March marks the return of Music In Our Schools Month, an annual period of advocacy for music education led by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) since 1973.  The month includes a nationwide contest ("The Concert for Music In Our Schools Month") that features school groups performing a set of repertoire (provided by publisher Hal Leonard) entered by video online.  The group that receives the most views by March 31 is awarded a prize determined by NAfME and a sponsor.  The 2014 repertoire for the concert includes , pieces like America, Of Thee I Sing, Explore, Dream, Discover, Shake Them ‘Simmons Down, and more.

The celebration continues to grow each year, reaching more and more students, teachers, musicians, and music supporters. Schools and communities throughout the country and overseas celebrate MIOSM with concerts and other activities based on the year’s theme. Classrooms, concert halls, civic buildings, clubs, parks, libraries, and shopping malls are just some of the arenas in which the public can observe the processes and results of music education.


Recently, the National Association for Musice Education (NAfME) joined 26 other organizations in supporting a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging an increase in funding for IDEA, with an eye toward fully funding IDEA within the next ten years.

As noted in a letter to U.S. House members,

“Currently, there are over 6.5 million children eligible for special education services under the disability categories of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The comprehensive assessment and support services authorized by IDEA help to close the academic achievement gap and ensure a meaningful education for every student. We owe it to all students to provide a quality education that will help them graduate and enter successful careers.

Read more: NAfME Joins in Open Letter to Congress in Support of Special Ed Students

The United States isn't the only nation in the midst of wide-ranging overhauls to education standards. According to the Music Education UK blog, the first batch of the the United Kingdom Department for Education's support materials for England's new National Curriculum for Music (which goes into effect this September) has been released. On behalf of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Music Education Consultant and Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, Alison Daubney, has produced a number of documents to support teachers to develop their music curriculum in line with the requirements of the new National Curriculum.

Read more: New UK National Curriculum Materials Announced

The Ultimate Winter Orchestra

While much of the U.S. slogs through a cold, snowy winter, a group of artistic-minded people from an area where harsh winter weather is the norm have adapted some unique creative outlets. In what might be the most extreme ensemble of its kind, a Scandinavian group has created an entire orchestra out of ice. Ice Music, based in Swedish Lapland, some of the northernmost inhabited territory on the planet, is a performing group that plays in a giant igloo on instruments built out of blocks of ice.

Read more: Ice Music

Coalition for Music Education Advocacy Continues to Grow

Music for All is continuing its efforts to expand the role of music and the arts in education by joining the Music Education Policy Roundtable (MEPR). MEPR works to ensure the presence and perseverance of school music programs, by advocating for Music Education policy among political and governmental agencies.

“Encouraging strong policymaking and public commitment to music and arts education are fundamental strategies of Music for All,” said Eric L. Martin, President and CEO. “Joining and being active in the Music Education Policy Roundtable is a logical way for us to advance our vision to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in his or her scholastic environment.”

Read more: Music for All Joins The Music Education Policy Roundtable

SBO is proud to present the winners of the 2014 SBO Essay Scholarship Contest

Two students each from Illinois and Virginia were among the 10 scholarship winners of this year’s SBO essay contest, with the other six from Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Wisconsin. Five winners from grades 4 to 8 and five students from grades 9 to 12 each received music scholarships of $1,000, with their respective school music programs awarded a matching prize of musical products from cosponsors NAMM, Alfred Music Publishing, the Woodwind & Brasswind, and Yamaha Corporation of America.

Read more: The 2014 Essay Contest Winners

The Country Music Association's Keep the Music Playing Campaign Funds Public School Music

The Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation has donated $1 million toward music education programs for Nashville public school students, part of CMA’s Keep the Music Playing campaign.

The donation stems from CMA’s 2013 Country Music Festival and raises the organization’s support of metro schools in Nashville to more than $7.5 million. The funds have been used for the purchase of musical instruments and supplies through a partnership with the Nashville Public Education Foundation.

Read more: CMA Donates $1m toward Music Ed in Nashville

The Board of Directors of the Joseph and Vera Zilber Family Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to the music program at Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Ronald Regan International Baccalaureate (IB) High School to continue helping students perform, compose and study music.

The grant will be distributed to the school’s Vera J. Zilber Music Department over the course of five years and will support its college-level curriculum as well as extracurricular activities, such as drum line, DJ club, solo and ensemble clubs, piano club, pit orchestra club, jazz band, and musical theater.

Read more: Foundation Provides $25K Grant for Music Ed

Music for All announces three industry leaders to be inducted to the 2014 Bands of America Hall of Fame

Music for All has announced the industry leaders who will be inducted into the 2014 Bands of America Hall of Fame: Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Fred and Marlene Miller and Camilla M. Stasa.

The Bands of America Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have had a positively life-changing impact on Music for All’s Bands of America programs and music education.  2014 inductees were announced in the evening of Saturday, November 16th, during the opening ceremonies of the Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Read more: Bands of America's 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

Nicholas McCarthy is a professional pianist who graduated from the Royal College of Music in London in 2012. That might not be so remarkable, until you take into account that he was born with only one hand. He is the first one-handed pianist to graduate from the esteemed music school, and one of very few one-handed professional pianists in the world. Enjoy this beautiful rendition of Prelude and Nocturne OP9 by Alexander Scriabin.

Directors who make a Difference

For over 20 years, School Band & Orchestra Magazine has been honoring amazing music educators from all 50 states. That's more than 1000 educators recognized for their outstanding contributions to music education programs!

Do you know a fantastic K-12 instrumental music educator who is deserving of recognition in SBO? Tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

Click here to nominate a director 

On the Road

Do you have a story to tell about taking your school music groups on the road? SBO wants to hear about it!

Click Here to Submit Your Story

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