Advocacy – It’s What We Do!!
Advocacy – n. The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.
(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition; Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company)
Music! It’s what we are all about. We must continue to advocate for music throughout our lives. Every one of our citizens, no matter their age, deserves to have their lives enriched by the art of music. It doesn’t matter whether they may be producers or consumers, we all are affected by our exposure to, or lack of, music in our lives.
Most of the music educator’s time is spent directly involved with the teaching of the art. Through that process we instruct, coerce, encourage and advocate for better understanding and performance. During this process all that is good about music becomes clearer in the minds of our students, at least that is one goal.
Having said that, remember that you are the primary authority on music in your classroom, if not the school and perhaps the community. As the authority it is imperative that the information you provide be to the point and supported by as much information as possible.
Outside of the classroom, we must direct our efforts to the people that provide the leadership within the school, the community, and our state. Within the school there must be constant diligence to keep music a part of what every child must have for a well-rounded education. Within the community there must be the development of a positive attitude from community leaders that keep music a vital part of the residents lifestyle. At the State level there is a constant need to provide leadership in keeping the legislature aware of the impact of music and art programs throughout our state.
There are numerous sources for advocacy materials. Use these links to access materials ranging from handouts, to PSAs, to factual knowledge of what music can do for our students:
NAfME has available a wealth of material available at its Advocacy Website: http://advocacy.nafme.org/
Support Music also has material available including a link to grade your school music program: www.supportmusic.com
Music For All has joined forces with Bands of America and Orchestras of America to provide a web site that has an Advocacy tools link under resources: www.bands.org
A Tri-M chapter in your school would provide a wonderful opportunity for your students to become actively involved in the efforts to maintain and build your program. Go to MENC.org and click on the link to Tri-M or use this link:
For your communities, utilize the above sites and add to those the following:
The American Music Conference: www.amc-music.org
Support Music Community Action Kit: www.supportmusic.com/kit
One last website that you must visit:
Music Education Magic (www.musicedmagic.com) will give you an opportunity for some online Professional in-service and an opportunity to explore the Comprehensive Music Project (CMP).