Alfred Music Advocates for Music Education in Washington, D.C.

Mike Lawson • News • June 6, 2019

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During the week of May 20-24, Alfred Music business leaders Ron Manus, chief business development officer, and Jennifer Paisley-Schuch, trade shows and partnerships director, joined more than 100 music industry leaders, notable artists, and arts education activists to advocate for all school-aged children to have access to quality, comprehensive school music education programs.

As part of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Advocacy Fly-In, the delegation met with Members of Congress and other policy stakeholders to reinforce the importance of music as part of a well-rounded education and to urge Congress to fund the Title IV program at its authorized level of $1.65 billion in fiscal year 2020 to ensure that the goals of the Every Student Succeeds Act are realized for every child.

Manus said, “This year we could really see the momentum building in our efforts to get the Every Student Succeeds Act fully funded! It was great showing up in Congressional offices and being greeted with, ‘My favorite meeting of the year’ by our friends in Congress. Music is so important for our schools, it unites the school and brings everyone together in a profound way, after all how can you have a High School Football game without a marching band?! We are fighting to ensure that every child who has the desire to learn and participate has access to a quality music education.”

Paisley-Schuch added, “It is such a privilege to participate in the fly-in and fight to ensure that every child has access to a well-rounded education that includes music. Music is important to the growth and development of our youth and I want every child to have the same access and opportunities in music that I was fortunate to have growing up. It is extremely encouraging to hear several of the Congressional offices that we visited agree and offer their support to fully fund the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

The Advocacy week began on Monday, May 20 with a Day of Service at Charles Hart Middle School in Congress Heights. Nearly 60 NAMM Members provided one-on-one instruction on drums, guitars, and ukuleles to students as well as needed maintenance and repair to the school’s musical instruments. In the evening, the delegation delved into the opportunities to advance music education at a special panel session featuring arts leaders, school administrators, and the Save The Music Foundation.

On Tuesday, Manus and Paisley-Schuch prepared for their efforts on Capitol Hill by participating in advocacy training, during which the group was apprised of current issues facing public school music programs and briefed on the Every Student Succeeds Act and the current political climate from a variety of policy and arts leaders.

That evening, Manus and Paisley-Schuch and the group joined The NAMM Foundation in honoring Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Committee on Education and Labor, with the SupportMusic Champion Award. The award was presented by former Secretary of Education Richard Riley and NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond to the Chairman, in recognition of the Chairman’s unwavering commitment to music and the arts and for his role as one of the primary authors and champion of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Upon presentation of the award, the Chairman shared, “I want to thank the National Association of Music Merchants for promoting music and arts education in public schools. We know that access to music and art programs can be a powerful tool for improving student engagement, attendance, and outcomes. We must continue the important work of ensuring that all students have access to high-quality arts and music programs that enrich their development and lead to better educational outcomes.”

On Wednesday, Manus met with Cong. Tony Cárdenas, Cong. Scott Peters, Cong. Duncan Hunter and legislative staff for Cong. Ted Lieu, Cong. Maxine Waters, Cong. Adam Schiff, and Cong. Katie Hill. Paisley-Schuch met with Cong. Kathleen Rice, Cong. Max Rose, and legislative staff for Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Cong. Jerrold Nadler, Cong. John Katko, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office., and other elected officials to advocate for school-level music programs across the nation and to discuss the multitude of benefits music education espouses such as increased brain function, focus, and language development.

Later Wednesday evening, the delegation, music and arts stakeholders, and others gathered to celebrate former NY Yankee World Series Champion, NAMM Foundation Board Member, music education champion, and accomplished musician Bernie Williams.

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