The September 2019 issue of Choral Journal will be available online in just a few weeks. It is a special focus issue from ACDA’s Standing Committee for Advocacy and Collaboration. Our August 2018 issue one year ago featured a column from Lynn Brinckmeyer, committee member, titled “Music Advocacy Challenges and Opportunities.”
Below is an excerpt of the article, and you can read it in its entirety in the August 2018 issue! Go to acda.org/choraljournal and click “Search Archives.” Choose August 2018 from the dropdown menu.
Advocacy is defined as speaking or writing in favor of something, supporting by argument, and recommending publicly. Although music permeates our world and is a consistent part of our every day, there are challenges to the issue of music advocacy in the twenty-fi rst century. A few are listed below:
• Much of the general public perceives music is an unnecessary frill and believes that studying music is not academically challenging for our young people and should be reserved for entertainment.
• Instructional time for music classes has been, and continues to be, reduced across the country.
• Some people believe that we are either born with musical talent or we are not and that it cannot be taught.
• There are administrators who think music classes are fine as long as they happen before or after regularly scheduled classes.
• Laws in some states allow non-certified teachers to teach music.
Music skills are acquired the same way other subjects are learned: students receive and experience sequential layers of information, focused activity, and processing. Students are attracted to math or theatre, economics, engineering, history, etc. Music is no different. Even though certain students are more interested in music than others, all can benefi t from music learning. Music learning includes performing music, thinking about it, speaking about it, creating it, and all of the other activities that engage students in music classes and ensembles across the country.
Teachers universally tend to agree that someone needs to advocate for music. That someone is us. Now is the ideal time for ACDA leaders and members to combine advocacy efforts and collaborate with other music and arts organizations across the country. Working together, with unified goals, is vital for forward progress in order to better understand those individuals who may be opposed to music education and enlighten them about the benefits for our future students and our society.
There are many opportunities to advocate for our art. 1) We can educate decision makers and inform them, with researched-based data, about the benefits of music education for students, school communities, and the communities beyond the school. 2) Since there are already non-certified teachers (or those with alternative certification) teaching music to our students, we can provide materials and resources to assist and guide them. If we do not, their students are the ones who may tolerate marginal teaching.
Our current political climate is becoming influenced more and more by our youth. Because education funding is expensive, some elected leaders focus more on saving money than respecting our youth and requiring certified teachers to be in the classrooms. We may be able to capitalize on this energetic youth movement and encourage congressional leaders to develop future legislation requiring certified educators to teach children and adolescents in all subjects.
Tips for Advocating Music follow in the rest of this article!
Look for it in the August 2018 issue, pages 55-57.