Booster clubs and band parents, rejoice! Two new online resources for the adults of the music education world have emerged: BandBoostersOnline.com and the National Association of Music Parents (AMP). Both organizations are founded by people with years of experience in music education and focus on connecting boosters through discussion and shared advice.
AMP hopes to educate parents about the benefits their children will receive from music education and mobilize that force to influence legislators. “The site serves as a portal for parents to connect,” says founder L. Scott McCormick, former president and CEO of Music for All and Bands of America. “We want to bring together parents, teachers and the music industry to keep music and arts in our school system.”
AMParents.org includes the latest information on advocacy, the benefits of music, education reform, fundraising and technology. McCormick along with other industry experts write for the site’s blog. “Even well-established programs wanted to know about websites, fundraisers, bylaws,” McCormick says.
Registered fans can view site content, but members pay a $12 per year fee to engage in discussions and have access to downloads and monthly webinars. Booster groups can sign up together for a large discount, and AMP has partnered with several retailers to distribute free memberships to new music parents as they rent their children’s instruments.
BandBoostersOnline.com is a website, blog and discussion board founded by Chris Neal, director of bands at Washington State University, inspired by his years of interacting with parents at the high school and college band levels.
“The frustrations and concerns I heard were pretty consistent,” Neal says. “I thought it would be a great way to reach out to those programs and give them a way to reach out to each other and help them problem-solve through blogging and board discussions.”
All content is free and publicly visible although signing in is required in order to post and participate in discussions. According to Neal, this project is very much a work in progress, and he hopes to add more guest bloggers, video seminars and articles featuring outstanding booster clubs. “This isn’t a money maker; it’s something that I do just to help,” he says.
Join the discussion at BandBoostersOnline.com and AMParents.org.