March is Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM). MENC: The National Association for Music Education has sponsored this month-long campaign, originally a one-day celebration held in New York in 1973, to raise awareness about the importance of music education for all children.
Schools as well as community organizations across the country are participating through concerts, craft projects and other educational curricula.
And MENC has created two new contests for 2009: the “I Imagine” Essay Contest for grades K-6 and a Song Writing Contest for grades 7-12.
In addition, MENC continues to organize the World’s Largest Concert, which was held on March 12, 2009, at 1 p.m. Eastern time as a sing-along airing on public access television and reaching an estimated 6 million people.
Major corporations have also taken time to acknowledge music education. Fender Musical Instruments Corp. donated 262 drum sets to the not-for-profit Little Kids Rock.
And Crayola.com has posted music related coloring pages, craft ideas, e-cards and lesson plans, including making your own tambourine or musical mobile. Just click on “Music in Our Schools Month” at www.crayola.com/calendar.
Although the month is half over, it’s not too late to celebrate music in our schools. Here are our ideas for some easy, no-cost ways to make an impact:
• Hug your music teachers. Better yet, have the school honor them in public announcements.
• Write to your local government representative about the importance of music in your life and urge them to continue to fund arts education. For even greater value, organize a letter-writing campaign in your school or community.
• Read about the life of a composer. Then, learn his or her compositions. This will give you even more appreciation for the music.
For many of us, the value of music education stretches beyond the years we spend in marching band, drum corps or color guard. Making music is an outcome but not the only benefi t; we’ve learned teamwork and persistence as well as found an outlet for self expression.
Especially through diffi cult financial times, it’s even more important to recognize all of the contributions that music has made in our lives. So use the opportunity this March to celebrate music education and give back to the activities that have given us so much.
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief