Alfred Music recently got back from an AMAZING week in Washington, D.C. for the 2017 NAMM Music Education Advocacy Fly-In, promoting the importance of music education to Congress!
The week kicked into gear with a day of service working with students and music educators at Jefferson Middle School Academy, providing three hours of music education instruction on drum, ukulele, and guitar for the middle school students. NAMM delegates also provided maintenance and repair to many of the school’s existing instruments. This was followed by a full day of advocacy training and education sessions at the Newseum in preparation for our meetings on Capitol Hill, during which we were apprised of current issues facing public school music programs and briefed on the current political climate from a variety of policy and arts leaders.
Then on Wednesday, over 100 NAMM Members and Staff held close to 200 meetings with Members of Congress representing 35 states. In one of the most timely Fly-Ins to date—coming the day after the President released his budget recommendation that allocated no money for music education—we were able to remind Congress (Senate and the House) that music is important as part of a well-rounded education, why this matters, and why it is crucial that they keep their promise of fully funding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was passed by overwhelming bipartisan support in December 2015.
We have participated in the NAMM Fly-In for the past several years, and while every year is inspiring and filled with purpose, this year felt different. It felt more impactful. Our being there with a clear message, backed up with facts and research, made a big impact. We left every meeting with a sense of encouragement that our congressional leaders, on both sides of the aisle, understand the significance and importance of music education and are committed to supporting these programs in the 2018 fiscal budget. We are extremely optimistic that they will follow through on the promises that they made when this law was passed.
We are so honored and humbled to represent Alfred Music and all our staff and authors as we fight for the rights of future music makers at this annual event. Music education is essential to a well rounded education and we believe every child should have the opportunity to experience the joy of making music.
—Ron Manus & Jennifer Paisley-Schuch