September 19, 2022 I Event

NAMM Holds Hill Day to Advocate for Music Education

Participants of the NAMM Hill Day event.

On September 14, a delegation of NAMM members, music and arts advocates, music industry leaders, teachers, business leaders, parents, and community supporters met with members of Congress to encourage support for quality, comprehensive school music education programs for all children. The NAMM Music Education Advocacy Hill Day welcomed 60 advocates in support of music education policy and equitable access for all students to music education in the classroom.

“From the halls of Congress to virtual meetings and those at the district level, NAMM member delegates engaged with our nation’s policymakers in meaningful dialogue about safeguarding the future of music education for children,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM’s director of public affairs and government relations. “We applaud our members and partners for giving so generously of their time and for their efforts in creating a more equitable future for all children to have access to music education.”

The advocates called on members of Congress in Washington, D.C., in-district and through virtual meetings, to continue to advocate for the nation’s children by demonstrating strong support for the intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) to state and local school districts to expand access to well-rounded subjects, specifically including music and the arts.

“As a lifelong musician and educator, I [had to] meet with my elected representatives. Specifically, [I wanted to] share my passion for and concerns about the well-being of our nation’s children — especially as their education has been so disrupted during the pandemic — particularly in collaborative subjects such as music and arts,” said Donny Gruendler, vice president of education for Guitar Center. “As we know, music contributes to the academic, social and emotional well-being of all children, and I believe that every child must have access to a well-rounded education — one that includes music. As a former student who stayed in school due to state music programs, I continually speak with members of Congress in hopes they may provide strong support for the intent of ESSA and its Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants.”

Lindsay Love, community and artist relations manager at Taylor Guitars, echoed the same sentiment.

“If we want music education programs to expand and if we want to reduce the equality gap in music education, we must be present and consistent in our advocacy, especially as leaders in the music products industry,” she said. “Meeting with members of Congress allows us to share the direct impact music education, specifically offered during the school day, has had on our and others’ lives. We can share data and results from different studies, but when we tell personal stories that back up that data, it humanizes the issue.”

Prior to the day, NAMM provided a series of briefings from national arts leaders, actionable tools and peer-to-peer lessons to serve as champions for music education. The advocacy training included self-paced virtual presentations from music education leaders, including composer and conductor Eric Whitacre who presented the opening keynote, “Why We Advocate for Music Education,” a welcome introduction from NAMM CEO Joe Lamond and NAMM chair Joel Menchey, and the latest in music education policy and advocacy from Luehrsen along with Chris Cushing and Connie Meyers of Nelson Mullins.

For full, in-depth coverage of NAMM’s Hill Day, check out Music Inc.’s forthcoming November issue, out October 25.

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