Welcome to broader minded!


This originally appeared in the first edition of the Broader Minded Beat newsletter.

Dear Music Education Enthusiasts, Practitioners, Students, and Advocates,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Broader Minded Beat!

What is Broader Minded?

Broader Minded is about reimagining music education advocacy and promoting the intrinsic, unique benefits that music study provides. Studies that link music study to better math and reading scores are a great thing, but focusing on those data alone sells music education short. Music does something even more valuable for students, and those are the benefits that deserve our focus.

These updates will serve as our forum to continue that conversation about the power of music education. We will share content that we think is particularly interesting, challenging, controversial, or inspiring. We’ll also share what’s happening in our offices and in the policy world at the national and state level and let you know how you can stay involved.

Since launching our new advocacy brand and website in February 2014, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response from NAfME members, students, parents, and the public at large. We think it’s because the time is right for a new conversation about education—what really matters for students, what creates positive growth and change, and what really helps them succeed. This is our space to “think beyond the bubbles” about how to effect truly positive change in education through music.

We think we’re on to something here. If you agree, share these updates, send us feedback, and share your own story on broaderminded.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


The Broader Minded Advocacy Team


Wynton Marsalis on the Value of Music Education

We loved the USA Today op-ed by famed jazz performer Wynton Marsalis and Harvard President Drew Faust on the value of arts education, which we daresay embodies the Broader Minded approach to music study. Check out this quote:

“Many of today’s students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined…we must also enable them to ask the right questions to shape the world to come.

“We need education that nurtures judgment as well as mastery, ethics and values as well as analysis. We need learning that will enable students to interpret complexity, to adapt, and to make sense of lives they never anticipated. We need a way of teaching that encourages them to develop understanding of those different from themselves, enabling constructive collaborations across national and cultural origins and identities.

“In other words, we need learning that incorporates what the arts teach us.”

Faust/Marsalis:The Art of Learning“ (USA Today; December 31, 2013)

Watch an NAfME exclusive interview with Marsalis


Broader Minded On Capitol Hill!

On Thursday, April 3rd, NAfME President Nancy Ditmer and Assistant Executive Director Chris Woodside joined representatives from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Symphony Orchestra for a congressional briefing titled “Music Matters.”

Sponsored by Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, co-chair of the Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus, the panel discussion addressed the need for sequential, standards-based classroom music and leveraging organizational partnerships to ensure access to music education for all students. Chris Woodside summarized the Broader Minded initiative and showed the Broader Minded informational video.

The fact that NAfME was invited to participate in this event signifies the progress we are making in our collective advocacy efforts. The briefing was a decisive step forward for music education. Thanks to all who invited their Congressional representatives to this important event!

Watch the briefing.


Share Your Story

We love this story from a music teacher in Canton OH, who wrote to us via Broader Minded about the value of music:

Music is different than other areas of study in that it can be a team effort. I tended to be more of a leader by action and not by voice. Music organizations enabled me to utilize my leadership qualities and to grow. Music teaches self discipline. It is by no means easy, however there are rewards throughout the journey. It takes qualities such as motivation, dedication, commitment, courage, creativity, and most of all it’s a challenge we all have to work to overcome.

However, these qualities are directly carried into other areas of one’s life and will help them improve. I was in one of the top programs with all the opportunities one could ask for in music. It was then that I realized it’s not how good an ensemble is but just that the students are given the opportunity to be a part of an ensemble.

Not only will they learn a life skill of playing an instrument, but they will be molded and shaped into better people because of this discipline they learn. I chose music to make a difference in the world. If students are given the opportunity to learn music, things such as academic success, behavior, and motivation for example could improve. Music allows one to go on any journey or road they choose because it is an art that can change every life.

Please visit the broadermined.com to share your story about the intrinsic value of music in the classroom.


Deeper Dive: Further Reading

Broader Minded is in the news! Check out these stories about the Broader Minded Campaign, as well as a few other (very interesting) broader-minded articles on the value of music education:

Broader Minded in the News:

Sarah McCammon, “Music Education for Creativity, Not a Tool for Test Scores,” NPR, 18 February 2014.

Tim Walker, “Music Education Advocacy Hits Reset,” NEA Today, 3 March 2014.

Peter Wright, “Why Music Education? Beyond the Bubbles,” Oklahoma Teacher of the Year blog, 4 March 2014.

Articles on the value of music education:

Research Suggests Positive Impact of Music Education,” U.S. Department of Education, 19 July 2013.

Blake Madden, “Why Music Education Really Matters,” Trust Me I’m a Scientist blog, 3 February 2014.

Jason Chuong, “Drumming to Success: Why Teaching Music Matters,” Huffington Post, 22 November 2013.

Karen Chan Barrett, Richard Ashley, Dana L. Strait, and Nina Kraus, “Art and Science: How Musical Training Shapes the Brain,” Frontiers in Psychology, 16 October 2013. (Note page 7 especially.)

Tom Jacobs, “Music Lessons Boost Emotional, Intellectual Development,” Pacific Standard, 3 December 2013.


Thanks for being a part of the Broader Minded movement—stay tuned for more soon!