NFHS and NAMM Unite Education Organizations, Creative Industry Through Collaboration of Music Leaders

SBO Staff • News • February 6, 2023

SBO+ recently attend an historic first meeting hosted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) took place last week in Indianapolis. More than 50 leaders from 21 states and a combined 40 state and national organizations convened January 25-26 at the Conrad Hotel during the Performing Arts Education and Creative Industry Meeting.

This first annual meeting was designed for the educational and creative industry sides of music to work together on issues, raise awareness, dive into data, and learn about trends.

“It is an honor to collaborate with national organizations, state associations and companies from across the country and at all levels of music to work together,” said Dr. James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports. “We brought prominent names from music education and the creative industry to this meeting to help us design the first step of many to create long-lasting solutions for lifetime access of music-making.”

Leaders attending the Performing Arts Education and Creative Industry Meeting – who came from all levels of music – discussed how the education and industry sides are stronger when they are working together. Data was presented from various studies and connection was fostered that will plant the seeds of collaboration.

Weaver, along with Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, served as the keynote presenters. Luehrsen has led NAMM’s public policy and advocacy efforts for two decades and guided the development of efforts such as this meeting to expand music learning opportunities. Weaver and Luehrsen helped to facilitate a collaborative style environment where feedback, questions and open discussion were welcomed.

“This inaugural convening is another step in connecting the dots with influencers and stakeholders who hold the keys to expanding opportunities for more people to engage in music,” said Luehrsen. “The content and conversations shared during the meeting are game-changers for both music and arts education and businesses in the creative sector.”

Other speakers at the Education and Creative Industry Meeting included representatives from Quadrant Research, Music Trades, APA Consulting, Orange County Public Schools, and the San Diego Unified School District. Other various national music associations, state associations, music industry and music retail companies – all of which expressed an interest in coming together by attending the meeting – came away with a deeper understanding of needs and important conversations within K-12 music.

As a follow-up to the Performing Arts Education and Creative Industry Meeting, the NFHS is planning to communicate big picture ideas and approaches across state associations and other national performing arts organizations that were shared during this gathering.

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