February 06, 2012
/ by Kristina Elliott
What: Music has long been a part of education. It teaches children to focus and concentrate, allows them to learn from their mistakes, and facilitates group learning and experiences. An education in music has also been shown to give students numerous advantages in academics, with benefits that stretch beyond graduation. As many schools continue to face cuts in their music budgets, help keep the music playing by supporting Music in Our Schools Month, celebrated throughout March.
Background: Started by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Music in Our Schools Month began as a daylong celebration in 1973. First held in New York, the event expanded nationally and by 1985, it was a monthlong event. The month recognizes the importance of music education for children, while also raising awareness of the limited access many students have to music programs. This month’s theme is “Music Lasts a Lifetime,” emphasizing how early music education improves children’s futures.
Story Pitch: Many businesses and companies have a good opportunity this month to promote their products. Manufacturers of musical instruments have a chance to support the month by highlighting good products for children, such as instruments that are easier for small fingers or simple to keep tuned and working. Instrument rental is a popular route for student musicians, and rental shops can promote their rental plans and services, including music lessons, during the month. Many music venues feature student concerts, and are able to share the ways they support the school music cause with the public. Retailers of CDs and other music-related products may also participate by campaigning around this event.
Story Hook: Music education teaches children to keep time, count beats and learn rhythm, so it’s not surprising that these cognitive skills translate into fields like math. Numerous studies have found a positive link between music education and higher scores in reading and math tests, and music students are statistically high-achievers. Many school budgets are tightly squeezed, and programs in the arts, including music, are often the first to be cut or reduced. How are schools finding ways to save their music programs? Can a music program run successfully on a small budget? Keep the following in mind as you make your pitch:
Tips: A music educator is a great contact who can talk about what’s required for a good music program. Additionally, a well-known musician can talk about how an early music education laid the groundwork for later success.
International Society for Music Education isme(at)isme.org www.isme.org
The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (818) 762-4328 www.mhopus.org
National Association for Music Education (703) 860-4000 www.menc.org
VH1 Save The Music (212) 846-7600 www.vh2savethemusic.com
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott Event Dates from CHASE’S Calendar of Events
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