Spotlighting our national thought partners at The NAMM Foundation, GRAMMY™ Music Ed Coalition, and NAfME
As part of our ongoing Resilience Through the Arts series, we are pleased to spotlight the efforts of these peers and partners in the field to uplift and sustain student learning in and through the arts amid challenging times.
National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) / The NAMM Foundation
With approximately 10,300 member companies in the music creative sector, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has a 120-year history as a civic organization championing the fundamental importance of music education. As the philanthropic arm of NAMM, The NAMM Foundation wholly supports programs and activities that encourage music-making across the lifespan. Among its many integral purposes serving in the interest of advancing quality and accessible music education, the Foundation promotes credible and oft-cited research around the enormous benefits of music training and literacy on the physical, social, and mental well-being of youngsters.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, NAMM has stepped up its time-honed advocacy efforts to support those affected by the current global health crisis. For example, a recent information-heavy webinar, entitled Keeping Music Education Strong, covered urgent and timely topics including projected timelines and protocols for school reopening, education funding and potential impact on curriculum offerings, and the mobilization of advocacy messages to ensure that music education continues to be a vital learning opportunity for all children. Along with over 50 other national arts organizations, The NAMM Foundation lent its well-revered voice to the unified “Arts Education Is Essential” statement. NAMM’s upcoming 2020 online Advocacy Summit, taking place June 16, will prepare participants to contact Members of Congress and other elected officials about the essential role music learning plays in every child’s education.
As demonstrated by its Making Music Online series of webinars, The NAMM Foundation believes that teaching and learning music can continue and even thrive through the remarkable tools, resources, and people that are engaging in music online. Furthermore, the Foundation serves as the official U.S. presenter of Make Music Day, a global summer event celebrating the natural musician in all of us. This year, as Make Music Day goes virtual, NAMM invites and encourages everyone to partake in the online festivities and celebrate music-making in new fun and engaging ways.
“The remarkable music-making connections that are happening online – world over – remind us again of the power of music,” wrote NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen. “Thank you for the services and outreach that you continue to provide to support people everywhere; music surely connects us in unique ways during this time.” Now more than ever, music and arts education are vital for children’s social and emotional well-being, growth, and development.
GRAMMY™ Music Education Coalition (GMEC)
The GRAMMY™ Music Education Coalition (GMEC) is a nonprofit collective dedicated to building universal music education participation in elementary and secondary schools nationwide. With the nation staying, learning, and teaching at home, GMEC believes that there has never been a better, or more important, time to make music. The Coalition is working to help music educators and students everywhere continue to benefit from music’s capacity to keep us focused, centered, creative, and joyful.
To support teachers and learners through the transition to online music education, GMEC launched its Music Coalition Hub, which features free or reduced-cost music education resources being offered through its affiliates. The page is updated frequently with new content. GMEC also hosts a series of virtual town hall sessions, The Music Education Hub – LIVE, which connect the music education community and feature voices from throughout the field.
Meanwhile, GMEC has been working in close collaboration with Coalition affiliate the David Ellefson Youth Music Foundation (DEYMF). On May 30, GMEC and DEYMF will co-present The Decade that Rocked, an homage to all things metal and hard rock, and the third installment in a new livestream series. Recently, GMEC helped DEYMF in raising thousands of dollars for its SCHOOL’S OUT initiative, in support of online lessons, instruments, and gear for students and aspiring musicians during quarantine. The initiative, launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis, partners legendary rock musicians with displaced students for one-on-one mentoring and instruction, giving both artists and students a much needed sense of purpose and normalcy in this confusing and uncertain time. The virtual fundraiser attracted a combined 500,000 viewers from all over the world.
Renowned musicians and artists all around are finding fantastic ways to express themselves and keep audiences engaged during the current lockdown period – and GMEC is ensuring that those at home remain connected to dynamic learning experiences through the arts. Harnessing the power of music and creative collaboration, GMEC is helping its communities perceive and realize the life-changing benefits of music education.
National Association for Music Education (NAfME)
National Association for Music Education (NAfME), among the world’s largest arts education organizations, works to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction. While education professionals in all subject areas face new challenges and hurdles in providing continued education to their students, NAfME recognizes that for music educators, the transition to distance teaching means adjusting lessons that thrive inherently on in-person instruction and in ensemble settings. Despite trenchant challenges and uncertainties on the horizon, NAfME's commitment to supporting rich and varied music education remains unwavering.
The organization has taken numerous actions to assert this commitment while advocating for equitable access to instruction. NAfME continues to curate its Virtual Learning Resources for Music Educators, an outstanding repository of online instructional materials that support educators in providing quality music education to students. Its upcoming advocacy webinars will feature various music education voices across the country. Additionally, NAfME’s archived webinars – including the most recent on Music Education Policy during a Global Pandemic – help listeners gain a deeper understanding of the education public policy landscape. Webinars are free and open to all. NAfME has been strong-willed in voicing its support of music students and educators, while reminding policymakers on why music and the arts are now more important than ever. As states brace for economic downtowns, NAfME’s Grassroots Advocacy Center offers tips and guidance around how to engage with the legislative process and advocate for music in federal education policy. Any and all arts and music education advocates are encouraged to share their voices and stories. So far, more than 11,000 messages have been sent to Congress through NAfME’s grassroots platform.
Additionally, NAfME helped lead the way in formulating, framing, and creating a unified statement advocating for arts education and its importance during the pandemic, as well as building the subsequent outreach campaign. The resulting statement, “Arts Education Is Essential,” was published to NAfME’s website on May 27, with a growing list of over 50 signatories including Young Audiences Arts for Learning, The NAMM Foundation, and SEADAE. “It is vitally important to advocate for music and arts education now, as school districts and states begin to undertake the challenging task of planning the 2020–2021 school year,” said NAfME President Kathleen D. Sanz. "Maintaining the arts in the schools is critical to continue to help our students with their educational and social and emotional learning, especially for those students in need of support in these difficult times.”
It is NAfME’s heartfelt belief that education programs support students by not only providing creative opportunities and outlets, but also creating healthy social and emotional learning environments. As the organization prepares for the fall, when it hopes to see students back in class, it feels strongly that music educators must be prepared to not only teach, but to advocate for the power of their programs as well.