The NAMM Foundation Honors Senator Lamar Alexander with the SupportMusic Champion Award

Mike Lawson • News • May 27, 2016

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Richard Wilson Riley and NAMM President Joe Lamond presents the SupportMusic Champion Award to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TENN) during a reception at Nelson Mullins on May 23, 2016 in Washington DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NAMM)The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) honored Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) with the organization’s SupportMusic Champion Award.

The award was given in recognition of the Senator’s long history in music education advocacy and comes on the heels of the historic passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bill introduced by Senator Alexander and signed into law by President Obama in 2015. The passage of ESSA is the first federal law to provide a framework for access to music and arts education for every student.

“One doesn’t have to be a classically trained pianist like the Senator to know that music education is good for all children, although it sure helps. Senator Lamar Alexander has provided invaluable vision and leadership with his work on the passage of the Every Child Succeeds Act and for that we honor him with our SupportMusic Award,” shared Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “Due to his efforts, millions of American kids in the future have that same opportunity that he had growing up; a complete education, one that includes music and the arts.”

“I am grateful for the award, but really I should be honoring NAMM for its persistent support of music education. The new education law recognizes that music is part of well-rounded education and gives states the flexibility to use federal dollars to support music education,” stated Senator Alexander. “An unintended consequence of earlier federal laws that stressed the importance of math, English and science was to suggest that music and the arts were unimportant. By explicitly recognizing the importance of music and by delegating to states the authority to make decisions, the new law is already encouraging a renewed interest in helping children learn self-discipline, teamwork, and an appreciation of the arts that comes with music education.”

The SupportMusic award was presented at a reception held in concert with NAMM’s annual advocacy fly-in in support of music education. The advocacy group includes professional musicians, representatives from the Country Music Association (CMA), VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and over 80 leaders in musical instrument and products industry. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to education and access to music and arts programs for all students, particularly those in low-income school districts. Past recipients include Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Tom Harkin, Congressman John Lewis, Randall Reid-Smith, the Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and former New York Yankee and music education champion, Bernie Williams. The SupportMusic Coalition is presented by The NAMM Foundation, which counts over 40,000 members from the music education sector.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was the latest reiteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – or No Child Left Behind – and the first federal education law to provide a framework to increase access to music and arts education for every student. Specifically, the law provides that music and arts education be included as part of a well-rounded education, an unprecedented step and shift in

federal education policy. States and school districts will now have increased access to funds and resources to develop, strengthen and maintain music education in public schools.

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