FOR TENNESSEE MUSIC EDUCATORS
The materials below are provided to support Tennessee music educators in their on-going efforts to advocate for music programs in the schools. Any of this material may be copied or used in any way that would be helpful.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated individuals can change the world. Indeed; it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
"More important than a work of art itself is what it will sow. Art can die, a painting can disappear. What counts is the seed." - Joan Miro
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION FOR ADVOCATING FOR YOUR MUSIC PROGRAM
Provided by Ron Rogers, TMEA Past-President
WHY DO TENNESSEE MUSIC EDUCATORS NEED TO ADVOCATE FOR THEIR MUSIC PROGRAM?
Advocacy, which is defined as the act of speaking or writing in support of something or someone, is necessary to every music educator's career and to the profession as a whole.
Every music educator needs to be a strong advocate for viable, sequential, and lasting music programs for all students.
Advocacy can take many forms and is not limited to formal presentations to decision makers such as boards of education or legislators. One of the best forms of preventative advocacy is a
strong, vital, and quality music education program. Music educators become advocates for their programs at concerts and public performances by relating to the audience the musical content of the music being performed and the musical challenges students have met and mastered. This informal form of advocacy can yield significant benefits by building support for the program and demonstrating in a very real way the unique educational value of a music education to students. Inviting an administrator into the music classroom or rehearsal to see students engaged in active learning is another of many informal forms of advocacy that can build beneficial and even essential support when a crisis situation arises.
Although it may not be part of the "job description," many music educators actively engage themselves and others as advocates for music education on behalf of their students, schools, and communities. Some music educators may feel they are in an awkward position when it comes to directly "lobbying" decision makers within their school district. Others are passive or even inactive because they do not recognize the importance of advocacy or the necessity of taking a personal, active role in it. Music educators who do not feel their program is in immediate jeopardy may not be motivated to become advocates. Even if music educators value advocacy, their efforts may be less effective than they could be because they are unaware of advocacy tools readily available to them. They may not understand how to conduct advocacy activities efficiently and effectively. Finally, they may believe that they alone must initiate and be responsible for advocacy efforts.
TMEA’S OVERALL VIEW OF ADVOCATING FOR MUSIC PROGRAMS –
A POSITION STATEMENT
Our future strength and security depends on our ability to combine our best words about music education with our best actions aimed at wider and more varied approaches to extending music instruction inside and outside schools. We must engage more and more people of all ages, in all walks of life, in the joys of musical participation. Music education is a unique and major source of many fundamental life goals. By actively supporting the aims of music education, school systems increase the likelihood that students will learn to make a life as well as a living both inside and outside school.
This position statement is intended to substantiate the importance of advocating on behalf of music education for all students. It delineates actions that music educators and music education supporters can and indeed must take in situations where a music program is threatened with reduction or elimination. Students in our schools are depending on us. We must not; we cannot, let them down.
Please share any information you might have that would help support advocacy efforts for music in Tennessee. Text, articles, links, references, or other publications can be send to
firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration on this webpage.