This March, music educators and students will be celebrating music education in their schools and communities with concerts and classroom activities that show how “Music Changes Lives”, the theme of the 2020 observance of Music In Our Schools Month®. The impact of music education on the lives of students is evident in its social-emotional effect on young people and how they interact with the world around them.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) recognizes March as the 35th annual Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®). Since 1985, MIOSM has been observed as a yearly month-long celebration when schools and communities celebrate music in their local schools and the educators who dedicate themselves to bringing music into the lives of students every day. This year, the NAfME Council for General Music Education has provided teachers resources to show the learning process throughout the whole school year. The “Music In Our Schools Month®: Process into Product” document explains this new direction, which began in 2018.
Every day, in classrooms and rehearsal rooms across the United States, music educators dedicate themselves to reaching all students with life-changing musical experiences. What parents, administrators, and the wider community have not always had the opportunity to observe, however, is the months of practice and rehearsals and the process of learning that takes place in the music classroom and on the stage.
NAfME Making a Difference
Each school year provides an opportunity for music educators to show that process through “informances”—when students demonstrate various learning stages—before the performances at the end of that process. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to show their growth and learning in the music classroom—and for educators to share the incredible work they are doing in their music programs. NAfME also celebrates the music program leaders, superintendents, school boards, parents, and local businesses that support their local schools’ music programs and the difference music makes for all students.
NAfME on Social Media
NAfME encourages teachers and music education advocates to share on social media how their schools are celebrating music education, using the hashtags #MusicChangesLives and #MIOSM and tagging “@NAfME”. This year NAfME has provided MIOSM lesson plans for twenty songs, including resources from the Library of Congress, instructional goals and objectives, connections to the National Core Arts Standards learned in each lesson, worksheets, and more. Additionally, music educators can join in the “biggest school chorus in the world” with American Young Voices, which has provided lesson plans, teaching aims and objectives, sheet music, vocal tracks, and more for the song “Pinwheels.” NAfME has also provided classroom materials for MIOSM that teachers can share with their students as they celebrate how “Music Changes Lives” in their classrooms and schools. All of these items are available at nafme.org/MIOSM.
Congressional Briefing on Music Education
On March 26, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, NAfME will host a congressional briefing for legislators, Hill staffers, and stakeholders on music education and social-emotional learning. Speakers will include Scott Edgar, Associate Professor of Music, Music Education Chair, and Director of Bands at Lake Forest College and author of Music Education and Social Emotional Learning: The Heart of Teaching Music, and Bob Morrison, school board member and New Jersey music education advocate. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Advocacy Days
Meanwhile, state music education associations (MEAs) are conducting their own advocacy days this spring in state capitals to support music education for all students. Ensembles are performing for elected officials at their state capitols and in local communities to demonstrate the importance of music education. Many state MEAs sponsor resolutions or proclamations for MIOSM. A how-to guide, sample language, and examples of current resolutions are posted at nafme.org/MIOSM.
On February 24, Rob Lyda, chair of the NAfME Council for General Music, hosted a Twitter chat on “Advocacy and MIOSM,” which can be accessed by following @RobLyda and the hashtags #musedchat, #MusicChangesLives, and #MIOSM on Twitter.
Resources for Teachers from NAfME and MIOSM:
These excerpts were originally published on NAfME's website.
Music In Our Schools Month® and MIOSM® are trademarks of NAfME, and may not be used for fundraising or materials produced for profit.
National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members teaching millions of students nationwide, the organization is the national voice for music education in the United States. Follow NAfME on Twitter (twitter.com/nafme) and on Facebook (facebook.com/nafme). For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at email@example.com or 703-860-4000.