Honor Band & Orchestra Concert Reflections Part II: Music Advocacy

Last night was my district’s Honor Band and Orchestra concert. In other posts, I have written about the audition process, celebrating excellence, and having my newest composition premiered.

Virtually every person who took the microphone at last night’s concert spoke of music advocacy. California is facing a huge budget crisis, which inevitably puts music and arts programs at risk. They spoke of how even in the midst of a dire financial crisis we can’t afford to eliminate the arts from our schools. As each person spoke, you could feel the audience’s energy rise, resolving not to allow music to be cut.

Fortunately, my district has historically taken a great deal of the pride in its music program, so we were able to celebrate some victories in the midst of budget challenges. I am concerned, however, that this may not be the case for many districts across the state.

California’s situation is another reminder that all music teachers must also become advocacy experts.

Music advocacy is a subject worthy of volumes of writing, so I won’t attempt to tackle the subject here. Let me just note that for the past several years, advocates have used the high test scores of music students as one of their strongest points. If the educational pendulum eventually swings away from emphasis on test scores and NCLB, music advocates will need to shift our attention to other points. Character traits such as self-discipline and critical thinking skills may become the focus in the future.

Here are just a few of many resources related to music advocacy:
http://www.menc.org/information/advocacy/main.html
http://www.kmea.org/advocacy/
http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/index.html

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