

    But do we really want the feds getting still more involved in local education?

    • restoman

      If that’s what it takes to assure that music is taught in public schools. Research shows that music is necessary for proper brain development as it involves development of both sides of the brain. Other learning, such as math or English, involves one side only. Therefore learning and playing music improves one’s ability to better learn all subjects. I pray this bill will pass.

  • Alyce Brodoff

    Thank you for this extraordinary and meaningful achievement. Let’s hope the bill passes and begins moving public education in the right direction. As a parent, music teacher and advocate for music and the arts, I am beyond thrilled.

  • Pj Braine

    Wonderful news! Sign me ups!

  • Scot Phelps

    This is great news…to a point. However, this bill keeps all the testing, and with music being a core subject I feel it won’t be long before they start finding a way to test it and possibly use that data inappropriately, such as using it to determine who can be in performing ensembles.

  • Lisa Rose

    I agree with those below. Testing is taking away a lot of the creativity in how we teach. Also as a core Subject you must remember that those of us in Elementary schools do not see the students for very much instruction time. I do not want us compared in the same way to classroom subjects such as Lang. Arts and Math that have well over several hours per week instruction while some of us in the Arts have less than 60 min/week! We know it is important and so do the kids:)

  • Claude Borders

    Ground breaking, wonderful news for our nations students, music educators, and our society’s future!

  • Iran Garcia

    Hey there guys, a bit confused here. Did it pass officially as a core subject?! Or did it pass to be part of the draft for the bill? Thanks .